The Hype: For those still pissed about the shutting down of the Ninth Annual Grrl Fair scheduled for March 6 (click for more info), last night's showcase at Proof Bar felt like a well-intentioned consolation prize. A good chunk of local female rockers (and their male band mates) scheduled to play the defunct outdoor event were thrashing in full force inside the dim, Santa Ana haunt. Bands from around the way included Teen Rex and Street Spirit, accompanied by Mermaid and LA band Stars at Night. And apparently a local music fan named Bonnie was holding a mask-themed birthday party. If that doesn't earn this event some "hype" points, then what else will?
The Show: The rambunctious, distorted sounds of Street Spirit echoed beyond Proof Bar's thick, white front door as bar hoppers and cigarette smokers shuffled in and out in between their 30-plus minutes on stage. Surrounded by people who came out to the bar's live Sunday showcase--dubbed the Wreck Hall--the Santa Ana five-piece (two-fifths female) wailed on their instruments for a semi-enthusiastic crowd.
Straight-laced modern rock drum beats were the foundation for the band's infectious, angst-ridden rock on titles like "Assault" and "Compass." Even the song "My Marie"--pregnant with dreary, post-punk poetry--added some pep to the party as passersby paused momentarily near the stage to bang their heads on their way to the bar, or the bathroom.
Backed by an electric disco ball emitting neon rays and an over-active fog machine, the band's show captured the attention of fans and random drunks alike. Refusing to pass up the chance to soundly represent the Grrl Fair community, the band's energy never let up. They even managed to fit in with the masked birthday partygoers swirling around them.
Well, at least their guitarist did. Rocking out under a mask modeled after something you'd see in the film Eyes Wide Shut, he didn't mind keeping it on for the entire set. Now that's commitment. Street Spirit's songs didn't fit neatly into any overtly hip genre. But their sound boasted a decent bit of originality amongst the obvious influences of bands like Bikini Kill, the Distillers and other female-fronted bands that will gladly bite your head off. Stars at Night, Mermaid and Teen Rex also played last night.
The Crowd: A lot of colorful drunk 20somethings wearing masks. We pretty much covered that.
Overheard: "Dude, I'm surrounded by all this chick musicians who play guitar better than me. What's up with that?"