Sweat, beer and spit lined very surface of the First Unitarian Church Friday night for Screaming Female’s Album Release show. Rose Mountain, the band’s 6th LP, is a melodic turn for the New Brunswick heavies, which boated well with the crowd that was clawing and dragging their way to the front, all at once, for the perfect stage dive during the electric set Screaming Female put on for their album release show.
Even though Screaming Females were obviously the focus of the show, there is a lot to be said about the rest of the bands on the bill, all of whom are Don Giovanni Records cohorts.
First up was Vacation, a group of seemingly young men from Cincinnati. While they some of their songs reek of pubescent angst, “Like Snow” for example, there is also a resounding cognizance of early punk sensibility. “Straight to My Head”, the second to last song in their set, is the example to go by for their ingrained, New York Dolls/Ramones feel.
Outfitted in one of the raddest, faux leather, mom blazers to ever surface on the face of the earth, Amos of Tenement basked in the metaphorical spotlight. You simply can’t take your eyes off of him as he slides, jumps and gyrates all over the stage, never missing a strum or note. The threesome from Wisconsin deliver a fast-paced brand of post surf punk that is like a slap in the face live, leaving you wanting more. That isn’t saying they aren’t capable of range, like the more mellow track “Cage That Keeps You In”, played towards the end of their set.
Priests proved to be the most explosive of the openers. To put it simply, foursome from D.C. blew the crowd away. A lot of attention has been surrounding the band since opening for Ex Hex, allowing the band to thankfully emerge from the clutches of D.C. with a lot more gusto. Katie Alice Glass, sporting a tailored yellow and white 50s picnic dress and four inch heels, theatrically screeches and belts her way through conversational and often political tracks like “Doctor” and “Powertrip”, a song about Donald Trump. It’s not just another set, a Priests performance a true show across the board.
Rose Mountain isn’t a total separation to the ferocity of Screaming Females earlier LPs. The album has all of the energy and tenacity fans and critics have come to expect from the threesome, however, more focus is paid to the relationship between Marissa Paternoster’s earth-shaking vocals and the guitar/bass melodies, in addition to some back up vocals as heard on the title track “Rose Mountain”.
“Empty Head” and “Ripe” were clear crowd favorites as far as tracks off Rose Mountain are concerned. Right smack dab in the middle, the band unleashed “Treacher Collins”, a track off the 2009 Power Move LP, the crowd lost it and Screaming Females were there to match their intensity by thrashing wildly around the stage.
Screaming Females weaved several tracks from earlier albums with Rose Mountain, track after track, it felt like the threesome was reading the crowds mind and fulfilling their unspoken expectations. The well curated setlist included more melodious and slower tracks like “Broken Neck” off Rose Mountain and “A New Kid” off 2010 Castle Talk, a track that turned into a loud, shredding jam fest that Screaming Females visibly enjoyed and allowed them to (rightfully) show off.
A few of the dizzier fans in the front row began to wave their arms in worship, yelling “we are not worthy” as Screaming Females set began to wind down. Considering the tight time constraints First Unitarian operates under, it was a stroke of luck that the threesome had enough time for one more song. Screaming Females choose “I Don’t Mind It” off 2010’s Castle Talk, wisely. Screaming Females have clearly hit a stride.