My friend and I arrived around 10. She was dressed nicely in black. I was wearing my slutty black dress (j/k, it's not really that slutty) for the first time since I bought it at the awesome MLK Fashion Plaza in Portland, with purple tights, booties, and too much makeup. Sorry, no pics. I should have got her to snap one, because she has a real camera in her phone as opposed to my pathetic camera (evidence of pathetic camera in that picture to the left). Anyway, we looked good. A few other people looked good. But this is Vancouver. Dress up? Make an effort? Sorry, too cool for that. Sure, the Electric Owl is a rock club, a cleaned-up rock club, but the Dum Dum Girls are more Bangles than Bikini Kill. Either way, it shouldn't have been a flannel night. Hey, it was 13°C outside!
Enough of the fashion snobbery report. When my friend and I arrived, there was a young woman on stage. She was wearing sunglasses. She played an electric guitar with lots of distortion. She had electronic backing, no band. Her songs sounded OK, but I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention. Someone can probably tell me who she was.
I had seen the Crocodiles a couple years ago in San Francisco, opening for the Raveonettes at Bimbo's. At the time, I was not familiar with their music. They were kind of like a very noisy Raveonettes, which is pretty darned noisy. There was melody in there, but it was lost in even more noise and reverb and vibrato than the Raveonettes use. Since then, I've listened to one of their albums, and I like it. And last night, they did a good set. It was a sunglasses night—the lead singer never took his off. I recognized some of the songs. The mix was pretty good, and I could hear the melodies through the noise. They do have this annoying habit of making lots of guitar noise between every song, but that wasn't such a big deal. I danced a bunch. Kristen Gundred of the Dum Dum Girls came out at one point to duet with the lead singer, who is her boyfriend. Touring together! Cute, eh?
I remarked to my friend that it was somehow very satisfying that her band was the top billed over her boyfriend's band.
The Dum Dum Girls played a strong set. Did I dance from start to finish? Pretty much. Some other people did. But again, so many people just stood there. They applauded and cheered, but really, these women deserved more enthusiasm and movement.
It's true that Kristen does not really engage the crowd. It's about the songs, not the show. The band member who really caught my attention was the drummer. She was good! And it doesn't hurt that she was gorgeous too. She had a fan blowing on her, probably for practical purposes, but it also had the effect of acting like a wind machine on her hair. Music video!
The set consisted of a mix of new and old songs. Yes, the new songs sounded better played live, but the old ones sound even better. They just kick more ass! I think Kristen's guitar should have been mixed a bit higher. It would have filled out the sound. One way in which the new songs were improved were that you could hear Kristen's voice pretty well, something that doesn't often happen in a club mix. But you heard the pretty melodies more than the less-than-stellar lyrics, and that worked very well.
I danced to lots of favourites—"He Gets Me High," "Bhang, Bhang, I'm a Burnout," "It Only Takes One Night," "Always Looking," "Bedroom Eyes," "Wasted Away." They finished the set with the Smiths' cover "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out." A very satisfying closer! They then came back to encore with their ballad "Coming Down." No, I didn't wave a cigarette lighter.
In case I don't get back before then, Happy Thanksgiving!