1. Towards the end of an extended jam on "Racehorse," Carrie Brownstein stood on Janet Weiss' drum kit, turned her back to the audience and leisurely plucked a few clamorous notes from her guitar for what seemed like forever. (It was probably two minutes.) She barely had to move to fill the room with sound and attitude. She's bad, and she knows it.
2. Toward the end of "Glass Tambourine," the guitars dropped out while Weiss and keyboard player Rebecca Cole's siren-like intertwining harmonies went from backup to main attraction, providing a lovely lull before everything went berserk again.
3. Though the former members of Sleater-Kinney get most of the attention (it's what happens when your bandmates were in one of the most acclaimed groups of its time period, plus the whole TV star thing), it's Mary Timony who has been a revelation in Wild Flag. Being around Brownstein must have helped her come out of her shell, because gone is the shy musician hiding behind dreamy melodies and lyrics about magic cities. Last night Timony sang with a directness and swagger that was shocking for longtime fans, and even did a few around-the stage struts during "Something Came Over Me."
4. As is often the case with new bands headlining on one album, Wild Flag threw in a few covers for the encore. Timony sang a sultry version of The Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden," which is not something anyone would have expected years ago, and Brownstein fronted a twisty version of Fugazi's "Margin Walker." Best of all was group sing-a-long on Bobby Freeman's "Do You Want To Dance?" best known to young punks for the Ramones cover. It was a nice sign that, as dedicated to impact as this band is, there's room for them to be sweet and fun.
5. Opening the show was Brooklyn's Hospitality, who recently released their self-titled debut on Merge. They're still finding their footing as a live band after time spent largely as a studio project; the songs were there but the performances were not quite locked in enough. But when the songs were as good as the jaunty "Friends of Friends," which is like a whole mixtape of '90s indiepop boiled down to one song, Hospitality made watching them grow up in public an appealing prospect.