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Live Review: The Breeders, Screamfeeder

5 November 2013 | 4:39 pm | Josh Bruce

When they take a final bow and flash those smiles one last time there’s a lot of love in the room, both on stage and reciprocated in the sweaty mass before it.

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It's a trip back in time tonight on all fronts, with the rocking four-piece version of local indie stalwarts Screamfeeder being given the task of warming up the growing crowd who are here for a dose of nostalgia. As they punch out tracks like Static and Ice Patrol, the 'Feeder seem as solid as ever despite only sporadic gigging in recent times – they still have that charming, natural rapport – and songs like Hi Cs and Dart have stood the test of time remarkably well. They finish with a beautifully cruisy version of Stopless and the ever-playful Bunny, the perfect warm-up for tonight's proceedings.

Soon enough the 'classic line-up' of '90s icons The Breeders shuffles onto stage to a raucous reception, kicking things off with the slow build of Guided by Voices' Shocker In Gloomtown – the two bands are drinking buddies in their native Dayton, Ohio – and then get onto the business of why we're here tonight, celebrating their 1993 album, Last Splash for its twentieth anniversary. Right from the outset it's a slightly sloppy runthrough – intros are missed, there's a lot of laughing and some minor displays of contrition – but that's all part of this band's charm, especially the mischievous Deal sisters, whose smiles alone could assuage even the most cynical of doubters. When the weird intro to the evergreen Cannonball is replicated perfectly the place goes ballistic, with the floor jumping in unison, followed by the meandering and stoic Invisible Man and the stripped-back and haunting No Aloha. All five members are clad entirely in black but the mood is far from sombre – more celebratory than funereal, as you'd expect – and tracks like Roi and Do You Love Me Now? still sound alive and vibrant all these years later. Kelley lends her awesome, breathy voice to Flipside and it complement's her sister wonderfully – it's even better when they harmonise – and the vaguely disturbing Mad Lucas segues into the preppy snapshot of early-'90s bravura, Divine Hammer, like no time has passed at all. Jim McPherson's pummelling drums dominate S.O.S. and Kim unleashes that voice during the shuffling Hag before they finish with the sultry Saints, the mellow country lament Drivin' On 9 and the strange instrumental coda that is Roi (Reprise).

An encore is a given but they eventually return numerous times – they could have played the phone book and people would have been happy – but they instead indulge us with a walk through some of their early material such as Glorious, Doe, Hellbound, When I Was A Painter and Iris – plus that weird version of The Beatles' Happiness Is A Warm Gun – and then it's done. When they take a final bow and flash those smiles one last time there's a lot of love in the room, both on stage and reciprocated in the sweaty mass before it.