I revisited Eagle Rock for another FYF/ERMF collaboration, in which they presented Daylong Valleys of the Nile, Dom, and Thee Oh Sees. Daylong kicked it off with an audience seeming mostly unfamiliar, with this Lavender Diamond side project. They’re heavily new wave, and their love for music is both audible and visible when they’re performing. They gave us a genuine 1980s sound, and couldn’t have portrayed the beginning of punk/new wave sounds 30 years later better. They said “Thank you, it’s nice to see some old friends tonight,” and quickly packed up so that DOM could begin their set. In between bands, I enjoyed the sounds of Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love,” and Polaris’ “Waiting for October” while each band quickly got things going instead of making us wait around. I believe it might have been because of how close in proximity the Center for the Arts is to residential areas, but it was still refreshing.
I made my way to the very front for Dom, as they said “We’re Dom, we’re from western Massachusetts. This one’s called “Things Change.’” Their music is what I’d classify as girl garage music. It’s sort of grungy and alternative, but in the end it has the sweet vocals and fun lyrics that attract girls. I don’t really consider myself a girl-girl, but I understand why girls enjoy this group’s energetic stage presence and witty songs. “Living in America” had electro backtracking, and seemed to be a crowd-pleaser that pumped everyone up. The biggest fans in the front called out for “Bochica” and the band played it happily. This song embodies a good time montage in a teen movie, and the crowd was feeling it shamelessly. Dom sounded very loud and clear, and had a lot of movement. The set finished after an OK from Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer for a few more songs than originally planned, with the announcement, “Next up, Thee Oh Sees, they fuckin’ rule.”
I was in my good picture taking/dancing spot, overjoyed to see Thee Oh Sees, and it wasn’t long before my joy went away because some guy that presumably was on every type of drug and drank every type of alcohol was behind me. He stood with his back to me, kept pushing me and elbowing me while loudly talking to his friends, and even continuously pushed me out of the way to touch Brigid Dawson’s keyboard. I now couldn’t wait any longer for Thee Oh Sees to play, so I could 1)go crazy over the immense talent, and 2)punch this guy in the face and blame it on moshing. As soon as Thee Oh Sees began to play, the crowd came to life and trampled each other vehemently. So, I elbowed the shit out of that guy, shook the spilled beer off of me, and went to the makeshift backstage area to take pictures and not die. The band played the addictive “I was Denied,” which starts out very old school then modernizes on the chorus as it gets louder and progressively badass. Everyone freaked the fuck out when they played hit song “Meat Step Lively,” which reminds me of The Stooges type garage punk. The crowd surfers caught waves during “Crushed Grass” and of course “Tidal Wave,” two songs that exemplify a surf punk sound that is different from the current. Thee Oh Sees gives an original surf/garage/punk that definitely has its influences, but the band is mostly set apart from the rest. “Warm Slime” brings out each of the musicians’ talents; powerful fast drumming, tight swift bass, beautiful loud vocals from Brigid, and John defining punk rock with his skillful vocals and ear-splitting guitar that rests just below his neck. This was their last show after 31 in a row, and now they’re going home to San Francisco for some much needed rest.
—Alyssa Holland (words + photo)