As the light goes out on Sleater-Kinney's bulletproof legacy—one that far exceeds the lazy tags of "local band," or "indie band," or "girl band"—it's only fitting that on the day of their demise, across town, their influence will be on display at the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls showcase. Onstage at the Bagdad Theater this Saturday, August 12, girls from the camp will display their budding musical chops in a benefit for the program, one which will surely help end the sausage party that is rock music. If you're like most people, ticket-less for the Sleater-Kinney farewell, you can pony up and see the future of rock music, in all its eight-year-old-with-pigtails-and-a-guitar glory. Or, if you are lucky enough to have scored some tickets to the Crystal, see both shows; you'll have plenty of time, since the camp showcase starts at 5 pm. Unless your heart is a cold dead brick of coal, I guarantee you'll leave the Bagdad inspired.
On to Sleater-Kinney, a band that I loved, and whose breakup will surely create a cavernous abyss in my heart: The band was an open book, a DIY how-to guide that bloomed into the sort of rock behemoth that plays arenas and has Eddie Vedder's digits on their Sidekick. But alongside that, they were, and have always been, approachable. More so than a Dandy sighting, or running into Malkmus at a sporting goods store, spotting Carrie, Corin, or Janet around town is a staple of Portland residency.
A rock band of grandiose ideas and humanistic spirit, one whose art loomed larger than the cozy confines of punk or indie, Sleater-Kinney was just that, a rock band. Albeit they made music with a fucking pulse, and had the ability to turn the genre on its ear. All of this will hopefully earn them a trio of carved granite faces on the Mt. Rushmore of indie heroes, right next to the stern-faced bald dome of Ian MacKaye.
So as this Saturday ushers out Sleater-Kinney's incredible run, let's hope the girls on stage at the Bagdad form a dozen more Sleater-Kinneys (not literally of course, although indierock does need some of its own cover bands), all of which are better than the last. At least there is hope. Oh, and one final note to the ladies of Sleater-Kinney, if you just happen to read this before the show, for the love of god can you please play "Dance Song '97"? It's my favorite song. Thanks.