Thanks to the wonderfully awesome Shauna from O’Donnell Media Group, The Maestro trekked out to One Centre Square in Easton, PA with concert buddy Bobby to take in the live magic of DOLL SKIN. It wasn’t too long of a trip, the venue was really nice and I am already planning to return for a gig in September. Anyway, after a super-fun interview with bassist Nicole Rich and drummer Meghan Herring in the band’s RV it was time to explore the club, then sit back, enjoy a beer and watch the show.
The first band up was New York City’s own BRAND OF JULEZ. I’d heard the name but never a single note until this night. Lemme tell you something, these guys fucking ROCK! Great stage presence, good hooks, and a guitar crunch that combines the best of the old days with the here and now. Also, the drummer Chris Nichols is a big-time RUSH fan, and he even snuck a snippet of “The Rhythm Method” into a song. That caught my attention immediately, and we actually joked about it afterwards. I was very impressed with them, and if they hit anywhere near Philly again, I’ll be there. They also impressed me enough that I bought a copy of their debut album Forward after the show, which they happily signed. Get your merch HERE!
Next up was NEXT TO NONE. While they are all good musicians, they really weren’t my cup of tea. It felt more like four guys doing four separate things within each song, instead of the controlled chaos that prog rock usually is. They clearly had a big following in the area though, as the room was full of friends and family members. But for me, there weren’t any discernible hooks, or anything that stood out. It was just one big cacophony to me. But hey, people dig what they dig, and these guys are on album number two, so they must be doing something right.
DOLL SKIN hit the stage promptly at 8 p.m. and proceeded to rock balls for a nine-song 40-minute set. Lead singer Sydney Dolezal started things off whispering into her mic, “Pssst…hey guys. Come closer. I have to tell you a secret.” She did this a few more times until everyone moved closer to the front, then she yelled, “WE’RE DOLL SKIN FROM PHOENIX, ARIZOOOONA!!” and they tore into “Road Killa” followed by “Daughter” from newest release Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
Bouncy hit “Shut Up (You Miss Me)” soon followed and everybody was a-jumpin’ (Not me. Bad knees, you know). I love that song and live it’s even more fun. In Your Face (Again) made its first appearance with “Let’s Be Honest” and, to be honest (see what I did there?) the live version smokes the studio one. It was back to the new disc for “Persephone”, one of the more ferocious tunes in the group’s arsenal, guitarist Alex Snowden riffing away, Herring pounding the beat, and Rich and Dolezal running around like lunatics.
“Boy Band” is one of my favorites and it was one of the night’s best. Man, does Sydney have a big voice! The rest of the girls on back-ups do a great job, too. You can definitely see and feel the excitement when they do this one, though, which is just one of many reasons it was a highlight. Plus, Snowden’s solo was pretty massive. Back to the previous EP we went for “Family of Strangers” which is two minutes of some serious punk aggression, then out came a cover of FUGAZI’S “Waiting Room.” That’s a tune I haven’t heard in years, and the ladies killed it!
Alas, all good things must come to an end and soon the band was tearing into their last song “Puncha Nazi,” another absolute ripper. I swear if you bottled the collective energy of these four women you could power a small country for weeks. After the gig the band hung with fans at the merch table, took pictures, and as I said before, signed a CD for Mini-Amps. All told it was an excellent night. I got to rock out with DOLL SKIN and have fun interviewing them, and I made a new band discovery in BRAND OF JULEZ. If you haven’t been to a DOLL SKIN show yet, you are surely missing out, and with about 15 more left on this run I suggest you remedy that, PRONTO! HERE’S how!
LIVE IMAGES: ERICA VINCENT PHOTOS & THE MAESTRO
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO