Girls Got Rhythm Fest night two at Amsterdam Bar and Hall, 5/11/13
Girls Got Rhythm Fest
Photo by Erik Hess
With Cherie Currie, Marilu and the Machetes, Sugar Stems, and Is/Is
Amsterdam Bar and Hall, St. Paul
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Cherie Currie's explosive and enigmatic headlining performance that closed day two of Girls Got Rhythm Fest late Saturday night won't be forgotten soon. As a whole, the entire evening brought forth some pretty outstanding presentation and vivacious personalities: it was quite simply a blast. But, again, following Currie's time on stage, it was difficult to leave St. Paul with any other part of the performance on the mind.
Is/Is however, gave us a run for our money as the first batter up. The Minneapolis trio's self-prescribed "witchgaze" is the type of moody, textured fuzz rock that's built to rule within the more compact crowds of noise venues like the Hexagon or the Turf Club. But somewhat surprisingly, the hall-like structure of Amsterdam's space ended up enhancing their sound. It's no secret that they're all very technically skilled musicians, the then sparsely filled venue just provided a fitting environment to really hone in on their individual playing, and with characteristic apathy and effortless cool, they gave a good reminder that they're still a group to watch.
Photos by Erik Hess
All the way from Italy, Marilu and the Machetes cranked up the sass with their fast-paced, playful interpretation of punk. The ringleader of it all, frontwoman Mariluisa Fagiani, took to the stage smiling and looking terrifically gaudy with magenta hair, enormous hoop "machete" earrings, a busty black-lace peplum top and a shiny, star-laden skirt. They powered through an energetic set that featured an especially spirited performance of "All My Friends are Girls," a single from her earlier band. Mariluisa is an incredibly fun performer to watch and through her intriguing (and awesome) Iggy Pop meets Fran Drescher aesthetic, the slightly growing audience even began to act on the urge to dance.
Sugar Stems veered the punk rock path slightly to more pop-centric realms. The Milwaukee foursome churned out a feisty blend of harmonic pop and bouncy guitars that served to further heighten spirits for what was to come.
Photo by Erik Hess
The moment that Cherie Currie's flaxen mane was visible, the collective audience released their inner fangirl and let her ride free. The initial applause never abated throughout the fiery (and appropriate) opener of Runaways classic "Queens of Noise." Come to think of it, the applause didn't really abate period. This woman hadn't played a show in years and her energy rivaled that of her 16-year-old self.