screamingfemales2009Screaming Females

Power Move available now through Don Giovanni Records

When thinking of New Jersey, a few iconic images come to mind: Bruce Springsteen singing Born in the USA, Bon Jovi Livin’ On A Prayer, and Artie Lange’s movie Beer League.  But besides boasting a few hit acts, it’s a place I have very little cultural interest in, until last night when I watched New Brunswick’s Screaming Females perform to a sold out Terminal 5 audience in NYC. And while Lange, Springsteen, and Jovi play up to the relatable and lovable blue-collar NJ stereotypes, Screaming Females are proudly the antithesis, hence reviving faith for the entire Garden State.

With over 300 self-booked shows, 3 full-length albums, and a few 7-inchers released, Screaming Females have been rocking out towns across the country for over 3 years now. And though I’ve heard “of” them, I never actually listened to them until last night, and sweet Jesus”¦that’s all I have to say.

Front woman Marissa Paternoster, 22, is like no other. Wearing a thrift store Little House on the Prairie dress, black tights, and black & white wing-tip shoes, Paternoster shredded her guitar like Slash from Guns & Roses. And I mean that in the most sincerely flattering way possible. Slash is awesome.

Here’s another comparison you might not agree with, (I’m about to go on a rant here so just stay with me): She’s got Sleater-Kinney vocals mixed with Mick Jagger’s stage presence. She’s the rebellious love child of PJ Harvey & Keith Richards (supposing they ever did It). And as one audience member said: “(she) reminds me of Joan of Ark from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” I don’t know what that even means but he’s right*. I’ve never witnessed a guitar goddess so uninhibited, so natural, so fearless behind her instrument. She rocks the guitar like no other female out there. Period.

Paternoster, along with bassist Mike Rickenbacker and drummer Jarrett Dougherty, won’t settle for anything less then completely rocking the fuck out of you. Screaming Females are not afraid to startle the crowd and make noise. You will find no cheesy love ballads or indie-pop nonsense, so if that’s what you’re into, stay home.

New Brunswick, NJ, only 30 miles across from Terminal 5 on the other side of the Hudson River, seems like worlds away, and until now, was completely off my radar, that is, until Screaming Females came around. Go pick up their latest album Power Move if you don’t believe me.

“Boyfriend” by Screaming Females

*Despite popular belief not everyone who grew up in the 90s watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It always looked like a sucky movie. Even then.

** Screaming Females Tour Dates through August 2009