Concert Reviews
The hottest gigs straight from the venue to your couch

Live Review: Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls at Saint Paul’s Turf Club (10/12)

on October 13, 2011, 4:01pm

Now, I like members of the male sex, but Dum Dum Girls really did it for me last night at the Turf Club in Saint Paul. First of all, three-quarters of the band members were wearing some variation on fishnets; second, they wore studded leather straps. Too bad frontwoman Dee Dee Penny, nee Kristen Gundred (no wonder she chose a stage name) is married to the lead singer of opener Crocodiles, Brandon Welchez. So married, in fact, that she left her spot next to me in the audience—yes, I totally had a “holy shit, that’s Dee Dee” moment—to duet with him on Crocodiles’ “I Wanna Kill” and dedicated her own band’s “In My Head” to him. Both bands performed electric sets that got normally staid Minnesotans not only sort of dancing, but moshing. And inspired me to steal my first set list.

I had to shield my critical eye from first opener Colleen Green, because otherwise it would have been too easy to overlook the fact that she deserves praise for sharing the stage with Dum Dum Girls in the first place. That said, I also have to say that it felt like amateur hour: Green wore sunglasses and chewed gum the whole time, and didn’t exactly sound convincing when she breathed expressionlessly, “Oh God, I really love my boyfriend.” Again, I give her props for being able to play the guitar and accompany herself on the drum machine, but she hasn’t earned the chops to act too cool for school just yet.

dum5 Live Review: Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls at Saint Pauls Turf Club (10/12)

Crocodiles was a different story. Even though the vocals were drowned out perhaps more than intended, Welchez and guitarist Charles Rowell led a skuzzy, tightly vibrating set that quickly transitioned between songs from Sleep Forever (the alternating ominous and anthemic “Hearts of Love”) and Summer of Hate (“Neon Jesus”). All while dressed like Buddy Holly in blazers and jeans approximately the width of my forearm. Despite this onslaught of coolness, each of the band members threw themselves into playing quite unlike Green; especially Welchez, whose dancing became even more endearingly spastic once he sang without his guitar.

No such surprises with Dum Dum Girls, whose set list appeared onstage before they did. The sound engineers also preceded the band’s arrival with full glasses of Jameson, positioned at each band member’s station. When Dum Dum Girls stalked onstage, the girls launched directly into “Always Looking”, Dee Dee backing away from the microphone to move her head, snakelike, from side to side while looking challengingly—or seductively—at the audience. There was almost no stage banter, but Dee Dee did thank the audience repeatedly and mentioned that this was her first time back in Saint Paul in 13 years. Of course, Dum Dum Girls saved their incendiary cover of The Smiths’ “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” for last, since it’s not only one of their best songs, it’s almost better than the original. The only two songs I really wanted Dum Dum Girls to play were that one, which I knew they would, and “Coming Down”, which the band nailed as an encore. Dee Dee’s sustained wailing on that song, along with the slow tempo, gave me goose bumps and a lump in my throat. It’ll be a while before I can come down from that.

Dum Dum Girls’ Set List:
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
Coming Down

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