Dum Dum Girls – [Live]

Sunday, 19 February 2012

I remember the chill-wave thrill that started a couple years ago. You know, when having a simple, straightforward and low-fi record didn’t also signify an unspoken novelty. Punk and garage rock have been doing it for years, and it was cute to see indie rock try and claim it because all of a sudden it became okay for Sub Pop to release an album that sounded like the Ramones.  No one except hipsters bought into it.

The curious thing about the chill-wave experiment is that a lot of the bands which emerged from it happened to be girl-fronted; readers should take note of Vivian Girls, Best Coast and The Dum Dum Girls – a.k.a. the protagonists of this review. The difference between all these bands is hard to distinguish, but the Dum Dum Girls seem to have risen as the cream simply because they have something more to offer: variety and soothing vocals. Like many, I felt like the Dum Dum Girls’ full length last year, Only In Dreams, was heaps better than its predecessor. In fact, it was Only In Dreams which beckoned me to go see them live, and it’s a good thing that I did.

The Dum Dum Girls’ albums have a certain Sixties grit to them which adds some personality to what are already some great songs. Of course, that’s difficult to recreate live, but the Dum Dum Girls make it look easy on stage with an absolutely solid set, a quirky stage presence (think vintage/French/goth-glam/pre-Jerry Lewis) and relentless drumming that’s as much fun to watch as it is to hear. Say what you will, but the vocals on their songs have a very centric role, and it was great seeing front-lady Dee Dee deliver on every front. Probably the only qualms I had with the show were the cat-calling and shouts of “I Love You” and “You’re Hot!” Such conduct makes a valid case for women rockers still being underrated underdogs, you know?

Regardless of such low brow crowd conduct though, I hope what the Dum Dum Girls are doing live is a sign of good things to come. I hope that with the death of the chill-wave moniker, all that means is that we’ll be left with good music.


Dum Dum Girls – Paradise Club – Boston, MA – 02/08/12

Further Reading:

Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams – [Album review]


More Dum Dum Girls dates have already been confirmed for 2012. For a complete, regularly updated list of upcoming shows, click here .

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