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Dum Dum Girls played Mercury Lounge and ‘Letterman’ (pics, setlist & video)

photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis

Dum Dum Girls @ Mercury Lounge, 1/30/2014
Dum Dum Girls

“This has been a chaotic show,” Dee Dee confessed near the end of Dum Dum Girls‘ set at Mercury Lounge last night (1/30). “Which fits the chaotic nature of this album.” The band had taped The Late Show with David Letterman earlier in the day (and had flown in from LA right before that), and didn’t get a soundcheck. So there was more fiddling with gear and mike checks and some visible nerves, but close your eyes and Dum Dum Girls sounded confident and clear.

This was the record release show for DDG’s third album, Too True, which came out this week on Sub Pop. It’s their biggest sounding record yet and the band drafted a third guitarist — the Girls’ first “boy” since the ad-hoc version of the band at the Woodist/Captured Tracks fest — to help fill out the sound. Songs such as the dreamlike “Lost Boys and Girls Club” really benefit from this, much heavier and louder than the recorded version. And on tracks like new LP standout “In the Wake of You” and “Lord Knows” (from their End of Daze EP) the new guy allowed Dee Dee to be more of a frontperson.

My only real complaint with last night’s show was, with three albums and a couple EPs under their belt, Dum Dum Girls are now at the point where you may not get to hear all the songs you wanted. “I Will Be” was on the written setlist but I don’t recall them playing it, and I would have really liked to have heard Too True‘s closing track, “Trouble is My Name.” But we did get their cover of Pale Saints’ “Sight of You” which has gotten bigger and louder since the last time they swung through town. Luckily, Dum Dum Girls will be back when their tour with Blouse hits NYC for two shows in March (tickets are still available). Pictures from Mercury Lounge, as well as setlist and their “Rimbaud Eyes” performance on Letterman, are in this post.

The other two bands on the bill last night were good too. Sapphire Mansions, the newish project from onetime Golden Triangle member Jay Hough, have come along since the last time I saw them. The band, named after a Felt song and definitely cribbing from that ’80s era of UK indiepop, now includes Love Is All’s James Ausfahrt on bass and My Teenage Stride’s Jed Smith on drums, and have started to go beyond their early touchstones. (Their debut LP is pretty good.) Matt Yu filled out the band’s sound alternating between arpeggiated guitar parts and combo organ, and The Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson played trumpet on a couple songs too. I thought they sounded great.

I hadn’t seen openers The New Lines since they played with Blouse at 285 Kent a couple years ago. That was not their best night, but I’m pleased to say I thought they were pretty good last night. Theirs is not an easy sound to pull off live — fragile, baroque/kraut psych not unlike Broadcast or The United States of America — but with good sound and a solid rhythm section, The New Lines found their groove. If you haven’t checked out last year’s Fall in Line, you can stream a couple tracks here. And they play Freddy’s Bar in Park Slope tonight (1/31).

More pics of all three bands at Mercury Lounge, plus video of DDGs on Letterman, below…


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Dum Dum Girls – “Rimbaud Eyes” on The Late Show with David Letterman

SETLIST: Dum Dum Girls @ Mercury Lounge 1/30/2014
Bedroom Eyes
I Got Nothing
In the Wake of You
He Gets Me High
Are You Okay?
Under These Hands
I Will Be
Only Takes One
Rest of Our Lives
Rimbaud Eyes
Seasons in Hell
Sight of You
Lord knows

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