Dum Dum Girls At The Roxy Theatre

  • The Dum Dum Girls
    Photo: The Recording Academy

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By Crystal Larsen
Los Angeles

"We've been in the desert for a week and this is the hottest I think I've been," said frontwoman Dee Dee Penny in one of her few addresses to the audience at the Roxy Theatre on April 17. The high temperature was likely a result of the sold-out crowd that filled the small venue, with many fans pressed up against the short stage for an up-close look at the Dum Dum Girls, whose hometown performance was sandwiched between their slots on this year's Coachella lineup.

Despite the rising heat in the crowd, the energy onstage was cool. Set underneath a dim blue light, the stage was outfitted in neon lights: a bright blue heart hung from the back wall; bouquets of glow sticks bloomed from each of the three microphone stands; and amps were laced with strings of hot-pink lights. As Penny and her Dum Dum Girls — guitarist Jules, drummer Sandy and bassist Malia James — opened their set with "Mine Tonight," a fuzzy-toned dreamy pop tune from their 2012 EP End Of Daze, it felt like we were all in for a fun girls' night out (even though there were quite a few men in the audience). And the girls, who were joined onstage by guitarist Andrew Miller, were dressed for the part: Penny rocked a very short patent leather long-sleeved dress and heels, while her female counterparts were similarly dressed in black skirts, dresses and crop-tops.

As they dove right into "I Got Nothing," it was clear the Girls would try to pack in as many songs as they could for the next hour, which resulted in little audience interaction or between-song chatter, but the Dum Dum Girls didn't need to do that. Though she said little, Penny's command over the audience was powered simply by her voice and her stare. During song breaks, she'd stand with her guitar delicately hanging from her thin frame and glare into the audience, giving the many phones and cameras that were in the air a good photo opportunity.

As their set carried on, jumping between songs from 2011's Only In Dreams and 2014's Too True, it was clear how Dum Dum Girls' sound has evolved. The former album features more garage-rock-oriented tunes, while the new album features '80s-infused tracks that channel that era. The new album also features production work by Richard Gottehrer, whose past credits include Blondie and the Go-Go's.

With such a high level of production on Too True, the band's performance could have fell short, but it didn't. The Roxy proved to be the perfect place for the Dum Dum Girls to play, and Penny's voice filled any voids. Highlights from the set included "Rimbaud Eyes," a salute to the late poet Arthur Rimbaud, and "Lord Knows," a gorgeous ballad that was reminiscent of '90s Mazzy Star and showcased Penny's confidentially paced vocals. 

A cover of British alt-rock group Pale Saints' "Sight Of You" closed the set as the Dum Dum Girls left the audience with one last "thank you" and sentiments that conveyed they were glad to be home. As the crowd cheered them offstage, it was clear they were glad to have them home, too.

Set List:

"Mine Tonight"
"I Got Nothing"
"Bedroom Eyes"
"In The Wake Of You"
"I Will Be"
"He Gets Me High"
"Too True To Be Good"
"Are You Okay?"
"Rest Of Our Lives"
"It Only Takes One Night"
"Under These Hands"
"Rimbaud Eyes"
"Lord Knows"
"Sight Of You" (Pale Saints cover)

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