Parenthetical Girls, .e | 04.10.07

A local band's third show might be deserving of this café-size crowd, but Portland's four-piece, Parenthetical Girls, is worthy of a packed house.

 

On April 10, the rainy Tuesday night, the Parenthetical Girls panic-rocked the Lemp Arts Center. Including the band members themselves, the band members' friends/relatives, Lemp staff workers, my friend, and I, the peak crowd count was sub-30. I'm assuming you missed this one, and by that logic missed the beautiful set by .e (Dottie).

The opening act was St. Louis's own Dottie, who performed only her third solo show since her former band, Chemical X, went on "indefinite hiatus." Dottie's stripped-down punk uses a guitar, a Fender amp with preset drumbeats, and anything but over-the-top vocals. Her minimalist approach set the six-songs-and-out standard. Fans at Lemp shows don't have to put up with the boredom of getting the acoustics just right, and consequently the first song and a half from Dottie slightly suffered. The emphasis on her guitar often drowned out her soft, smooth voice, and at times it was easier to understand lyrics through lip reading than actually hearing the words, even in this intimate show.

Good local bands are exciting, and based on .e's promising MySpace song, with the appropriate working title "One," I had heard her entire intriguing catalogue. "One" was among three of the most impressive songs that really clicked with those in attendance. Her grand finale was a track from her old band, which found a happy medium between her Beatles influence and her punk roots. Dottie is very similar to Kaki King minus the insane finger-picking and simultaneous percussion, especially now that King has added words.

A local band's third show might be deserving of this café-size crowd, but Portland's four-piece, Parenthetical Girls, is worthy of a packed house. The hilarious Parenthetical front-woman, Zac Pennington, sang each song with a less exaggerated voice and a more confident tone than the similar-sounding Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and padded his act with theatrical, Patrick Wolf-like movements. The band played musical chairs in between songs from their quality debut, Safe as Houses, moving from station to station of their collective repertoire, which included a violin, drums, melodicas, two guitars, accordions, horns, and on-the-spot creations using the Lemp's floors and walls.

My personal favorite, "Love Connection," was the centerpiece of their excellent seven-song set that was also highlighted by "Here's to Forgetting," "The Weight She Fell Under," "One Father, Another," "Forward to Forget," and perhaps the best of all, a new song. Although their spring tour concluded April 15 in Idaho, the band is rarely unpacked in Portland and hopefully will grace St. Louis soon with another "business trip." | Joseph O'Fallon

Dottie, on the other hand, will be playing a bundle of shows that you should see:

Lemp Arts | 04.17 w/Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (yes, I know: Andrew Bird, Tapes N' Tapes, and Playback's Cicero's Tuesdays are all tonight, too)

Ground Floor | 04.18 w/Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

The Loft Chesterfield | 04.20

The Comedy Forum | 04.24

All shows are $5. If you missed Casiotone's last vist, they're good and have worked with Parenthetical Girls. More information on Myspace.com/dottiesound

Also don't miss at the Lemp:

04.18 | Yacht (Jona Bechtolt of the Blow, and Parenthetical Girls collaborator)

04.24 | Central Standard

04.29 | Mayday

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