The Dum Dum Girls, October 12, 2011, Turf Club

Posted on October 13, 2011 by

Who: Dum Dum Girls
Where: The Turf Club, St. Paul, MN
When: October 12, 2011

The power pop punk of the Dum Dum Girls first full-length release, I Will Be, had enough hooks and potential to keep them on my radar. The album was fuzzed-out and I wondered what the producer was trying to hide instead of enhance. The Girls could obviously catch your ear (as well as your eye) with their three-chord DIY attack, proving that simplicity sounds best when distinguished by nuances and honesty.

One giant step later, the Dum Dum Girls released, Only In Dreams. Where I Will Be showed more of their namesake influence – the Vaselines’ number “Dum Dum,” Dreams polishes up the sound, without losing the punk sass. The Girls showcased their new album, playing eight tracks from it at St. Paul’s Turf Club on Wednesday night.

The sixteen song set, including the encore, “Coming Down” clocked in at about an hour. They performed five tracks from I Will Be, as well as “Catholicked” from an early EP, and two tracks from last spring’s He Gets Me High EP, including the Smiths’ cover, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.”

The keyboardist from the Crocodiles (one of the two opening acts, the other being Colleen Green) joined them on stage for “Coming Down,” a reverb drenched ballad that exhibited the range of Dee Dee’s vocals. Her delivery exemplified the importance of a live performance, showing the developing talents of the band. The long note Dee Dee holds on the studio version of “Coming Down” turns into a primal scream in the live performance.

I found so much disparity in sound from the first album to the second that the live performance was the bridge I needed to connect the first two records. They went from the Ramones-meets-the Raveonettes to Blondie. And it is not on coincidence I mention those bands. The legendary Richard Gottehrer, who had also produced the first two Blondie albums, had produced both Dum Dum Girls albums. Sune Rose Wagner of the Raveonettes lent a hand too. Gottehrer brought Dee Dee’s voice up in the mix and she comes off sounding like Chrissie Hynde with a Siouxsie Sioux tremble. Live, she’s more raw, convincingly purveying emotion.

Another factor in the maturity of the sound is that Dee Dee has assembled a working band. I Will Be was basically a solo record, with much of it done at home with demo-like freshness. But Only In Dreams has a band consisting of Bambi on bass, Sandy on drums and Jules on lead guitar. They all provide background vocals which can lead to some pretty sweet three and four-part harmonies, very reminiscent of the girl groups of the sixties. With their fine hosiery and predominantly black attire, they contrast their sweetness with some toughness, including some Ramone-ish bangs on Dee Dee and Jules. Their visuals complement their music very well.

My only disappointment from the night was the band omitted “Just A Creep” from their set. The song is so infectious with its handclaps contrasted by the snide lyrics I thought it would be included for sure. (Hey, I’ll get over it.) If the progress the Dum Dum Girls have made from their debut effort to their sophomore release is any indicator of the levels they’ll attain from album to album, I feel fortunate to have witnessed them on the small stage. Next time they come through town, I have a feeling it will be in a bigger venue.

Always Looking
Bhang Bhang, I’m A Burnout
I Will Be
Rest Of Our Lives
Bedroom Eyes
He Gets Me High
Hold Your Hand
Wasted Away
Jail La La
In My Head
Teardrops On My Pillow
It Only Takes One Night
Heartbeat (Take It Away)
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Encore: Coming Down

Leave a Reply