Wasn’t sure what to expect from this band. I guess no one was, including the band themselves, judging from some of their onstage comments, such as “Thanks for letting us learn how to be a band with you,” and “Here’s a song we’ve played three times before.”
Let me check … yep, my ears are still working. What these women presented last night was an incredibly powerful, loud rock and roll show. The combo of both Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony on guitar is an overwhelming and unpredictable assault. Being old enough to have experienced, let’s delicately say, a few generations of rock music, I can confidently say this was no rehash of cliches, but a fresh approach; honest and from the gut. Rebecca Cole (keyboards) and Janet Weiss (drums) contributed to vocals and along with the two front women, giving the group a full, cohesive sound when they all joined in.
A cohesive, individual band sound is what they are pulling together before our ears on this tour, before recording a CD in next year. I didn’t quite get the “Wild Flag” sound as such from last night’s show. That could be my failing, or the fact that it’s still coming together, but it didn’t really matter because it was so dang entertaining. I recall Mary Timony putting her guitar pick in her mouth at one point and playing the neck of her guitar with both hands as if it were a keyboard. At least once she veered into some soaring psychedelia that seemed to fit right in. It’s interesting to compare her stage presence–mostly thoughtful, with her brain in music space, some jumping up and down–with Carrie, who when not at the microphone is often thrashing around violently in such a way that might accidentally destroy anything or anyone that comes close to her.
You have to love a band that includes the Standell’s “Dirty Water” as part of the set, and a revved up version of the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” as an encore. The other encore with the repeated “Wild! Wild” in the chorus sounded familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. The opening act, Keli Schaefer, was really interesting and original–a kind of Bjork-meets-something-unidentifiable–and worth looking into. The other band, Royal Baths, didn’t interest me–trying a little too hard to be dark and angst-filled.
Anyway, someone recorded a slightly muddy-sounding bit from last night’s show. Around 2:45 into the tape you get a feel for their garage-rock instrumental attack.