with Suffrajett, Fall Term
The Social, Orlando, Fl • Feb. 4, 2008
The Dollyrots were cool enough to catch the ear of Joan Jett and score a deal with Blackheart Records; Suffrajett were cool enough to get invited to tour with Juliette Lewis and her band, The Licks. So how did Orlando fans miss the boat on both of these bands and leave The Social virtually barren the night their Love & Conquer Tour rolled into town?
Invoking little more than background noise, openers Fall Term played to an empty room. The young girl led/boy backed band from Melbourne, Florida seemed to be hoping to ride into the mainstream on the coat tails of Paramore’s popularity. The pop music they produced was sugary and inoffensive. It’s exactly the sort of trendy drivel I’d expect to hear while trying to sit through a big screen teen romantic comedy. Like a female-fronted Fall Out Boy, this music was everything that I hate. What was most maddening was that I found myself tapping my foot to their best song of the set, “Forget Me Not.”
It’s just too easy to fall for popular music, no matter how hard I try to resist.
When I came across NYC’s Suffrajett last Halloween on the Juliette & the Licks tour, I fell for them without hesitation. Front woman Simi straddles the line between soul and glam, while her band gets lost inside the wonderful world of classic rock. The fact that she rocks an electric violin throws an even stranger cog into the machine that is Suffrajett.
While the disappointing turnout did seem to affect their spirits a tad, their performance still managed to reaffirm my initial reaction to this great little band that no one seems to know about. Any band that can begin a song with the line “I wanna let you know that you’re acting like an asshole,” (from “Love Me More”) is worthy of attention.
They wore their eye makeup proudly, put on their show clothes, and made the most of a quiet night. This is one of those bands who put just enough thought into their image to actually look like rockstars without going overboard into arrogance. Their songs may not etch their way into your subconscious on the first listen, but even if you’re not remembering the details of the music days later, you will be remembering the performance.
“Suffrajett… Don’t forget,” Simi repeated like a mantra throughout the set.
The Dollyrots have got more going for them than the Joan Jett seal of approval, and a great band name. They’re a trio who genuinely seem to be having a blast on stage regardless of how many faces are watching them play. The last time I saw them play was on a tiny side stage at Warped Tour 2006, and it is no exaggeration to say that I was one of ten people in attendance for their set.
Front woman Kelly Ogden, then and now, wears a grin from ear to ear and struts the stage with her low slung bass like a blond, bouncy Kim Deal. When the band tossed in a pop punkified cover of Melanie’s “Brand New Key” (also known as “The Rollerskate Song”) their headlining set officially became a hit.
The Dollyrots: http://www.myspace.com/thedollyrots ◼