Screaming Females don’t need to light their drum set on fire to prove they’re punk. Despite inclement weather, the band drew a sizable crowd last night at the Grog Shop with Chomp and two members of Wooly Bullies (subbing for Cheap Clone) opening. They performed a high energy set without stage gimmicks or even dialogue between songs.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a healthy dose of theatre on the stage; seriously, who doesn’t love it when David Byrne dances with a lamp or when Devo performs wearing matching flower-pot “power domes” on their heads —it gets the audience pumped. However, Screaming Females are just not that kind of band. They get their audience pumped on raw power alone.
Singer-guitarist Marissa Paternoster shredded like a girl guitar messiah with powerful vocals. Drummer Jarrett Dougherty, bounced around with equal parts energy and concentration. Bassist Michael Abbate, thrashed around the stage often feeding off Paternoster. Together they were dynamic.
Their set was a big ol’ grab bag of rock ’n’ roll that deviated fluidly between poppy and aggressive. It included their poppy single, “It All Means Nothing” from 2012’s Ugly. Paternoster’s vocals often had a vibrato reminiscent of the Slits but with sudden violent interruptions that diverged into screaming the lyrics. Abbate’s bass lines were also interesting, sometimes bordering on funky hybrid styling similar to Minute Men, other times heavy and sinister.
In the past, Screaming Females have toured with Dead Weather, Garbage, Shellshag, and Against Me! Next up they’ll be on tour with The Julie Ruin, a project by Kathleen Hannah (of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre). If the snow held you back from seeing them last night, you’re in luck — they’ll be back on April 7 at the Beachland Ballroom.