I’ve always heard a lot about Sleater-Kinney. From everything I had read about them, I expected to hear an ass-ripping record from an apparently very successful overseas concert that would make me a lifelong fan after years of hype, similarly to what I experienced with The Ramones and their Live Musikladen record that came out a coupe of years ago. To be fair, I do feel like I was ripped a new asshole. But unlike with The Ramones, I’m not about to become a lifelong fan.
While The Ramones were Punks to the core, they also retained a significant aura of Pop sensibility. Everybody instantly remembers “Blitzkrieg Bop;” its hook-heavy Pop-punk package is perfect for crossover appeal. While Live From Paris was probably awesome for longtime Sleater-Kinney fans, it’s not the type of record that’s going to convert the uninitiated. Singer-guitarist Corin Tucker is far from the most accessible singer in the best of times, and this raw live performance didn’t do her any favors. But what’s even more damning is the lack of variety and memorability of the songs contained within. As an outside listener, it’s impossible for me to tell whether tracks like “Surface Envy” or “Dig Me Out” are longtime staples or relatively new additions to the setlist, but throughout the 13-song set (which apparently contained multiple encores, Sleater-Kinney are no Prince or Springsteen) nothing stands out or grips the listener for even a moment before the next mind-numbing riff and paint-peeling wail. That may be exciting for Sleater-Kinney fans. But I prefer a bit more lasting substance.