Screaming Females @ The Lexington
Screaming Females are a band who merit a lot of exclamation marks. In fact, they punctuate their music and their stage presence with them. Marissa Paternoster flips from sunny, punk vocals to L7-esque dirty-throated roaring – and back again – without warning. The production on Screaming Females records, including 2011’s re-release of Baby Teeth, is very self-consciously the sound of a 90s basement-band, recorded through a damp-proofed concrete wall. The deliberately under-produced rawness that works so well for them on record translates into a surprisingly rambunctious fat and round sound tonight.
This band ire firmly rooted in the basement-band image, from Marissa and bassist King Mike’s haircuts, to the way that their eyes roll back in their heads as they spray out their bouncing chunks of rock. It’s clear from the shapes they pull onstage that they probably have the entire encyclopaedia of rock tattooed to the back of their eyelids.
Working through a Donnas-style lexicon of how to mix fun with rock, Screaming Females are playful in their use of contrasts. They seem to revel in finding the rough in the smooth: moments of whimsy are interspersed with slabs of hard-edged rhythms. They overlap noodle-y riffs on top of traditional plates of pop-punk in songs like ‘I Don’t Mind It’. Deceptively diminutive, Marissa’s brawls-out approach to her music is refreshing. She has the otherwise somewhat languid audience fist-pumping the air and hollering for more.
“This show’s really awesome,” says Marissa to the crowd, who clearly agree and are in uproar by the end of the set. A thumb’s up sign from Marissa brings back the rest of the band for a final rock-out. Riffs fly like fists, making the perfect exclamation mark ending to the night.
Photography by Tina Sheikh for the girls are.