Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

Who Said Punk Was Dead? May 22, 2010

Filed under: Concert Reviews — NVMP @ 10:27 PM
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By Angela Blasi

On May 13th 2010 I had the distinct honor of visiting the Fillmore at Irving Plaza in anticipation of witnessing living legends the Buzzcocks.  Billed with the solid musical trio The Dollyrots, this gig held the promise of delivering amazing music while simultaneously kicking my ass.

Upon arrival, I made my way upstairs into the lower level of the show room to find The Dollyrots had taken the stage and were already a song or two into their set.  Watching inconspicuously from the side, I took note of the trio’s more reserved nature since the last time I had seen them with Bowling For Soup.  Being on a bigger bill, I couldn’t blame them for feeling more serious about this gig than the last.  Despite the magnitude of touring with The Buzzcocks, Kelly Ogden maintained true front woman status, leading the band through each high energy number with her humor and charisma while keeping a much older crowd attentive.  Backed by the salient vocals of guitarist Luis Cabezas, the pair created the powerhouse of a voice that drove the band through each number.  Throughout the night her quiet confidence bore through every moment, poignantly illustrating the origins of a song like “Because I’m Awesome.”  Never taking themselves too seriously but always giving the crowd a blistering set devoid of imperfections or stumbling like classically trained musicians, The Dollyrots have yet to disappoint me.  Not only do I appreciate the fun atmosphere they bring to a show, but also how in doing so they embody that true, ‘Music is amazing so let’s just play and fuck the details’ attitude.  Playing highlights such as “Jackie Chan,” “Bad Reputation”(originally performed by Joan Jett and The Black Hearts) and the title track off their upcoming album “California Beach Boy,” the band commanded the stage and let the older fan base of the Buzzcocks know that just because they’re from a newer generation doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten how to rock from their roots.

After a brief intermission and set change the standing room only crowd was buzzing with excitement.  Although the fan base was older than myself one could still feel the enthusiasm in the air, no different from that generated by the youthful crowds of punk’s start.  For this North American tour, the band promised to play both their classic albums Another Music In a Different Kitchen and Love Bites in their entirety.  Never a group to disappoint, they did just that.  Seamlessly charging full throttle into each song, the Buzzcocks stood and delivered.  The group wasted no time with mindless banter between songs but rather gave the crowd exactly what they came for: a feverish night of non-stop music.  As they plowed into song after song with no break, it became clear that time has had no bearing on the output of this group.  Each note played was executed with seasoned professionalism and just enough arrogance to make the audience take notice of the greatness sweating before them.  The set was complete with individual moments for each band member, showcasing their musical prowess separately and eventually flowing back together to form the high energy sound that is the Buzzcocks.  Even today, the snot-nosed lyrics, decreeing boredom, and the need for sex, drugs, and drink still keep up their edgy, youthful charm.  Brilliant in their lyrical simplicity and tight with their full-bodied musical deliverance, one can see why this is truly the stuff legends are made of.

 

Bowling for Soup and the Dollyrots: A rock concert that doesn’t take itself so seriously. March 25, 2010

*Pictures coming soon*

On Wednesday March 10, 2010 Starland Ballroom was home to a night of pop punk delectability in the form of headliners Bowling for Soup and openers, The Dollyrots.  Having never seen or listened to either band in extensive detail, I made my way into the venue with both an open mind and open ears, hoping to bring a fresh perspective to both bands live performance.

Upon arrival, I sauntered into the bar area to take a seat and watch the remaining songs of the smaller openers and began to notice I was very much alone.  Quite noticeably, the entire crowd was well under 21 years of age, most not even being able to drive, as I sat amidst their younger siblings and parents who waited for them in the audience.  Finally it came time for the Dollyrots to take the stage.  This punk rock trio, formed for fun by members Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas, took the stage with a “devil may care” attitude and punk rock sound of their forefathers.  Looking much like a 2010 version of Joan Jett meets Nancy Spungen (a very befitting look as they cited Sid and Nancy as inspiration) minus the drug addiction; Kelly Ogden catapulted the band into their set, delivering catchy licks and sharp hooks that earned them my respect as a fan of the punk rock movement.  Musically, the Dollyrots were able to encapsulate their influences while bringing their own fresh sound to the table.  Unfortunately, despite my enjoyment of their set, I did notice that their style and influence was almost completely lost on the crowd.  Having done a cover of “Brand New Key” by Melanie Safka(popularized by the Janis Joplin cover), one could almost see the crowd’s eyes glaze over.  Being too young to appreciate the band and their music, I felt the group did not get the recognition they deserved that night.  Though I had never heard nor seen this group before, I absolutely enjoyed their energy, lack of seriousness about themselves, but also their tightness as a musical group, firing through the set with precision and ease, demonstrating their musical finesse while maintaining the illusion of a three chord Ramones skill.  Their sophomore album Because I’m Awesome was released on Jett’s own Blackheart Records and has gained the band some notoriety.

You may have already heard some music from the Dollyrots in this Kohl’s commercial.

Here’s the official video for “Brand New Key”

Upon departure the crowd began to get restless again, all that teen angst was mounting into excitement for the main act, Bowling for Soup.  A group from the larger than life state of Texas, I had heard many of their singles on the radio throughout the years and have painted a mental portrait of a pop punk group with less than life altering lyrics dedicated to the pursuit of fun.  In time, the television screen rolled up and the lights dimmed; the room stood silent in anticipation for just a moment when Bowling for Soup’s theme music began to blare through the house P.A. system.  Within seconds I realized the band had written their own entrance music with a catchy little chorus that repeated the hook, “here comes bowling for soup!”  I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my lifetime, but I must say, that would be the first time I have ever heard of a band writing a song for themselves, about themselves, just before hitting the stage.  While it wasn’t necessarily pretentious, I found it a little odd.  Within moments the band graces the audience with their presence, welcoming the crowd with their warmth and energy and seamlessly blasting into their set.  One downside however, the band took liberal amounts of time between songs to address the assembly of kids.  Often feeling more like an attempt at a comedy show than a rock concert, front man Jaret Reddick spoke in length to the congregation, making fun of himself and band members or simply creating long drawn out introductions for each upcoming track.  In all my experience, I have found this tends to make a show seem long and arduous to endure.  Just play the freaking music, that’s what we came for.

From the first chord to the last, the young audience moved in unison, fist pumping and making hackneyed attempts at crowd surfing.  Playing singles such as “Punk Rock 101,”  “My Wena,” and “High School Never Ends” one entire theme became clear to me- no matter how old the members of the band were, their lyrics never quite grew up.  Stuck in the epitome of the genre ‘pop punk’ it made complete sense that a large majority of the group’s fan base isn’t even old enough to vote.  What’s more is the band has the tight musicianship of seasoned professionals.  Playing their instruments with skill, even throwing in a few tricks, I noticed that the group overall was incredibly strong and had the talent to take their music to the next level; they simply choose not to.  Now, I’m not trying to say that this band was terrible live as their fans ate up every single second, but I feel that if the band does not grow up and evolve past their ‘pop punk roots’ utilizing all that musical talent, they simply will fade out once their fan base grows up.  It doesn’t all have to be drunken potty humor and high school romances.  So stop talking so much and start playing the type of music you’re capable of or the idea of longevity will simply remain as such.

By Angela Blasi