Words by Audra Tracy | Photo via Girlie Action

Greetings from Belmar, New Jersey. If you’re a fan of live music, there aren’t a lot of reasons to come here. While neighboring shore town Asbury Park is known for its bustling arts scene, Belmar is usually just a place you go to get drunk in the summer. But on Friday, you got the best of both worlds when punk trio Screaming Females let loose at the seaside stomping ground, Paul’s Tavern.

Formed in the basements of New Brunswick in 2005, the trio has already won over audiences nationwide with their scorching live shows. Constant gigging has perfected their razor-sharp sound over the years, garnering attention from tough critics at NPR, SPIN, and The Village Voice. But amid their success, Screaming Females still keep the spirit of New Jersey’s DIY scene alive – like tonight, when they showed up in their home state to play a dive bar.

Led by guitarist/vocalist and supreme female Marissa Paternoster, the band came armed and ready to blow Belmar away. Paternoster, as always, was a true rock star on-stage: snarling, spitting, and shredding her way through the night’s setlist like a seasoned pro. It’s not every day you see a woman play guitar with such venom, and to experience it live is pretty fucking empowering.

Throughout the night, drummer Jarrett Dougherty and bassist King Mike seemed to be locked-in on a secret musical plane with Paternoster, and together they built a circle of glorious, grungy noise. The trio just oozed chemistry, especially on show highlights like “Empty Head”, “Bell”, and “Rose Mountain”.

Sure, it was a good show. But what makes Screaming Females truly great is their fearlessness as artists to do their own thing, on their own terms. They aren’t struggling to find their voice, or to define their style, or to fit into any pre-set music industry mold. Yes, they’re completely comfortable in their own weird little world: they live it, breathe it, and play it loud.


TheWaster.com | New Jersey