By Joe Gross | Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 02:29 PM
Monday nights are tough. Lots of restaurants, bars and clubs simply take Monday off.
Not Emo’s. Seven nights a week, baby.
Those hows might not be the best attended, but, sometimes, Monday shows blow you away.
As the Horrorpops brought their gothy punkabilly (a.k.a. stuff that sounds a whole lot like the Cramps) to the big room, one of the strongest sets I’m going to see this year went down in the small room.
First up was Harlem, an Austin trio that features sharply contoured, hard-swinging garage pop and an absolutely enormous, marching band style bass drum.
Harlem guitarist Michael Coomers sported a furry hat, a gnarly small amp guitar sound and an infectiously pleasant on-stage demeanor. Drummer Curtis O’Mara, he of the neatly trimmed mustache and aforementioned enormo-drum, and stock-still bassist John Hostetter kept the songs deft and moving, crucial to making this sort of garage goof work. A wonderful band.
But they were kind of blown to pieces by Screaming Females. But then again, almost anyone would be.
Straight out of New Brunswick, the trio is made up of a two-man (as in male) rhythm section (stellar drummer Jarrett Dougherty and melodic-yet-anchor-like bassist King Mike) and one screaming female, singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster. She feeds back like Neil Young, she shreds like a tiny, female Greg Sage (of Wipers fame) she dresses like Thowing Muse Kristin Hersh in that band’s black-tights-and-skirt years.
Paternoster’s lyrics are buried in moans and the occasional, yes, scream; the songs are drum-head tight, well-structured nuggets of post-punk thunder cut with the occasional guitar-hero solo. Paternoster’s runs are doodly without ever boring or egocentric. Not many people can pull that off in this context. It was thrilling to watch. Most patrons weren’t at the band’s 2007 show at the Parlor and they looked like I did back then: standing still, jaws slightly open, floored at what they were seeing.
They’ve thus far put out two excellent albums and a 7-inch single on their own. Their new split singles are on local Jersey labels.
Had I an indie record label with clout and cash, I would stand outside Screaming Females’ house with a boombox playing “In Your Eyes” until they signed on the dotted line. Those of you in such a position should do the same.
"Two nights go there was this really drunk guy and he was an asshole and he said he has long balls. And he was an asshole. And last night...uhm...these guys got really angry at us because we didn't buy them alcohol. They were assholes as well. (shrugs)" - K. MIKE