An Evening With Used To Be Women.

Amazing name for a band notwithstanding, I want to preface by saying that I did indeed enjoy the Rock N' Roll show I was exposed to yesterday at this little bar in Brooklyn. I asked Joe, the lead singer of the band, who he thought the band sounded like. He replied: a cross-breeding of Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones.

Now, that sounds pretty good, though I'd have to say I hear more Stones than Petty in their music. I probably would've traded the Petty reference and inserted some early AC/DC (pre Brian Johnson). But, Joe indeed could draw comparisons to Mick Jagger, voice-wise. Stage presence is another matter. On more than one occasion I was worried that he'd fall off the stage (and, in fact, one time he did), because he was sort of stomping around with his eyes closed. The only way I can say it best is that he looked like a blind zombie from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. He had a HUGE case of the "Singer Who Doesn't Know What To Do With His Other Hand" syndrome. One hand held the mic, the other was just ... making this weird claw shape, and he'd paw wildly at the space around him (when he wasn't falling over, that is).

Of course, the bass player was the coolest looking guy on the stage. I've got a theory that no Rock N' Roll band ACTUALLY needs a bass player to sound like a Rock N' Roll band. I bet, most of the time, they just feel sorry for some dude, so they hand him a guitar-like thing with four strings they found lying around, and say to him, "OK, we just want you up here to look cool. So, make sure you grow your hair really long and have it covering your face; wear really unique clothing; and for God's sake, I want you as skinny as possible! We're gonna start you on a diet of whiskey and cigarettes right away." I don't even think most bass players are plugged in half the time!

By the way, does every Rock Drummer need to have a poor physique as a prerequisite? It's like they go into this gig knowing that Playing Drums will forever be their only means of exercise! This guy was pudgy, he had bad curly hair that was thinning around the edges, he wore glasses and has a really high speaking voice (high as in "not manly", not high as in stoned). In person, he's a really nice, cordial guy. But, then when he's beating the drums on stage, he's got this really intense look on his face that leads me to believe if he wasn't drumming, he'd be choking 5th graders in a playground somewhere.

The two guitarists were fairly redundant. There was the wild-haired maniac who was out of tune all night playing lead. Then, there was the straight-man, the super normal-looking guy playing rhythm, just standing in one spot on his side of the stage looking at his chord progressions the whole night.

All in all, Used To Be Women are fairly entertaining, in spite of any technical problems. They're one of the few bands who don't just Play Loud as a crutch because they're not good. They DO sound good, but more importantly, they sound even better when they're in a really loud, intense part of the song. I haven't heard any of their older stuff (everything we heard last night was all new), but they're on MySpace. You can check 'em out if you're so inclined.