Music

Concert review: The Breeders zip in for a decisive Bunkhouse performance

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Kim Deal, front and center at the Bunkhouse.
Photo: Adam Shane

“Guess who rode the zipline today?” Breeders leader Kim Deal asked Monday’s sold-out Bunkhouse crowd, then answered her own question by pointing at her twin sister Kelley and bassist Josephine Wiggs. “Tourists,” she jabbed before diving into “Fortunately Gone” off 1990 debut album Pod.

That song exemplified the less-is-more approach that stamps a Breeders show. The Dayton, Ohio, foursome didn’t bring grand guitar solos or lengthy jams to the stage, instead focusing on understated gestures—drummer Jim Macpherson’s X-Acto knife precision and thundering percussion, Wiggs’ Morse code-like bass, Kim and Kelley’s powerful electric and acoustic guitar work—and their use of space between each riff and strum.

Las Vegas got loads of classics, among them Beatles cover “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” with the Deal sisters’ radiant, cooler-than-cool harmonies, and nine cuts off 1993 breakthrough Last Splash, including “Do You Love Me Now?,” “No Aloha” and, of course, “Cannonball,” featuring Kim’s breathy gasps and distorted “ooh-ah-oohs,” Wiggs’ iconic bassline and Kelley’s boomeranging guitar riff. And we got some new tunes. “We just rewrote the music to that,” Kim said of “Skinhead #2,” one of three fresh cuts that fit perfectly among the oldies.

The Breeders ended the set with “Divine Hammer,” then returned for a four-song encore, including ’92 classic “Safari,” before leaving us to revel in the memories. As someone who spent hours and days in the old Bunkhouse, it still feels unusual when a legendary band plays inside its repainted walls—and each show continues to be a defining moment for our music scene. Monday’s was no exception—and The Breeders played like they knew it.

Setlist:

"Off You"

"Saints"

"Hag"

"Skinhead #2"

"S.O.S."

"Do You Love Me Now?"

"Simone"

"Doe"

"Limehouse"

"Walking With a Killer"

"Fortunately Gone"

"I Just Wanna Get Along"

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun"

"New Year"

"Cannonball"

"All Nerve"

"No Aloha"

"Divine Hammer"

Encore:

"Glorious"

"Safari"

"Hellbound"

"Iris"

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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