If you ever get the sinking feeling that rock no longer seems like a balancing act between the virtuosic and the destructive then make sure you check out Screaming Females next time they come to your city. They will restore your faith.
Hannahband kicked off the show playing courageously to a room slowly filling with denim and leather. The gritty, punk two piece’s energy and power
asking demanding enthusiasm from the room. Mere Women took up the second support slot and hurled their brand of post-punk shoegaze, which reminded me of a gothic B-52’s. Singer, Amy Wilson’s menacing delivery set the tone for the intensity that was about to overtake the dingy Oxford Art Factory Gallery.
Screaming Females unceremoniously took to the stage and then the explosion opening of ‘Leave It All Up To Me’ from their 2012 release Ugly reminded the now packed crowd that they were here to see three unrelenting musicians play the shit out of their instruments.
Singer and guitarist, Marissa Paternoster, has been included on numerous ‘top guitarist’ lists and it wasn’t hard to see why. Seamlessly holding down complex guitar grooves and shreds while wailing out vocal melodies is just another day at the office.
The first few songs were an absolute onslaught weaving seamlessly into each other. Screaming Females took no prisoners in making sure the crowd was well and truly settled in to rock. The interplay between the three instruments on stage is arranged in such a way that you expect to look up and see a five-piece.
You could tell from the movements and head nods from the crowd that everyone there was looking for an excuse to let loose and feed off the energy of the band. By midway through the set the crowd were jumping and head banging along with every drum hit and guitar riff.
The once placid audience of punk connoisseurs had now been reverted back to their younger days of all out moshes like they were at a rancid house party. The climax came at the end of the set with Paternoster shoving her guitar into the frenzied crowd so that they could abuse the instrument to provide the noise over the end of ‘Boyfriend’. Shortly after, Paternoster then forced her way up onto the mosh to be passed around while she screamed in the microphone. Eventually Paternoster ended up curled up in a ball on the floor beside the stage manically screaming to the feedback of her probably mangled guitar.
Any good rock show should have you asking ‘what the fuck just happened?’ at some point and you could see that look on everyone’s face exiting the venue. Mission accomplished.
We were lucky enough to get the trio in for two songs and a chat. Stay tuned for the full studio session soon.