Punk band Screaming Females played a ferocious show last night at the Grog Shop



Matt Hughes
  • Matt Hughes

Screaming Females don’t need to light their drum set on fire to prove they’re punk. Despite inclement weather, the band drew a sizable crowd last night at the Grog Shop with Chomp and two members of Wooly Bullies (subbing for Cheap Clone) opening. They performed a high energy set without stage gimmicks or even dialogue between songs.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a healthy dose of theatre on the stage; seriously, who doesn’t love it when David Byrne dances with a lamp or when Devo performs wearing matching flower-pot “power domes” on their heads —it gets the audience pumped. However, Screaming Females are just not that kind of band. They get their audience pumped on raw power alone.

Singer-guitarist Marissa Paternoster shredded like a girl guitar messiah with powerful vocals. Drummer Jarrett Dougherty, bounced around with equal parts energy and concentration. Bassist Michael Abbate, thrashed around the stage often feeding off Paternoster. Together they were dynamic.
Their set was a big ol’ grab bag of rock ’n’ roll that deviated fluidly between poppy and aggressive. It included their poppy single, “It All Means Nothing” from 2012’s Ugly. Paternoster’s vocals often had a vibrato reminiscent of the Slits but with sudden violent interruptions that diverged into screaming the lyrics. Abbate’s bass lines were also interesting, sometimes bordering on funky hybrid styling similar to Minute Men, other times heavy and sinister.

In the past, Screaming Females have toured with Dead Weather, Garbage, Shellshag, and Against Me! Next up they’ll be on tour with The Julie Ruin, a project by Kathleen Hannah (of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre). If the snow held you back from seeing them last night, you’re in luck — they’ll be back on April 7 at the Beachland Ballroom.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.