[TypicalGirls] Washington Post reviews The Coathangers

WWWhatsup joly at punkcast.com
Tue Mar 25 02:42:35 EDT 2008


Live Last Night: The Coathangers

The Coathangers, probably not coming back to D.C. anytime

Sometimes I feel this weird obligation to go to certain
shows. Last night was one of those instances. The
Coathangers, a fun, all-girl punk band from Atlanta, were
at the Red & the Black. There was no local support act at a
club that struggles to draw on weeknights. Bad combo. Plus,
people in this town will rarely take a chance on something
that hasn't been given a stamp of approval by a tastemaker
of note. So I wasn't too surprised when I was one of just
seven people there to watch the band. Yes, seven.

To their credit, the Coathangers made it work. And it
really shouldn't have worked. The band plays the most basic
brand of garage-synth-punk, getting by on energy and
attitude more than anything else. It's party music with a
hint of a confrontational streak, as evidenced by songs
like "Shut the [Expletive] Up" and "Don't Touch My
[Expletive]." But it's hard to take on the role of party
starter when there are barely enough people for a decent
game of Trivial Pursuit and there's really no point in
agitating the handful of people who actually paid money to
see you play.

So the Coathangers found a happy medium, playing with
enough energy to keep the handful of us - and probably more
importantly, themselves - entertained. Keyboardist Candice
Jones gleefully hopped around her corner of the stage while
providing the majority of the hooks. Drummer Stephanie Luke
bashed away with abandon and Julia Kugel screamed her
vocals without hesitation. The best moments came when all
four (fourth being bassist Meredith Franco) sang in unison,
creating a girl-punk chaos that I've enjoyed by similar
bands like Mika Miko, the Rondelles and Le Tigre.

The big question to emerge from the show was one that I've
grappled with on similar evenings. How do you act as an
observer when you aren't merely an audience member, but
almost the entire audience? Do you whoop it up a little
extra between songs? Or does that feel patronizing? Do you
stand right near the front of the stage? Do you feel kind
of like a creep when you request "Nestle in My Boobies" at
the end of the set? (That wasn't me, by the way, but one of
the other H Street Seven. In his defense, it is one of the
band's better songs.) Do you talk to the band after the
show and apologize for the lack of attendance? I ended up
doing what I always do - standing by myself in the middle-
back, nursing a single beer, not saying a word to anyone,
and leaving right after the set was done.

By David Malitz |  March 7, 2008; 5:23 PM

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