Last week I took a quick break from the movies section to review Diploid Love, the new Brody Dalle (formerly of The Distillers and Spinnerette) record. It wasn’t an assignment, just one of those albums that came along that I happened to get really into so figured I’d share my enthusiasm.
Last night I caught Dalle’s show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. I was unsure what I’d be getting, the American punk stylings of The Distillers or the more melodic, slightly ethereal, aesthetic of her new record. The answer, it turned out, was a perfect blend of both. Opening with “Rat Race” and “Don’t Mess With Me,” it was clear that her voice was as strong as ever and that her new band featured capable musicians who could not only play the material, but elevate it to a deafeningly loud arena-polished level (often a rarity in punk music).
All was well and good for those first two numbers and then the band launched into “I Am a Revenant” from The Distillers’ Sing Sing Death House at which point the crowd, for lack of a better expression, went f*cking apesh*t. I’ve lived in LA for nine years and have gone to my fair share of shows and it’s usually industry types and heavily affected hipsters just standing there with their arms folded. While there was some of that here around the periphery, this was the first time I’ve seen an actual pit break out in years. Dalle and her band kept up the pace with Coral Fang’s “Die on a Rope” and successfully peppered in material from Diploid Love among their older hits throughout the evening.
The energy never flagged during the set. While fans naturally saved their most rapturous responses for the familiar older material, the new stuff went over incredibly well. The evening’s most powerful moment came during Diploid Love’s closer, “Parties For Prostitutes.” The lone slow number in a deafening set, it showcased Dalle’s voice as the loudest, most powerful instrument onstage. Her new material may be less propulsive, but it’s heads and tails more melodic with a wider palette of emotion. It was refreshing to see something like “Prostitutes” pulled off with both volume and nuance.
In punk rock fashion the show ended almost exactly an hour after it began, defiantly and without an encore (but with a confetti cannon blast). None was needed. Dalle got on, made her point and got off – adhering to one of the oldest showbiz axioms “leave them wanting more.”
Brody Dalle heads out on a North American tour with Queens of the Stone Age next month. Get there early. You can buy Diploid Love on iTunes. Thanks to Raymond Lew for the pic!