Published Feb 27, 2011Take away the seams and Victor Frankenstein's monster becomes exponentially more attractive. But when it comes to pastiche, the ill-fated scientist had nothing on Dum Dum Girls' mastermind, Dee Dee. A championship-calibre alchemist, her band's debut, I Will Be, transformed a huge slate of influences -- Brit Invasion, Paisley Underground, garage, new wave, 1960s pop and so on -- into sonic gold. Delivered live, the results were even more compelling.
Kicking things off with a mesmeric take on the Rolling Stones' "Play with Fire," the California foursome dolled out echo-laden, four-girl choral harmonies and some early seriousness. Things loosened up for a Josie Cotton-evoking version of "Catholicked" and a blistering "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout." And then a bottle of Jack came out.
Whiskey in hand, the combo stretched their legs with bittersweet throbber "Take Care of My Baby" and a scorching "Jail La La." Throughout, drummer Sandy Vu hammered hard, adding gravitas to straight-ahead guitar rock moments.
With an occasional reliance on four-chord progressions and the word "baby" -- Dee Dee must have the record for the most per capita "baby's" in songwriting history -- the quartet's earnestness, well-dressed allusions and general swagger proved invaluable.
That bluster came to the fore for a closing rendition of the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out." Uptempo, angst-y and slightly ramshackle, the fantastic re-imagining snarled in all the right places while being held together by Jules Medeiros's impressive Johnny Marr impression. Incidentally, it's particularly remarkable that a show beginning with Mick and Keith and concluding with Marr and Morrissey flowed so, um, seamlessly.