Hot nights on the Westside- the summer shows are hitting the stage, kicking off this Memorial Day weekend. Mahall’s hosted one hell of a stacked line-up this past Friday with The Village Bicycle, Aye Nako, All Dogs, and Screaming Females all delivering machine gun fire sets.
Somewhere at the intersection between early pink Floyd and Japanese speed rock band, Melt Banana, resides Cleveland’s own, Village Bicycle, who started things off Friday night. I was immediately won over with their polished set that was at times both breakneck and beautiful in arrangement. There was a marked intelligence to their set’s compositions that did not see the band fall into the obscurity of their own genre by blending in elements of psychedelia, riot grrl, pop and thrash. Village Bicycle is definitely a local band to check out before they take off.
Aye Nako held the fort down next and gave up no ground in the transition. With little reprieve between bands, the Brooklyn quartet got some real action moving on the floor as they burned through a setlist that, at times, bared its roots in alterna-ancestors, Silverchair (circa Frogstomp). A fair share of credit is due to All Dogs who took the stage afterward. The third band out of four on a hot and muggy night in a small box with no ventilation and the smell of sweat only redoubling, All Dogs could have just as easily lost the crowd that had spent much of their energy on the fiery opening acts. Concerns be damned, they proved their mettle with an engaging set that rode the wave of energy that Village Bicycle and Aye Neko built up and dutifully kept spirits crackling for Screaming Females to take the stage next.
Coming off the release of their latest album, Rose Mountain, Screaming Females delivered a blistering set that never once came up for air. The crowd was treated to a battery of their newer tunes running strong alongside classics (and personal favorites) from 2011’s Ugly and early. Bobbing up and down as she locked into a trance-like rhythm, lead singer and guitarist, Marissa Paternoster, peeled off needling solos to the raucous ovation from the small but adoring crowd. It really is something to see Paternoster take the stage as a cross between the Morton salt girl and Wednesday Addams only to play larger than life licks that put rock legends twice her frame and twice her fame to shame.
There was a genuine sense of authenticity to the entire night’s acts. There were no pretentious art-school conceptual motifs or cumbersome stage play to hide behind. This was an American rock show in the truest sense of the term, pure and simple, and anyone on the corner of Madison and Clarence was all the better for it. If this is how we kick summer off, then bring it on!