The Breeders At Glastonbury Reviewed: Deal sisters crash through career-spanning performance

Alt-rock heroes’ 18-song set delights at the Park Stage

The Breeeders

by Andy Fyfe |
Updated on

“Are you ready Kim?” asks Kelley Deal of her sister as they strap on guitars to rip through opening song Saints.

“Quit pressuring me!” her twin snaps back in mock irritation, but you just know there is some deeper family issue just below the surface. By way of example, Kelley tells the audience how much they’re enjoying Glastonbury’s vibe.

“The band on before us were not only great, they were really nice people, always checking in and asking, ‘Are you taking care of yourself today?’ We would never say that because we suck.”

Like their walk on music, Bauhaus’ spidery goth epic Bela Lugosi’s Dead, there’s always something of the delayed psychodrama surrounding The Breeders’ dynamic. Past recreational issues are well documented and long in the past, yet the sisters nevertheless seem to have ongoing issues, even if these days it seems they are at least at peace with other.

Today they both seem permanently startled to even be here, fixed Stepford grins showing off perfect American teeth, but Kim in particular has a 1000-yard stare disconnect that suggests only she’s seeing the horrors in front of her.

It’s reflected in their spiky, rolling punk choogle, slamming barre chords and distorted post-punk guitar hooks colliding with Jo Wiggs’ snaking bass. Their sound and dynamic has barely changed since their first iteration in 1989, and hardly a song lasts over the classic three-and-a-half minutes.

This Glastonbury set is a tried and true crowd pleaser, 18 songs that crash and confront, barrelling through their entire stop-start career, from debut album tracks When I Was A Painter and Iris, to recent single New Year. And all the while, beneath those thundering melodies, something squirelly and dark writhes about on a hotplate, picking at broken relationships, anger issues and sexual confusion.

It makes for surprisingly upbeat festival fare, the indie pop of Cannonball and a crowd-pleasing version of The Pixies’ Gigantic particularly welcome blasts of squalling rock at odds with the good time bounce going on everywhere else.

Set List

Saints

Wait In The Car

Doe

Invisible Man

Safari

When I Was A Painter

Disobedience

Hag

Opened

New Year

Cannonball

Drivin’ On 9

I Just Wanna Get Along

Do You Love Me Now?

No Aloha

Divine Hammer

Gigantic

Iris

Stay on MOJO4MUSIC for complete coverage of Glastonbury 2024’s best music including ColdplayIDLESFontaines D.C.SqueezePaul Heaton and Fatboy Slim's Housemartin's reunionDexysLCD SoundsystemPJ Harvey and more.

Photo: The Breeders at Madison Square Gardens, April 2024. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty

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