Sisters Kim and Kelley Deal, alongside bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson, brought their iconic heavy alt rock to the ACL Fest Homeaway stage on Saturday for the Breeders hard-driving 3:15 p.m. set, which proved the band’s music and broader influence remain relevant almost three decades after the band formed in 1989.
One of the most interesting things about seeing a festival set by a band like the Breeders, which hit peak popularity in the mid-'90s, is gauging how much the band members seem to be enjoying themselves. In this case, the delightful answer was: very much indeed.
The Deals could barely stop smiling during the whole hour they played, and though the more stoic Wiggs remained hidden behind a black hat and sunglasses, she made enough sly smiles and observations — like how the bass is definitely the best instrument — to show she was just as much in on the fun. And then there's Macpherson’s ebullient drumming.
Despite Kim’s mic being turned down too low for the first few songs, the Breeders put on a hell of a show, playing loud, confident, loose and joyful. They charged through hits from throughout their career, from tracks like “Divine Hammer,” “Drivin on 9 ” and, of course, a rousing rendition of “Cannonball" — all from 1993 album "Last Splash" — to a fierce new song in which Kim sings, “I won’t stop; I will hunt you down,” and a crowd-pleasing take on “Gigantic,” the hit song Kim wrote for her other beloved band, the Pixies. The musician took over to play the sick bass line for that song, and Kelley later picked up the bass herself as Kim sang a haunting version of “Off You” from the band’s 2002 album "Title TK."
All three women sang lead vocals at one point or another, with a highlight being Kelley’s piercing rendition of “I Just Wanna Get Along,” which starts off with the biting lyric, “We were rich once, before your head exploded.”
Ultimately, the set proved just how well the Breeders’ catalogue — all of it — holds up to this day, with the band’s lyrics, musicianship and stage presence rightfully affirming their reputation as legends in the alternative scene.
Also, there was a fake black raven sitting on one of the band’s amps the whole time, and that was super rad.