Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Show Review - Screaming Females - Bowery Ballroom, NYC 10/8/11

New York where were you on Saturday night?  A lineup of of DIY Punk and Indie-Rock capped by one of the fiercest touring bands today was hardly close to selling out despite its cheap ticket price down at Bowery Ballroom.  Maybe it was the NOFX show at Irving Plaza keeping the punks away but those who did come were treated to some riffage for the ages.
The half full Ballroom did nothing to dampen the spirits as a set of duo's opened with Hilly Eye and Shellshag presenting their two person back and fourth wails.  Hilly Eye played up a mid-nineties noise vibe while Shellshag is happy to roll around in fuzzy 80's rock even covering "The Promise" by When In Rome

(From a show earlier this year)

The six piece rollicking group The Underground Railroad to Candyland played a party like set of their upbeat punk rock as well, but the main event was the headlining, power packing, trio from New Brunswick New Jersey.    
Coming onto the stage with zero fanfare and little in the way of speakers or background Screaming Females proceeded to do what it simply does a whole through its fans (and unsuspecting newcomers) chests with thunderous drums from Jarrett Dougherty, pogoing bass line runs from Mike Abbate, and six string arrows shot from Marissa Paternoster's axe.  The opener "Sheep" from their most recent album Castle Talk started the completely energizing, engrossing set and the group didn't let up until the encore.
"Fall Asleep" found the drums tapping and slamming down into a groove while Paternoster sang up and down the scales.  While her guitar playing is an obvious focus the vocals constantly enchant and can off set the continual driving of the tunes, playing with the dynamics of each song the lone female in the group does much more then scream.  The monstrous "Skull" had the walls shaking with it's huge cymbal crashes and epic hair raising riffs, this song alone begs to reverberate around arenas (and with the talent this band possesses it won't be long before that goes down, next year perhaps?).
It is the fullness of the bass and drums that allow Paternoster to take guitar flight and the synergy of the band was on display all night with "Starve The Beat" being one blinding example. 
"Bell" was chunky and professional a sign of the three Screaming Females being completely lock-step with each other from their constant touring, in fact the group was incredibly tight all night, so much so the show at times lacked that wild-abandon feel. 

Then again there was an utter rawness to "Buried in the Nude" with it's slashing changes and "I Don't Mind It" excited the eardrums and got the crowd to start moshing away.  Some new tunes were on display tonight, one had some sweet low end and a metal hook not unlike early Black Sabbath.  Speaking briefly with Abbate pre-show he mentioned the band was about to enter the studio and start up a new album in November which is very exciting news.
The night closing "Lights Out" is a standout tune in their catalog as it breaks from the driving punk formula and allows all members of the band to spread out and explore.  Tonight Paternoster sonically painted the room as the beat was laid perfectly behind, a clear highlight and hopefully an exciting omen of things to come from this band who have mastered the taut simple tracks and could explode to great heights with more unique tunes like this one.  As it stands there are few better groups playing any kind of rock today, don't sleep on them when they come to your town.

Extra links of Interest:
Hilly Eye EP can be found here!
Unique video from The Under Ground Railroad To Candyland here!
Shellshag info here!
And all of the Screaming Females catalog here!

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