Slint Park West, Chicago IL - March 26, 2005

The announcement that early '90s indie gods Slint would be doing a reunion tour caused a collective "holy shit" panic among scenesters across the continent, especially since the tour was limited to only a handful of dates. The very last show ever was held in Chicago, and the legendary act did all they could to re-stamp their legacy and inspire years of arcane trivia on who saw the last show and what the last song was. Beginning as a five-piece (singer Brian MacMahan alternated second guitar duties with brother Michael), the band threw the first curveball of the night, opening with what many assumed would be the closer, the epic "Good Morning Captain." Handicapped slightly by the always annoying "sound guy who doesn't know how much kick drum is too much," the tender strains of guitar were slightly lost, but when Brian yelped out the seminal "I miss you!" at the song's apex, it was clear the band hadn't lost a step. Amazingly, the atmosphere was joyfully intense, with dead silence between songs as the band changed guitars. There was a nervous energy in the crowd, as if everyone wanted the show to be perfect, and speaking out of turn might ruin it. Nevertheless, the odd heckle did pop out, such as the obtuse "reverb!," prompting MacMahan to respond, "We're all nerds here, but that is surprising." As the group locked into the set, the scene became increasingly hypnotic, the list of Slint classics mentally checked off in everyone's heads: Spiderland opener "Breadcrumb Trail" was followed by an incredible rendition of "Nosferatu Man," showing off the extent of Pajo's inhumanly long fingers. All the while, the band stood rigidly still on stage, looking more like a chamber music group than a rock band. Slint has always been about subtleties, and this performance showed that off perfectly, from Pajo's quiet guitar string grinding to bass player Todd Cook's hauntingly resonating final notes on the untitled track from the band's two-song EP. Drummer Britt Walford also provided a highlight, singing the chilling guitar-only "Don, Aman." After an hour-and-a-half, the band went into their final song ever, a gloriously noisy and feedback-soaked "Rhoda," ending in a din of sound never to be forgotten by those in attendance. So there's your indie nerd trivia answer. Mind blowing.