I was running late for the Dum Dum Girls show at The Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan Friday night. Yes, I've lived in NYC for almost two years. No, I still haven't figured out the subway system—7 to the R to the F* this!?! I've literally sang the lyrics of Le Tigre's “My My Metrocard” to myself in hopes that it could solve my MTA issues. “‘Next Stop! Atlantic Avenue. Next Stop!...’ Wait, do they mention stops on the F?” How desperate is that?
Anyway, as I scrambled up to the venue, irritated as hell, heels clicking double-time on the concrete, a clique of cig-smoking boys glanced over at me. I blurted out, “Where's the entrance?” And just like a Mentos commercial, one of them gave me a nod with a kinda sly grin and opened up a heavy industrial door in front of us, gesturing me inside. It didn't really look like an entrance. That's because it wasn't the entrance. I unknowingly snuck into a sold out show through a back door. Oops.
Feeling a little bad-ass, I weaved through the fawning fans gazing up at Dee Dee, Jules, Bambi, and Sandy aka the Dum Dum Girls. Lead singer Dee Dee, wearing her trademark striped nylons and black short-shorts, shook her long black hair around like a ‘60s pop star as she belted out “He Gets Me High,” the opening track to their new EP of the same name. To Dee Dee's left, Bambi nonchalantly stared into the audience as she plucked at the bass, wearing a black lace dress, occasionally leaning into a mic to add back-up vocals. She had this captivating stage presence that reminded me of another rad redhead—Poison Ivy of The Cramps. An acid-tripped out kaleidoscope of projected visuals (swimming ladies, TV fuzz, go-go dancers) reflected onto the stage, flickering onto the band as guitarist Jules’ rich harmonies meshed with Dee Dee's singsong vocals for “Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout.”
The encore, a cover of The Smiths “There is a Light That Never Goes Out,” converted the crowd into a swaying, dancing mass that lip-synced along as Dee Dee crooned the chorus line over and over. Covering The Smiths, huh? Thee iconic Morrissey? Such a stunt is bold as hell, but DDGs nailed it brilliantly. As the tune ended, I heard a boy behind me say to his friend, “I've never heard anyone but The Smiths play that song…I mean, where I actually liked it.” I couldn't agree more.
Dum Dum Girls’ EP, He Gets Me High released March 1 on Sub Pop