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Concert Wed Apr 02 2014
I saw Dum Dum Girls open for Vampire Weekend a few years ago at Aragon. They were right on the heels of their first album I Will Be and the played well, their energy filling the venue quite well. Since then, members have come and gone and their music has matured. Their stage presence has also become more pronounced and fluid. It's no wonder that they, along with Radar Eyes and Blouse, quickly sold out the Empty Bottle.
The night at Empty Bottle started out with a great early crowd. It's a rare sight, seeing so many people come early to concert. They were lucky that the consistently entertaining Radar Eyes opened the show. The local Chicago rockers doled out their fuzz rock by the bucket. Anthony Cozzi sings over wonderful guitar noise than one could listen to for hours. Nithin Kalvakota, bassist for Marnie Stern, took over drumming duties for Radar Eyes after Shelley Zawadzki left the band and it was a great choice.There's a lot to like about Radar Eyes as they barreled through their quick, but satisfying set.
Blouse came up next. They played against projected images of static and swirling colors, matching the band's sound to a tee. Charlie Hiton's voice has a near meditative quality to it during "They Always Fly Away." Paul Roper's incredible impressive drumming was punctuated with his stoic demeanor hidden beneath his circular sunglasses. Much like all the bands tonight, Blouse focused entirely on their music taking only a few moments to thank the very hyped crowd. When they walked off stage, cheers for more rumbled through the crowd. They could have played the rest of the night and I'm sure they crowd would want more.
Dum Dum Girls slowly came to the stage as "Bound to Fall in Love" by the Ponderosa Twins Plus One blasted through the speakers. It created this dreamy tone to the band which was compounded by small bouquets of illuminated flowers wrapped around their mic stands and the metal heart lined with bright blue lights that towered at the back of the stage. Dum Dum Girls were all dressed entirely in black, with Dee Dee standing in the forefront with her skin tight latex dress. You couldn't help but feel her determined attitude as Dee Dee broke into "Bedroom Eyes." Her voice has a weight to it that settles on the crowd in no time.
The set spanned Dum Dum Girls' entire catalog, hitting extravagant highs with "I Will Be" and "Are You Okay." Over the years, Dum Dum Girls may have traded their raw lo-fi garage pop for a slightly more polished version, but they still have that original intensity to them on stage. It has been honed into this formidable rock presence across all members, especially with Sandy as she thrashed widely at the drums while Dee Dee exuded a confidence infused with unbelievable doses of sexuality. It's nearly impossible not to fall for her as she sings "He Gets Me High" and quickly sprinkles soft thank yous throughout the night. Without a doubt the highlight of the set was the Pale Saints cover "Sight of You." Everyone in the band went for it, taking the shoegaze song to a different level and really impressing the devoted sold out crowd at Empty Bottle. "Coming Down" appropriately finished off the night, sending the crowd away with its lofty sound as tender goodbye.