How my heart has grown for the Canadian/British electro-pop group Dragonette. They’re the little pop band that could, can and will go all the way. It’s Sunday night at the super-chic Brooklyn Bowl, and I’m lucky to meet up with singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara, bassist and producer Dan Kurtz (also Martina’s husband) and drummer Joel Stouffer to chat about their latest single, “Easy,” musical collaborations, and connecting with the gay community.
I arrived at the venue around 4:30 p.m. and the place is packed with families and children bowling and gorging on food around communal tables. Baseball games are playing on giant screens all over the place, and classic rock is blasting through the sound system. In the middle of it all the chaos, Dragonette is trying to sound check. I got to see them rehearse “Okay Dolores” and “Liar” while no one seemingly cared or paid attention, except for four little girls dancing in front of the stage. It was so surreal.
Shortly, I made my way up to the dressing room above the stage for a 15-minute interview. We talked about the green glitter underneath “Tina’s” (what the guys call her) eyes in the “Easy” video (see below), the fact that this was NOT the first time they’ve played a bowling ally, a one-song gig in Rome next week when Martina will perform “Boys and Girls” with Martin Solveig, and the angst of their songwriting process. By the end of the interview, I’m a little enamored with each of them. Insightful, reflective, playful and smart. All of them.
After the interview, my friends Ted, Michael and I stuffed ourselves with Blue Ribbon “rock ‘n roll” fries and fried chicken, followed by several Brooklyn Lagers (of course). We played two sets of bowling (I won both sets btw), and slowly greeted the many friends I have invited to come and fall in love with Dragonette for themselves.
Local electro-pop duo Class Actress opened with a short, 30-minute set. I saw them open for Little Boots last month, and I was not impressed. But this time it was different. They sounded poppyer, catchier, ’80s synthier. But the show really got started when Dragonette took the stage. They opened with “I Get Around,” from their debut album, Galore. I was thrilled they played a number of their early songs including “Black Limousine,” “Competition” and my favorite, “Take It Like A Man.” “You want out. I can’t help. I’ve got to make you understand, you’ve got to take it like a man.” Such an awesome song.
Then they unleashed most of the songs off their current album, Fixin to Thrill, including the banjo-tinged “Gone Too Far,” “Pick Up The Phone,” “Liar” and “Stupid Grin.” My favorite performance was “Easy,” which was written by Joel Stouffer. It’s a beautiful song about relationships and unconditional love, he told me, and Martina sings its beautifully. I’m also a fan of “Okay Dolores.” It’s the kookiest song on the album, but so much fun to sing along to. “Big Sunglasses” was also a big crowd pleaser. This song wants to be the official song of Memorial Day: “Run and get me some of them big sunglasses.” I love it. They closed with “Fixin to Thrill” and returned with one encore, “We Rule The World.” I have one question: Why doesn’t Dragonette rule the world? They should. They are so talented, so brilliant and infectious on stage, and probably the nicest folks in rock ‘n roll. Hard as it looks. Thanks, Dan, Joel and Martina for an unforgettable show.