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In concert: Corin Tucker Band at Black Cat

corin tuckerCorin Tucker's covers provided the highlights Friday at the Black Cat. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Mark Jenkins

Over seven albums made between 1995 and 2005, preeminent riot-grrl band Sleater Kinney moved from scrappy punk to a bigger, more mainstream rock style. Friday night at the Black Cat, Sleater Kinney singer-guitarist Corin Tucker continued that journey.

In its first area gig, the Corin Tucker Band played every tune from its debut album, "1,000 Years." Tucker hasn't lost her spirit or grounded her stratospheric voice, but she seemed more herself when singing other people's songs than her own solid but largely uninspiring new material.

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Ably assisted by a three-piece band that included D.C. punk veteran Seth Lorinczi on guitar and keyboards, Tucker recast classic rock with such numbers as "Riley," an unabashed variation on "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star." (At least it sounded more like Patti Smith's version than the Byrds' original.) The Portland, Ore., musician switched to acoustic guitar (minus the album's string section) for such power ballads as "It's Always Summer," which seemed overly controlled. Where Sleater Kinney pulled in opposite directions, creating a glorious tension, the Corin Tucker Band focused all too effectively on its namesake, rendering its music safer and less surprising.

The energy swelled during the last five songs: "Doubt," the "1,000 Years" song most reminiscent of Tucker's earlier band, and four covers. The surge began with "It's Obvious," a feminist anthem by British post-punkers the Au Pairs, and crested with "Cool," by Georgia funk-punk minimalists Pylon. Less frantic but no less engaging was Sheila E.'s "The Glamorous Life." If the tune wasn't particularly well suited to Tucker, her enjoyment of performing it was infectious.

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By Click Track  | November 1, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Corin Tucker  
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