The Donnas with OK Go and Rooney: Up and Coming, Going Great, and Gone Soon
By
J. Gordon
2/24/2003 8:00:39 PM

It’s no secret that the Donnas are hot right now. What I want to ask you is: WHY? The Runaways did it first, in the 80s. L7 did it better in the 90s. All the Donnas have to offer is the same old schlock: a few catchy beats by some naughty bad girls. I guess it just gets old after thirty years, but this new generation hasn’t worn down from it yet.

The Donnas took the stage sounding like the Go-Gos for a brief moment, then busting out song after song off their new album, Spend the Night [Atlantic]. After every song, bass player Maya (aka, Donna F.) told the worst, most un-funny jokes, followed by eardrum piercing screeches. Frankly, it made me wish I owned a gun to put us all out of her misery. Admittedly, Brett (aka, Donna A) is a cute front-girl with lots of stage presence and a naughty smirk that, coupled with lyrics like “Take it Off” has taken her far. But these chunky rock girls will probably sink as fast as they have risen, and I’m guessing it’ll be any day now.

The first band to play was Rooney, who are reminiscent of every good thing I can say about music from the 1960s, infused with a modern garage-band sensibility and sloppy, inventive psychedelic pop. These five cute, long-banged boys sport only about an inch of forehead collectively and look quite a bit like the Byrds, if you’re old enough to remember them. They’ve got a great video of their single, “If It Were Up To Me” that’s getting some play on MTV right now, and you can also check it out and learn more about them at www.rooney-band.com.

OK-Go followed Rooney with a tight performance that was a virtual duplication of their show at the Duck Room last October, sans the good sound, unfortunately. But who needs clarity of sound when you’re gazing at Damien Kulash, right? The guy has so much personality that even guys in the audience yelled out their love for him, resulting in a quick blush of embarrassment before he got back to work. OK-Go’s in-your-face, straight-up pop without the incessant whining of so many bands today (Blink 182, Good Charlotte, etc., etc.), their Teenage Fanclub-style melodies coupled with pure punk chords (they love to do covers of songs by bands like the Specials) put these guys up front as the best time you can possibly have standing up and fully dressed. Living up to their name, the band is pure energy. Check out our interview with Damien, and show review from October 2002 elsewhere on this site.

Photo by Leo Weisman

 

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