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By Lauren Wise
Teen Queens: Palo Alto, California's teen-girl sensations the Donnas have been making a sizable splash with their cross-pollination of the Runaways and Ramones. Following on the heels of 1998's American Teenage Rock & Roll Machine, the group is in similarly fine form on their latest Lookout Records release, Get Skintight. With songs like "Get You Alone," "Hyperactive" and "Hook It Up," the band continues its penchant for crafting the kind of hormone-drenched songs of teen rebellion that nobody tries, or dares, to make anymore.
The Donnas' performance this past Saturday at Boston's proved that their growing reputation is well-deserved. The group played a tight, energetic, if somewhat short set that left an enthusiastic and eclectic throng of fans wanting more. In fact, the show was so crowded it was almost impossible to see the band at all unless you were standing on top of an outdoor perch literally positioned right behind the stage. The crowd, which included aging rock vets, hip indie scenesters and a bevy of local musicians, wasn't disappointed as they were able to glimpse the girls in all their punkish postadolescent glory.
In 1996 and barely out of high school, the group (which features four different girls named Donna) began to draw attention with a string of singles and an eponymously titled full-length release on Super Teem Records. Skintight (produced by Steve and Jeff McDonald of Redd Kross) furthers the group's '70s pop-punk sound by adding a heavier guitar crunch. Admittedly there was more than a little perverse pleasure in watching these young girls mine the crotch-rock aesthetic of arena metal--minus the annoying bombast. Unfortunately, the group's all-too-brief set didn't include their wickedly cheeky cover of Motley Crue's "Too Fast for Love"--a track featured on Skintight.
CBGB Cool: From the London '77 era artwork of their album cover to their rigidly stylized appearance, the Lower East Side Stitches are a kind of punk tribute band playing original songs. It's hard to call their material imaginative--reverent is probably the best way to describe the group's faithful Pistol pastiches and Clash-inspired rantings.
Produced by former Ramones associate Daniel Rey, their latest album Staja98L.E.S. (and their first for the BMG-distributed Ng Records) has all the right sonic touches. Full of blaring guitars and surprisingly hummable melodies, the album is always aggressive, often fun, but rarely unique. Although they hold their punk forefathers in high regard, the band is respectful of little else. With songs like "Parasite," "Disgusted," and "Down the Drain," they specialize in anthemic punk diatribes detailing despondency, boredom and general snottiness.
On "N.Y.C. Is Dead," the group laments the "Giulianization" of the city's once slum-filled culture ("Can't drink in the street/Or even take a leak"). The band will attempt to transform the Nile Theater into a decadent wasteland along with T.S.O.L., the U.K. Subs, D.O.A., Murphy's Law and others as part of the Social Chaos tour. The tour will make a stop at the Nile on Friday, July 23. The all-day show starts at 2 p.m., with tickets priced at $18.
Celebration Time: Local funk collective Dislocated Styles will be celebrating the release of their first full-length CD, Elevator Music, with a special all-ages performance and party at Boston's this Friday, July 16.
The show is being presented by the Jim Beam Backroom and Triple J. Worldwide and also will feature California bands Papa Roach, Even Rude, and Alien Ant Farm. Colorado's Sucker and local favorites Warsaw are slated to appear on the bill as well. The Edge's (106.3 FM) Michael Beck will host the evening's festivities. Dislocated Styles' debut EP, Spankin' the Funky, was released in 1997. Tickets for the event can be purchased the day of the show for $8.
A similarly celebratory mood will be in effect at the Rhythm Room on Sunday, July 18, as the Phoenix Blues Society marks its 10th anniversary. The group, which has been instrumental in preserving and promoting the local blues scene, is throwing an all-day concert and barbecue for the occasion. Music will be provided by a host of Valley vets including Sistah Blue, Chuck Hall, Hans Olson, and Chico Chism. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m., with music scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Cover is $5.
Contact Bob Mehr at his online address: firstname.lastname@example.org