For most of the Screaming Female’s first of two shows at the Knitting Factory on February 28th, Marissa Paternoster and her guitar kept the sold out audience spellbound. She ran around, shredded, got on her knees for the crowd, and wailed her face off when needed. It was clear that this band, whose humble beginnings were finally outgrowing their DIY, New Jersey roots, and was acting like an arena act. Bassist King Mike and Jarrett Dougherty backed Paternoster emphatically, but all eyes were on the short brunette girl whose voice and guitar made her seem 10 feet tall. This night was a celebration of their triumphant sophomore album Rose Mountain, which had just been released 4 days prior.
Starting out their set with one of their many rockers from Rose Mountain, “Ripe” kicked things into gear. There were also stellar performances of “Empty Head,” “Wishing Well,” and “Criminal Image.” Each song followed a similar “Pixies Structure” of soft during the verse and loud during the chorus with Paternoster taking extended solo inbetween over punky rhythms through a salivating inducing Sunn 0))) amplifier. Her tremelo’d voice just barely pierced through the wall of sounds when things got loud, but had the whole crowd singing along. They played about 50-50 with new material and a bunch of tracks I vaguely recognize from 2012’s Ugly, which had more of a ska edge than Rose Mountain.
The highlight of the night for me was the best song on Rose Mountain, aptly named “Triumph,” which combined the alternative reinterpretation of classic rock influences into something that just blew all of the other songs out of the water. Paternoster’s guitar playing sounded like Billy Corgan in his heyday and the rest of the band jamming out to a funky bass beat beneath it. The solo was extended but not too extended before going back into ripping chorus. “Triumph” came at the end of the set, and it had everyone going nuts in the audience.
The rest of the night was a smattering of different punk influence. The Females were supported by three different bands, Priests, Tenement, and Vacation. Each had their own set of influences, with vacation and tenement choosing more classic punk sounds (The Clash, The Replacements), while Priests kept to a more arty direction. Decent openers, but they all paled in comparison to the stars of the night, The Screaming Females.
Article by: Steven Klett
Photos: Shayne Hanley