As Robyn’s shows over the last two weeks begin to escape my conscience (ok, not really), my favorite band of the past year gains more airplay on my iPod as they come to town to promote their new EP Mixin’ to Thrill, featuring three new songs and remixes of three singles off last year’s Fixin to Thrill. As I’ve done time and time again, I’ve mustered up a collection of friends to help grow the fan base for the best little secret in pop music: Dragonette.
This is my third time seeing them. Progressively outgrowing venues, they’ve gone from Santos Party House, to Brooklyn Bowl, where it was reported Kylie Minogue was in the audience, and now Bowery Ballroom. Dragonette is made up of bassist and keyboardist Dan Kurtz, guitarist and vocalist Martina Sorbara (married to Dan — so lucky, both of them) and drummer Joel Stouffer. I was fortunate to meet them all in March and I found them to be so nice, so cool, and so grounded in their collaborative approach to songwriting. At the time, they didn’t let on to the EP they just release on Aug. 3.
Before I get into their set, a few words about their opening acts, Young Empires from Toronto and Shy Child from New York. Both up-and-coming bands were great. I loved the sound of Young Empires, very techno-poppy. I’m going to check them out again tonight in Brooklyn. Shy Child was cool too, though vocalist Pete Cafarella seemed to speak in single syllables between songs. “Hey!” “Check!” But sounded great. I’m seeing them in Atlanta on Monday as they again open for Dragonette at my friend Arjan’s Atlanta debut of SuperFraiche. Check it out.
Every time I’ve seen Dragonette, they open with “I Get Around.” It’s a great song, but I’m curious why they always choose it? The crowd is really into it. As much as I know Dan, Joel and Martina are equal partners, it’s Martina who gets to soak up most of the glory. They get it. She’s a dynamo with a balance of star-quality presence, sex appeal and a flirtatious grace that seems so rare these days. The latter quality shines through even when she forgets a lyric or two. I love that girl. Banjo-tinged “Gone Too Far” is the next number, as well as two great tracks off their 2007 record, Galore: “Black Limousine” and “Take It Like A Man.”
From Fixin to Thrill, they played “Easy,” “Liar,” “Okay Dolores” and “Big Sunglasses,” all great. This time they amped up “Pick Up The Phone” and performed a remix version. Hot, hot, hot, and the packed house at Bowery Ballroom responded with glee. My favorite of the night was “Fire In Your New Shoes,” their recent collaboration with Kaskade. After botching a lyric, she confessed that she had to sing the song backwards when they shot the video, shot completely in reverse. You’re forgiven. You can do no wrong, honey. Have you seen the video? You should, and you’ll see what she meant:
Other highlights of the set were their new tracks, “Volcano,” a heavy synth/strings disco gem, “Our Summer,” a punk rock-infused track they have been playing for a year or so known as “My Summer of Sex.” I love the lyrics, “all the single ladies want a ring, I shake a finger.” and “I’ll remember the what? Flavor! I’ll sayonara ya when? Later!” Finally, their third new track, “My Things” has also been performed at concerts for a while, but under the title, “Get Your Titties Off My Things.” Sorta brilliant, considering who she’s married to: the dreamy Dan Kurtz.
They ended the set with the rock anthem “Fixin to Thrill” before coming back for an encore with “Competition” and “We Rule the World.” I can’t get enough of this band. Thanks to their new EP, their music has made My Summer better. Our summer just gets better, better!
UPDATE: Dragonette Plays SuperFraiche in Atlanta
After catching their stellar show at Bowery Ballroom, I traveled South to visit friends and support my world-famous music blogger friend and musical muse, ArjanWrites, and go to his SuperFraiche pop music showcase debut in Atlanta.
Picture it — Monday night in Atlanta at the Drunken Unicorn, a tiny space buried under a parking lot and a pizza joint, and attached to underground hipster club, MJQs. Hardly hip, I could barely find it. But I did. I’d say 150-200 loud and raucous revelers showed up to welcome Dan, Martina and Joel to the ATL for the first time. And, it was the final gig of their current tour. What a way to end Our Volcano Summer.
They played just the same setlist as the New York show (sans “Competition”). Yet it was the magic of seeing the band be so surprised, and taken back by the turnout and response from the crowd. They really didn’t expect it. I was fortunate to hang out with the band after the show to talk about their new music, their summer tour and growing fan base, and the future of pop music in the U.S. I can’t wait to see what they do next. Congrats, Arjan, it was your best SuperFraiche yet!
Here are a few pics from the Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta: