Team Dresch returned to NYC w/ Des Ark (pics, review, videos)
Team Dresch are well deserving of their legendary status in the queer scene. They first started playing and releasing music at a time when there were very few out and visibly/vocally queer people performing in music or otherwise. They went on to influence thousands of musicians who came after them, not only through their work in TD, but in other projects and with the record labels they were involved with running, perhaps the most prominent being Donna Dresch's Chainsaw label that released Sleater-Kinney's first 2 albums in the mid '90s.
They recently released their first two songs in 19 years, "Your Hands My Pockets" and "Basket," and then began an East Coast tour which hit NYC's Le Poisson Rouge last night (10/2). Teenage Halloween, flaming queer pop from NJ, opened the night with an energetic set of fun crunchy punk tunes. Up next was Team Dresch's tourmate Des Ark, who is back after a three-year hiatus and played a set filled with intricate guitar work and dynamics that ranged from mellow and introspective one moment to bombastic and frantic the next, seemingly with no warning. Both bands won the audience over and got everyone well warmed up by time Team Dresch took the stage, the air filled with excitement.
It was obvious from first song to last how much Team Dresch meant and still means to the fans who came out- some who were old enough to have seen them in their '90s heyday, some who saw them during their first reunion shows in 2006/07, and some who were too young and were presumably seeing the band for the very first time. All four members delivered blistering performances and were totally locked in with each other as if no time at all had passed since they were regularly playing and touring. Singers Jody Bleyle and Kaia Wilson effortlessly traded back and forth on vocals, backing each other up when not taking lead. It seemed like not one single person wasn't singing back every word for the entire set- mostly comprised of classics from their records Personal Best (1995) and Captain My Captain (1996), along with their two new songs. At the end of the set, Donna said "this song is for everyone, including myself," before they started playing "Remember Who You Are" to an audience that was all at once rapt yet rowdy, emotional and excited. The band traded fun jokes and anecdotes with each other and the audience throughout the set to make it really feel like a family vibe not just on stage but throughout the room.
Melissa York, who was the second drummer of the band and who played on Captain My Captain, is joining Team Dresch for these East Coast dates (the earlier summer West Coast dates featured original TD drummer Marcéo Martinez behind the kit). Known for being an extremely hard hitter in the band's heyday, she did not disappoint, going so hard throughout the set that her drums drifted a few feet up during the course of the set, getting closer and closer to the rest of the band.
Pictures of the LPR show are in the gallery above. Some videos below...
photos by Kate Hoos