Words by Martin Halo

New York City — It was a perfectly crisp February evening as the skyline of New York City peaked through the steel beams of the Williamsburg Bridge. A quick loop on Broadway unveiled Music Hall of Williamsburg and the 2011 showcase for New Jersey based label, Don Giovanni Records.

Amongst all of the skin-tight jeans and hiding behind the non-prescription spectacles of hipster glory, descended a group of slick-laced loners seeking a more gritty musical release. The bill included Shellshag, Laura Stevenson and the Cans, and Screaming Females.


Packed along the back edge of a raised soundboard platform, with the glow of LED equalizers giving way into a large open floor, the house groove to the sloppy distortion of the Brooklyn based Shellshag. Filling the rafters and in grunge-duo form, Shag [drums] addressed the audience. “It’s wonderful to be back in New York,” she said, “we were in London this morning!”

But it would be silly to make believe that the focal point of the evening wasn’t a rock trio from New Brunswick, New Jersey, that along with the help of a Portland based publicity firm made the music industry, stop, listen and stare in amazement at 5 feet of psychedelic-punk glory.

After returning from a short West Coast string of dates, which included a performance on the Carson Daily show, the Screaming Females continued their support of Castle Talk [2010] in New York. Natives of Rutgers University and pioneers of the New Brunswick basement scene, Marissa Paternoster [vox / guitar], Jarrett Dougherty [drums] and King Mike [bass] have broken through the industry white noise with a DIY ethic rooted in the belief of pure unadulterated rock n’ roll. “Sheep” kicked off the set as the venue began to gel in head-bobbing unison. In a moment of pure release, the entire evening was on a crash course towards a full-throttled rock explosion. That was delivered in no short measure by the Screamales. The 2011 Don Giovanni showcase spanned over two nights in NYC, with the evening prior taking place at Death By Audio in Brooklyn.

“Fall Asleep,” “Lights Out,” “Laura and Marty” and “Wild,” juiced the crowd as kids threw themselves off stage and into a sea of supportive hands. With Jarrett Dougherty peeling the skins and Paternoster constructing her licks, bassist King Mike took the moment to make the most connection with the Brooklyn audience — grooving to tunes and singing along.

A string of college dates will await the Screamales before returning to the area in March. Be sure to check them at the Asbury Lanes on March 4th and an intimate visual art-based gig at Maxwell’s on March 30th. The night concluded just before 1 AM and the crowd piled out onto the street with a bow to the cap of Giovanni on the marquee.


TheWaster.com | Screamales