Dollyrots energize Monday night crowd

Monday night’s show in Washington Park featured three hard-hitting bands each led by a woman. Local
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Monday night’s show in Washington Park featured three hard-hitting bands each led by a woman. Local openers Sirsy and Ophelia Smiles performed while the sun was still high, as people continued to settle in. For those who settled on time, they heard solid, original high-energy rock.

Headliner Dollyrots cranked out their tightly-wound pop-punk tunes, rifling through several from their early release, including “Kick Me to the Curb,” “Nobody Else,” “Hysteria” and the speedy “Desperate SOS.”

In the opener, leader Kelly Ogden ground her bass lines while shouting with guitarist Luis Cabezas the chorus, a series of seven or eight progressively more intense “Yeahs!”

They played a few cover tunes, like the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” approaching it like you’d expect the Ramones to do. During their originals “Wreckage” and “Watch Me Go,” Ogden lit the same spark Joan Jett probably spotted, leading to signing the band on Jett’s Blackheart Records.

A dozen or so purple- and pink-haired youngsters crowded the front of the stage admiring one of punk’s newest promises.

Ogden talked about Woodstock like it took place in the 1800s, and then sang a hard-driving pedal-to-the-floor version of Melanie’s “I Got a Brand New Pair of Rollerskates.”

“It’s boys night tonight,” Ogden said, praising the lineup of all-women singers. She dedicated “My Best Friend’s Hot” to all the “boys” in the audience.

The seats weren’t packed, like the old days of Monday night shows, but it was enough people to keep the energy high.

“Thanks for coming out on a Monday night,” Ogden yelled. “It’s a great way to start the week. Or is this how we end the weekend?”

Sirsy is that rare rock act consisting of one female, Melanie Krahmer on vocals, flute and drums (she stands while playing, wearing her pulled-up Cat- in-the-Hat socks), and one male, Rich Libutti playing the bass lines and rhythm guitar simultaneously, and occasionally filling in on the drum set.

Their songs eclectically ran from straight pop to angry punk. They followed their opener with “Crazy,” a heavy, somewhat slow tune weighted down with Libuitti’s bass line and sexualized by Krahmer’s vocals.

I intended to avoid the Ian Anderson flute comparison to describe Krahmer’s competent solo, until Libutti broke into “Aqualung,” then “25 or 6 to 4,” then “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Crack that Whip,” “My Sharona,” the Flintstones theme song, and others, all which Krahmer partly sang for a verse or two. Where else are you going to hear that medley?

“I’m not used to rockin’ on Monday night,” Krahmer told the audience.

Opener Ophelia Smiles played a series of interesting, somewhat complex tunes that moved along without effort. Tight with a rough tone, they ran through their songs like “It’s Not Fair,” and the pop-like “Never Tell,” which has as much right as any to be on the radio beyond this region.

During “Around the Bend,” an Albany Med helicopter ominously circled and landed in the distance, as if part of the tune.

Hopefully Monday night will help expand the base of the local acts. They earned it.

Categories: Life and Arts

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