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When Liz Phair‘s Exile in Guyville came out in 1993, many of the guys I knew loved Phair’s cheerleader-prettiness and the record’s brazen sexuality (“Dude, she said she wants to be a blow job queen, heh heh”). The women I knew loved the record for its power, its intelligent sexuality with lyrics that were honest and forthright, and how it expressed everything we all thought but weren’t supposed to think, let alone say to a guy. Phair was in her 20s when Exile came out, and somehow she’d nailed how it often felt to be in a relationship with others, as well as oneself, in a way that was wise beyond her years.
Fast forward 17 years to Friday night at the 9:30 Club: Phair’s audience was an interesting mixture of those same men and women, as well as women who weren’t born when Exile came out. 43-year old Phair—who apparently has a painting next to Dorian Grey somewhere—ran the gamut through her musical catalogue, touching down mostly on tracks from Exile and her July release, Funstyle. Funstyle‘s material is a bit, um, different from Phair’s usual style, but that’s always been the neat thing about Phair: She’s always done her own thing, even when it runs contrary to what everyone expects.
DC locals US Royalty opened. Royalty’s 70s-style cock-rock-with-indie-melodies filled the 930 to its rafters.
See the other photos from each set here.