Friday, June 3, 2011

Against Me! - Screaming Females - Lemuria -- Black Cat - June 2 2011

Lemuria - Three bands playing punk rock at the Black Cat? Sounds like a fun evening ahead. This three piece from the wintry city of Buffalo hits the stage. Perhaps they brought some of the cold northern air with them to end the intense heat that had enveloped DC, but there was nothing cold on stage. Instead, they played really nice punk-pop music that reminded me quite a bit of the Penetration style in "Danger Signs". The guitarist sang with a more subtle style than most female punk screamers and the duet she shared with the drummer reminded me a bit of Exene and John Doe even. The music was pretty simple, but they did a nice job with keeping it coming, avoiding tiresome tuning breaks and inane chatter. Being lively and fun gave listeners no time to think, but only to react and join in with them. The crowd did and the 1980 style pop-punk worked well in the opening half hour set.
Screaming Females - Another three-piece here with a woman singing and playing guitar again. I take a spot by the sound board and hear music that is tougher than that of the first band. The vocals are a little more toward Joan Jett this time. Then, the guitar work which had kind of a post punk, edgy beginning starts going into wild places. Normally I don't care a lot with trying to figure out a band's sound, but I really felt the need to get up close and see if all these sounds were coming from the one guitarist (while handling all vocal duties for that matter). Shortly after I moved up, Ian MacKaye popped out from backstage to also take a look. I am not sure if he was amazed as I was to see Marissa Paternoster play such amazing guitar runs, but he was joining me in bobbing his head around to get a view of her playing. And it really was amazing. There was a punk metal style to it all, but post punk and psyche moves were also present. I was hearing Bevis Frond/Entrance Band style jams and flourishes along with really odd post punk angles. Power chords, fast near-Michael Schenker style leads and I swear I even heard some Thomas Mapfumo runs and Wipers patterns. I can pretty much guarantee you that I will never describe a guitarist like this again. Remember how Bubba Dupree amazed people in DC with his band Void many years back? Well, this was all of that and then some. And I won't forget the rhythm section who also did a great job. I don't get blown away by a band these days as often as I did when I was young, but it happened here. It seemed that much of the crowd agreed with me that this was one amazing performance tonight.

Against Me! - The crowd was really revved up for this Florida four-piece. The band did not disappoint as it launched into its anthemic punk rock attack with song after song after song. Or rather it was more anthem after anthem after anthem. Frankly, it was a little much for me as earnest intensity is something I handled better 30 years ago with a quaint band like Sham 69. For an example of how to balance anthems with more variety and dynamics, do join me for the Stiff Little Fingers show this Saturday. But I can see I am somewhat in the minority tonight, as the club has filled up more than I expected and is getting into this set. Can't say that I blame them as the band is crisp and has loads of energy. I think I preferred Rise Against in the battle of the "Against" bands. Thankfully, I don't think we'll see a run of Against bands like we saw with Wolf bands a few years back. I have the same issues tonight that I have with Flogging Molly to some degree. I don't begrudge anyone for thinking how great these bands are, but I will stay a bit more in the 'I respect them' camp. But to try to explain a bit of my cynicism, I did particularly enjoy these brief comments I heard. The singer said "This is a protest song called (muffled title)". Yes, I didn't really need to hear the title because I think many of your songs would fit that intro. And the next song had a lyric "You aren't saying anything we haven't heard before." I'll leave it at that.

Quote of the Night: Nothing notable not already mentioned, but I promised a friend I would mention a quote we heard while at our jobs scorekeeping little league baseball games over 30 years ago. The quote has lived with us and haunts us still. Woody Woodring ran his mouth (as he did frequently) so that anyone within 30 yards of him heard "Like I said before, I don't care if we win or lose, as long as we shut 'em out."


Chris said...

Screaming Females is quite a band, and the singer/guitarist is really something. I thought of going, but I didn't want to see the main act - just Screaming Females. It's hard enough to find a great guitarist these days, let a long a great singer, and Melissa Paternoster (?) is both. I hope they come back either as headliners or openers for someone I want to see.

David Hintz said...

Sounds like you had this show predicted accurately, Chris. Yes, she really is that good for those that haven't heard of the band. It not only fun to be surprised by how good someone is, but to get that feeling that many in the crowd are just as surprised and excited as you are. The good thing about this package tour is that they may be able to really acquire a lot of new fans. They can count me as one, obviously.