Show Review & Photo Gallery: Sun Lee Sunbeam, Jeddo Stars, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling @ Harpers Ferry 12/10
As the vibrator was once used by men to sober us “hysterical” women and our wandering wombs, I imagine a piano or a music lesson was also used as a way to distract and tame us. But, now, in the same way the vibrator has become a great symbol of female sovereignty, sexual empowerment, and self-discovery, so has the power of rock. And if you have any question, consider the carnal force behind Karen O’s vocals on “Bang” from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s 2001 EP, listen to some PJ Harvey or go ahead and blare “Horses” by the always lovely Patti Smith.
It’s been quite some time since I have had the opportunity to see a female-fronted rock showcase, and I was actually beginning to believe women in rock was a thing of the nineties. It’s also been some time since I’ve been able to say that each band in one night had a solid performance. My faith in both rock and Harper’s Ferry was restored this wondrous December night for the Winter Wonderland Rock n’ Dance Holiday Extravaganza. It was kicked off by a set performed by Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, a beauty and brains duo with a Kills-like presence on stage. They played the kind of music that grabs you, pushes you around, then leaves you feeling a little dirty. And, you like it.
Jeddo Stars, a six-piece from Somerville, stormed the stage with blustering energy. Fronted by Ellie Volckhausen, the band brought admirable, and much appreciated, enthusiasm. Ellie Vee, from local success story The Charms, was an expert on stage, handling her guitar (sometimes tambourine) with a fierce, Annie Oakley-like confidence. Although I would hate to exhaust all my Letters to Cleo references (two posts in a row may be a bit excessive), this time I feel it’s particularly appropriate since Scott Riebling, bassist for the Boston band’s original lineup, is producing the Stars’ upcoming album. The illuminating back-up harmonies of Alana Sacks and Orpha Rivera and muscianship of Joe Wizda, Mark Nigro, and Pete Caldes held their own against Ellie’s rapturous siren call. The dance-friendly melodies and marvelously dizzying hooks of “3D” and “Goodbye Eyes” could provide the appropriate soundtrack to doing the twist in your underwear while your roommates are away. (I’m just saying.)
Following Jeddo Stars, Sun Lee Sunbeam dressed to the nines in virginal white played to the festive backdrop of, what my PGB comrade, Pete, identified as, a high school prom. With pastel balloons tethered to the stage and instruments, the band’s guitar-heavy performance was laced with an adolescent whimsy that made songs like “Naked (I want you)” a naughty indulgence to feed the inner teenage boy in all of us. Jessica Sun Lee, with her powerfully sultry voice, was backed by Mary Flatley on the bass, Mike Ward on guitar, and Jeff Clarke on drums. The quartet’s sound oozed sex from the stage to the dancefloor with a Veruca Salt appeal. Tracks from their October release Beneath the Burning Sky, “Fighting the Waves” and “The Empathist” are my personal favorites, because I’m absolutely a sucker for a good hook.
It was refreshing to see a pop/rock show. If you need some warming up this winter, I’d recommend checking these bands out to help shed those holiday pounds.