Of all the 1960s-esque girl-groups on the scene, Dum Dum Girls are probably the most bad-ass. Their pop songs are blasted with a bold punk energy and dosed with a heavy layer of grit that is unmatched by most other girl groups out there. But what really sets them apart is front woman Dee Dee's lush, mysterious vocals, which stand out on their cleaner, more emotional sophomore album, Only In Dreams. So I was a little disappointed when the girls stalked on stage Saturday night and launched into a set filled with skuzzy songs that rocked hard, but almost completely drowned out Dee Dee's voice. Even songs that featured Dee Dee's great vocals like "Teardrops In My Pillow" and "Wasted Away" were overshadowed by wailing guitars.
The rest of the crowd didn't seem to mind though - a mix of college kids and middle-aged couples nodded along to songs like "Heartbeat," "Hold Your Hand" and "There is a Light That Never Goes Out." When the girls played the popular "Bedroom Eyes" the crowd really got into it, cheering as Dee Dee swiveled her hips and bobbled her head from side to side, glaring at the crowd in a way that was intimidating yet seductive. The whole band wore fishnets and leather jackets, giving off a vibe of being sexy, tough and not to be fucked with.
Dee Dee is a woman of few words and only mumbled the occasional "thank you" in between songs. After their last song, the band quickly appeared back onstage for an encore and I finally got what I was looking for. After mumbling, "This goes out to Sub Pop, our family," Dee Dee belted out "Coming Down." It was raw, emotion-filled and proved that Dee Dee can, in fact, tote her impressive pipes onto the stage.
That final, emotionally-charged performance reminded me of why the Dum Dum Girls stand out among the indie-pop girl groups out there. They're bad-ass rockers, but some of their songs have an emotional depth that Dee Dee captures and conveys perfectly with her incredible voice.