Piercing screams filled The Knitting Factory on Saturday night. No one was injured and no one was in danger – although many were drunk and quite possibly high. In fact, the only screams that night came from the mouth of the petite, raven-haired guitarist and lead singer of the Screaming Females, Marissa Paternoster.
Holding a guitar almost the same size as her small frame, Paternoster silently stepped up to the microphone. Showing little emotion, she promptly let out an ear-splitting shriek, which her two bandmates took as the cue to begin playing. What took place after this wild prelude was a mixture of loud drumming, mosh-pitting, and guitar-shredding so intense, Paternoster’s dress began to rip at the seams.
The first opener for the Screaming Females was Mal Blum, a pop-rock trio from New York who left the crowd with this message: “Fuck Robert Frost. He’s overrated.” Next was Pujol, a rock band with a song about everything from “psychic pain” to getting stuck in any kind of loop.
By the time the Screaming Females took the stage, the crowd was already cheering in anticipation. By the middle of the set, a mosh pit was percolating while fans circulated spilt beer, sweat, and weed. Much took place off of the stage, but the real action happened on stage.
Engaging the crowd with little more than the occasional terse introduction of “This is a song,” Paternoster wowed with her boldness and spunk on the guitar. She dropped to her knees, stomped around, jumped on the amplifier, and even balanced on the edge of the stage. During the very last song, Paternoster kneeled on the ground, bowed her head in solemnity, laid down, and played her heart out to the heavens. She didn’t crack a smile the whole night, not even when the crowd insisted the band play one more song.
And yet, they did play one more song. Paternoster leaned back onto a bed of rabid fan’s hands, numbing her guitar strings for all of eternity. She and her bandmates left the stage shortly thereafter, silent as they had come.
Article by: Alexa Tietjen
Photos by: Shayne Hanley
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