Written by Samuel Barker
Nov 19, 2004 at 08:00 PM
The DonnasTo the uneducated ear, the Donnas may not have changed much over the years, because they’re still a rock band, but if you actually listen to rock records, you know this band has seen its share of progressions and alterations.For beginning as someone’s project band to pay homage to the Ramones, these girls have left behind the boring idiocies of the Ramones to grasp various other forms of rock. As they grew, guitarist Allison Robertson gravitated more towards the California punk rock she came up with than the New York hipster sound. The band started to develop their homegrown sound. Vocalist Brett Anderson learned how to hold a note; it was all coming together for the band.

Then somehow they got back into the New York hipster sound. With a new album borrowing more from the Strokes than Black Flag, The Donnas had decided to explore new ground. While they didn’t exactly push the old away in the live format, it wasn’t hard to tell the difference between their older, edgier tracks and their newer pop based tracks.

Drummer Torry Castellano has returned from a few hand problems to bring the flying hair and driving rhythms to the band. Never once was there noticeable slip with her playing despite learning a new holding technique for her sticks. Combined with Maya Ford on bass and in-between song jokes, the Donnas are still cruising strong, even if the sound has changed.

The Von BondiesBefore the Donnas hit the stage, the Von Bondies hit the stage with their Motor City garage rock. Though I’m sure guitarist/vocalist Jason Stollsteimer would love to live his life without hearing this again, my only prior knowledge of this band was he and Jack White having an altercation. Well, the music hit a lot harder that White did.

Stollsteimer and company tore through a 40-minute set with reckless disregard. Tossing themselves around the stage, the Von Bondies captured the audience for their set and appeared to have as many fans at the show as the Donnas.

Opening the show was the Starlight Desperation. These guys were a wall of noise and insanity. By the end of their set nearly the entire drum set was on the barricade being played by their drummer and various audience members at the same time. This band lacked accessibility in sound, but made up for it with their willingness to get everyone involved in the music making process.