The word ‘legend’ is bandied around with rather too much regularity these days, but if ever there was a person who qualified for the title it would be Kim Deal.
Not only was she the coolest female bass player in the most influential alt-rock band of them all, Pixies, but she also wrote one of their greatest songs, Gigantic.
That alone would be proof of her genius, but over the last 18 years her other band The Breeders has proved themselves to be pretty damn good at this indie-rock lark as well.
A Breeders tour is about as rare as an album release (4 records in 18 years testifies to that) so it’s unsurprising that there’s a genuine sense of anticipation around Sheffield’s Leadmill as the five-piece stroll onto stage.
With Kim and Kelly Deal positioned either side of the stage, they bookend the impressive rhythm section of Jose Medeles and Mando Lopez, resulting in a very tight sound. There’s also room for a guest guitarist for some songs, introduced by Kim as “Charlotte from Florida”.
The set list is understandably heavy on the latest album Mountain Battles, with tracks such as Bang On, Walk It Off and It’s The Love all being well-received. Yet it’s the older stuff that everyone was waiting for tonight, as the ecstatic reception that the introduction of No Aloha proved.
The Deal twins make for a compelling stage duo, with inside jokes being swapped at every opportunity and indulging in some banter with the audience. There was even time for a stage dedication to former Breeder Josephine Wiggs, whose sister, we were reliably informed, now lives in Sheffield.
The predictable highlight of the evening was when Kim leaned over her microphone to bellow the unmistakable introduction to Cannonball, which was the cue for the entire Leadmill to jump up and down in unison with that timeless guitar riff.
There was even time for Kelly to take centre stage for a playful romp of I Just Wanna Get Along, a blisteringly good Safari and that rarest of thing – a decent Beatles cover version, when the band’s excellent rendition of Happiness Is A Warm Gun was dusted down.
The only complaint really was the short length of the set – but an hour of Breeders magic is better than none at all. The real Deal indeed.