Live Reviews

Screaming Females Shine at Siren Fest

Andrew Limbong :: Monday, July 19th, 2010 12:45 pm

At around 1:55 pm on Saturday, the sun was blasting down on Coney Island at full force, showing no signs of letting up. There was no mercy given by the scant clouds in the sky as they refused to take pity on any of the concert-goers and offer up some semblance of shade. With the unobstructed rays of heat pulsating down on my body, I knew that if I didn’t put some sunscreen on, the goddamn sun was going to melt my face. But then Screaming Females came up on stage and did it anyway.

Before I continue, I just want to say that I did not know about our recent interview with Screaming Females frontwoman Marissa Paternoster until well after their set, so this isn’t some covertly organized barrage of praise coming from DT. It’s just honestly earned, I guess.

When they got up on stage, I only sort of knew what to expect. I had heard that they had gotten some big word-of-mouth praise from great axe-men like J Mascis and Ted Leo, but I never bothered to find out for myself what all the noise was about. That was dumb. Paternoster’s voice is what caught the attention of my ears first, before any real shredding started. It was deep and dramatic and shifted seamlessly between wide-mouthed crooning and wide-mouthed screaming. The amount of volume coming from this tiny red figure up on stage was absolutely ridiculous.

Let’s not forget that there are the two others in the band as well. King Mike on bass was great, using the thick sounds from his Rickenbacker bass to lay out the pillars supporting Paternoster on lead guitar. It’s a tough job, to be the glue that holds together the guitar and the drums, but King Mike seemed to do it with ease.

I couldn’t see drummer Jarrett Dougherty very well from where I was standing, but I could hear him. There was a certain charm to his drumming—it was fast and aggressive, but there was a smooth quality to it; it definitely wasn’t mere time-keeping.

Though the band as a whole got my ears to perk up, it was definitely Paterson’s guitar work that made them stay up. It’s so easy for a guitar solo to go from great to bullshit within a mater of a couple overlong seconds, but that never really happened with Screaming Females. The songs were succinct and to the point, never taking too long to get to where they’re going, with the guitar leads not greedily taking center stage, but rather punching up the high points of the songs to a guitar-induced sonic bliss.

Photo via Village Voice.