If there were any show billed as a boys and girl’s night out, it would have been Dum Dum Girls with Crocodiles last Tuesday October 4 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. The audience was pretty mixed with guys and gals, each eager to hear the fuzzy distortion and hazy pop of the two main acts.
It was a rainy night, but no one let what was going on outside affect their dreamy moods inside. Crocodiles took the stage after Colleen Green, much larger than original duo of Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell, by adding a drummer, bassist and keyboard players. A set of mainly new tunes, Welchez and Rowell looked at home on stage, alternating pedals, distortion and keeping a constant delay on everything minus the perfect-beat of their drummer and bassist.
The energy level was somewhere between an art show and a show in your friend’s garage. Welchez’s wife and Dum Dum Girls frontswoman Dee Dee Penny joined them onstage for vocal back-up on one of their first singles, “I Wanna Kill Tonight,” from their debut album Summer of Hate. This definitely injected some adrenaline into the crowd, and some people even danced (kinda). The band had great chemistry and played straight through their set, no chit-chat, just music.
The Dum Dum Girls came on with definite stage presence. Rockin’ all black outfits — with lace stockings and blouses, black bras, high-waisted shorts and boots — each member kept the audience (girls and boys) captivated. They played through hits from their first album, I Will Be, as well as new tunes from the freshly released Only In Dreams. Very reminiscent of Best Coast, the ladies proved they were more than pretty faces, keeping a perfect beat and letting their music match equal to their hazy vocals. However, one got the feeling Penny’s vocals were much stronger than showcased in the mix.
The set was pretty long, filled with well-written pop songs, mixed up with some surf punk and even a Smith’s cover (“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”’). The highlight of the evening came from Penny’s amazing vocals on “Coming Down,” a beautiful ballad filled with luscious reverb, a pillow for Penny to really let her voice stretch out. Clocking in well past six minutes, it really kept the audience on the edge of their seat, until Penny hit (twice!) a note that was just at her reach. That note proved to be the climax of the song, with everyone captivated and in awe.
This show proved that the Dum Dum Girls know how to excel at the pop music game. They got the look, talent and no-nonsense live set that only means one thing: get out of their way.