Marnie Stern/Dom/Tamaryn/Lower Dens
Santos Party House
Wednesday, October 20
Better than: Just sitting at home reading ecstatic Tweets about the whole Phoenix/Daft Punk thing.
So let’s toss a few more ribald Marnie Stern exclamations on the pile. #1: “It takes a lot to drive this old, desperate bitch out of bed. Just kidding!” #2: “How many times do I have to say I need a peen in the vagean until someone hits on me?” And #3: “We’ve got two more, and then Wild Nothings are up. I wish it were Wild Somethings! [Thrusts pelvis repeatedly.]” God bless this girl and her total lack of decorum.
In the early stages of the two-story Stereogum/PopGun fete at Santos last night, here we have a brief four-band brawl between people who don’t mind looking like they enjoy being onstage, and people who apparently mind very much. The latter group go first. Buzz-Band Lock of the Week Lower Dens do a droning, rattling, trudging sort of shoegaze folk led by the rapturously husky-voiced Jana Hunter, who can howl magnificently when thus motivated but generally affects a dispassionate air that’s a little too convincing, the plodding drummer meanwhile pretty wayward, the songs carved up by slashing guitars but seeming to short out mid-climax as though victims of a sudden power outage. When she’s on, she’s on, though.
Same goes for the singularly named Tamaryn, similar of deep, booming voice and withholding temperament, her SF-based band ensconced in near-total darkness as they attempt a similar sort of droning shoegaze thing, but thicker, darker, louder, gothier — more theatrical sonically, at least. Once your eyes adjust you can get into this, the repetitive, melodic basslines and vocal melodrama pulling you back to the Cure’s Disintegration, Tamaryn moaning on and on about “A safe place for me to hide.” Siouxsie Sioux generally works harder to keep everyone entertained, but that’s the general idea here.
And then both the stage and folks on it brighten up tremendously. I’m super into DOM (the guy) as like a Muppet Babies version of Axl Rose, the flowing crimson hair and generally insouciant cock-rock bearing, leading DOM (the band) through a bizarre sort of arena surf-rock, three guitars all shredding shrilly at once there for awhile, Mr. DOM himself yelping brattily about Jesus or Satan or both or whatever the hell he’s on about. It’s all visually pretty fascinating, and a fine lead-in to Marnie, dear Marnie, who knows, of course, from shrill shredding. The sheer whooping, finger-tapping cacophony of an MS show is hilariously overwhelming, like a noise-pop Rock Band session in which they only play with 75 percent accuracy, drum rolls and looped finger-tapped gymnastics slamming into each other at odd, discordant angles. The single, stabbing guitar and vocal note that comprises the vast majority of “Prime” will either drive you nuts or turn you into a true believer. The latter this evening, of course. I hope someone finally hit on her.
Critical Bias: Pretty well established with Marnie by now.
Overheard: [Re: Tamaryn] “Well, at least she won the Pants Award.”
Random Notebook Dump: Thought about sticking around to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. but someone described them to me today as “Like the Apples in Stereo, but more annoying” and I don’t want any part of it.