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MUSIC REVIEW

Sleater-Kinney goes out rocking

NEW YORK -- There may not have been tears, but there was plenty of sweat as the legendary Sleater-Kinney performed one of its final shows Wednesday night before embarking on an indefinite hiatus.

Fans packed Webster Hall here despite triple-digit temperatures and oppressive humidity to see the riot grrrls-turned-rock heroines one last time. The show was sold out, but some tickets, originally priced at $17, were selling on eBay for $100 or more in the days leading up to the performance.

Sleater-Kinney made it worth the price.

For nearly two hours (including two encores), the band tore through more than 20 songs spanning their 11-year career. From the dark, visceral ``Call the Doctor" to the stripped-down ``Modern Girl" off their latest album, ``The Woods," the Portland, Ore. -based trio covered much of their catalog to the delight of the diverse crowd.

The band kept the energy on high, creating an atmosphere that was less farewell-tour pomp and more celebration. Vocalist and guitarist Corin Tucker held nothing back as she wailed on ``The Fox" and ``Let's Call It Love," but showed her sweeter side on the opener ``Start Together" and the bluesy ``Sympathy." She's grown significantly as a vocalist since the caterwauling of the band's self-titled debut. On ``Night Light," Tucker sounded strong but vulnerable, powerful but pretty.

Guitarist and vocalist Carrie Brownstein was cool personified, leaping in the air, shuffling across the stage, and kicking eye-high all while executing her expert, angular guitar work. Janet Weiss, Sleater-Kinney's powerhouse drummer, was all business, pounding through her rolls and fills, driving home each beat a little harder than the last.

But it was the set list that was the real star of the evening. Most of the tracks on ``The Woods" were there, as well as standards like ``Get Up," ``Words and Guitar," ``Turn It On," and ``Dig Me Out." Some material made a surprising appearance -- like ``Ironclad," ``Hot Rock," ``The Drama You've Been Craving," and ``Youth Decay" -- but no matter how old or obscure, it seemed as if the entire room knew every word.

As the show came to a close with ``One More Hour," the break up song took on a different, more resonant, meaning as Brownstein sang: ``I know it's so hard for you to let it go/ I know it's so hard for you to say goodbye/ I know you need a little more time."

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