Here we are standing on the concrete floor in the main room of The Smell, only a few feet away from the fierce front-woman Dana Poblete of Batwings Catwings. She begins to deliver unrelenting vocals that hail over driving guitar sounds and energetic drums that trash and tear up beats to commence a post-punk dance party. The audience of young people seem to feel part of the performance experience as some kids frivolously hurl their bodies around in random bombarding expressions and some sing along.
”Let’s resume the workout,” Dana encourages, as one song ends and a new (equally emotive) one begins. At one point a guy from the audience comes up and places a shiny, plastic Mardi Gras necklace around her neck, which doesn’t phase her a bit.
"It’s really awkward to perform in rain boots" she admits at one point, but from an audience member’s take in of her, and the bands collective energy, there seems to be no evidence of awkwardness whatsoever. An engaging and evocative experience, nicely done BWCW!
The second band, The Flytraps comes on and three gals clad in black (clearly seasoned rockstars) with guitars and bass share center stage in front of a drummer. I get the vibe (more in stylistic presence rather then musically speaking) of the 70’s rock group The Runaways. In the middle of their set one of the guitar ladies nonchalantly climbs on top of her amp to play. Now don’t get me wrong, this sort of thing has been done before, and I typically wouldn’t take note of it, but she seriously pulls it off. A seamless transition takes place as she confidently commands control of her guitar and shreds above her audience, who get even more revved up at this sight. Some fan guys are thrashing and most people are at least aggressively bobbing as the girls trade off vocal parts and collectively deliver a charged up, gritty supply of rock.
Inside Oakland’s beloved TWIN STEPS continue the dance party and later BEACH PARTY slay the room to pieces.
Outside, between bands I stand conversing in a group of some of the local town legends. Nicholas Ventura (guitarist of HOTT MT) playfully announces he is my editor as he snatches my mini yellow notepad. Holding back the laughs, he attempts to read the scribbled (almost indecipherable) sentence:
"when she gets on guitar amp, some bands make moves like this and it seems cliché but she got a nonchalant indifference.”
Mind you- I was penning this in the dark amongst an angsty crowd
He pointedly poses the question, “is it possible to do something CHALANTLY?”
Walt Gorecki (of- walt! productions, former Homeroom operator) raises a brow in intrigued amusement. Miram Brummel (Even Keel imagery) chuckles with a nod of curiosity.
None of us know the answer, so Nick looks it up on his phone and quickly delivers a definition via Urbandictionary.com. Chalant means to have “extreme concern about an object”. SO THERE YOU GO. We all learned something tonight.
To put it use, I am chalantly sorry for accidentally stealing the very notepad and pen that I jotted down notes on from The Smell. In conclusion, Thank you sincerely to the owner and operator Jim Smith for making this article possible, and for continuing to maintain the environment for raucous shows like this one to thrive on and lead us to enjoy truly unique experiences.
WORDS- BARRIE ROSE
PHOTOS- MIRIAM BRUMMEL