Our writer, Erin Griffith, put on a happy face at the Mercury Lounge in NYC a few days ago while checking out the Dum Dum Girls. Here is her first hand account of the fun time she had. (I honestly don’t know why I’m taking this tone with you right now.)
At the beginning of their set, Dee Dee, the band’s lead singer, delivered her bubblegum lyrics as if she’d popped a handful of Valium. But as the set built up to the band’s faster ditties, the Dum Dum Girls loosened up, and, don’t quote me, but I think one of them even smiled. It helped that drummer Frankie Rose (formerly Crystal Stilts) was already warmed up from her turn in opening band Frankie & the Outs. She brought the infectious energy; the others fed off of it. Particularly beautiful was Dum Dum Girls’ cover of The Rolling Stones’ melodic “Play with Fire.” Slowed down with a deliberate tambourine beat layered over what sounded like 20 voices (in reality: three), the chorus, “But don’t play with me, cause you’re playing with fire,” seemed to echo around the room even after the song faded out. The best part of the band’s set was the vocal quality. I felt a bit like Dorothy walking out of black-and-white Kansas into Oz when I heard songs I already love pumped up on Dee Dee’s amazingly rich vocals. While their new album, I Will Be is often driven by Frankie Rose’s simple, spunky drumming, in person, it’s all Dee Dee. Her haunting, powerful voice reminded me repeatedly of Grace Slick, which I didn’t get from the album at all. The angelic Mommas and Papas-style backing harmonies were only icing on the cake. (Or should I say rainbow?) Ending the set on a sleepy yet happy note, Dee Dee introduced “Rest of Our Lives,” dedicating the moody prom ballad to the band’s tour agent Eric Dimenstein, “because he just got hitched,” she said. They might be sullen girls, but they believe in love. Aw.