AUTHOR’S NOTE: my apologies for the slight delay in getting these reviews up. The past month had been busy and I needed a couple days to rest and process all the information.
The weekend of September 21 and 22 was going to be busy in Columbia due to the Roots and Blues and BBQ Festival coming to town. As a result the city was preparing for what would be an onslaught of locals and visitors coming upon downtown for music and food. However, what was less known was that September 20th was going to be an interesting day in Columbia once I learned the The Blue Fugue was having Prima Donna and The Dollyrots play live.
Local rockers Spectravox were supposed to open but had to drop out at the last minute leaving the slot open for Alice’s Anvil. This duo performs layered instrumental soundscapes built on layers of synthesizers and live guitars. Constructed of a blend of textures (delay plays a significant part in their material) and melody lines, their material got the night off to a quite different start in comparison to the other two bands. I have to agree with Kelly from the Dollyrots that Alice’a Anvil should be doing a multimedia performance with visuals added to their sets (hell, part of me sees this sounding like it could be the soundtrack for Japanese animation). Interesting but a surprise compared to the rest of the night.
Co-headlining with Prima Donna, The Dollyrots were taking the middle slot of the evening. for their debut Columbia show. After a few minutes to set up the band quickly tore into a blend of punk energy and pure pop hooks that mined both brand new tracks (their new album was released two days before this show) as well as old fan favorites along their 45 minutes set. Despite a change of basses for Kelly after the first song, the band managed to pull off some energetic songs with hooks fresh out of the oven and make it look relatively easy in the process. All of this leading to a closer of “Because I’m Awesome” and the new album track “Staring Over Again” to end the night. They came and made the most of the night, having their sense of fun rub off on the crowd in the process.
Prima Donna began to close out the night with a big blast of energy and charisma. The LA quintet delivered some high energy uptempo rock’n’roll with a 70s glam edge and a lot of attitude. Catchy songs full of crunchy guitars and a sneering attitude is this band’s calling card as they blasted out some solid songs and caught the attention of the crowd. Having seen these guys open for Batusis in St. Louis a couple years back, they continued that vibe that sounds as much like it would fit the early 70s glam rock era as it does today. Prima Donna have been gaining a following step by step over the past few years and they appear to show no sign of slowing down as they set out on a mission to rock.
As the PA died down and people began to venture out into the Columbia night, people hung out with the band for a bit and took in the general vibe of the night. While the night was quiet, it would be the calm before the storm as Roots and Blues would soon make for a very busy weekend in this town.