"Hello," Kim Deal said from the Trocadero's stage on Sunday night. "We're the Breeders and we're going to play
from the beginning."
Wait, what year is it?
As a matter of fact, 2013 marks 20 years since the release of the Breeders' album Last Splash. In commemoration, the band is releasing it as a three-disc CD set this month (with a seven-disc vinyl set to follow), and reuniting for a tour, playing it in its entirety.
It was summer 1993 when Last Splash came out. With its combination of snotty pop-punk, thrashing guitars, and tender alt-rock love ballads, the album defined the teenage years for many of Generation X's younger members.
The Last Splash lineup broke up in September 1994, and this tour is the first time twin sisters Kim and Kelley Deal, Jim Macpherson, and Josephine Wiggs have played together since (along with album and touring violinist Carrie Bradley).
The vibe at the Troc was one of giddy anticipation, the sold-out crowd equally mixed between those who grew up with the album and those discovering it for the first time. The Breeders took the stage to screams of "I love you, Kim!" and "I love you, Kelley!" and launched into Last Splash's lead track, "New Year," followed by the crowd-pleasing "Cannonball."
As the band worked its way through the album, front woman Kim narrated the album's creation. She explained that bassist Wiggs would play drums on "Roi," just as on the recording, and that the surf-rock instrumental "Flipside" was so named because it was the last track on the album's first side - helpful context in an era dominated by MP3s and Spotify.
Last Splash is not a long album, and 45 minutes after the Breeders took the stage, they began to wind down, first with the quiet country twang of "Drivin' on 9" and then a minute-long burst of grunge in the album's final track, a reprised "Roi." But not three minutes after the band exited the stage, they returned for a 30-minute encore, playing Beatles and Guided by Voices covers alongside tracks from their own earlier EPs and '90 debut album, Pod.
Yet, for the night's singularity and the crowd's obvious appreciation for the band and its songs, the atmosphere was subdued. There was plentiful applause and vigorous head-bopping, but perhaps in keeping with the band's cool and low-key attitude, the evening remained grown-up and in check.
While 20 years may mean the band opted for water over alcohol as their onstage beverage, and the audience was happy for the chance to be home before 11 p.m., the decades have done nothing to diminish the band's charm and sincerity - nor, apparently, their fans' diehard schoolboy crushes.