She Wants Revenge is the only band I know that can bring together Spiderman, pregnancy tests, and glowing guitars in a dark, sweaty venue. Sounds crazy you say? Believe me, it surprised me too. Add to those some rockin’ dance beats, a dash of alcohol, and an interview with Adam Bravin (see at the end of the review), and you have one hell of a show in an unsuspecting setting.
When I got to The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS, I had some doubts about the location for this show. Being an Eastern Jackson County Missouri girl, I had never been to The Bottleneck. I have been to my fair share of bars/venues for local bands’ shows, and this seemed like that kind of a place. The single room had booths and tables lining the walls, and the bar and stage were the prominent features in this small, weathered venue. As the crowd slowly filtered in, I was shocked at the wide variety of fans. You had everything from emo kids, preps, numetal-heads, and new romantics. But the most surprising thing about the crowd was the age differences. They ranged from 18-60 years old, and not one age group was more prominent than the other. By the time the show started at 9pm, there was a total of around 150 people filling the small space.
The Tender Box was the first to hit the stage. They came right in — without any intro — rocking a techno drumbeat, getting everyone’s attention. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when the band kicked in, I was blown away by their energy and surprisingly fun sound. With definite undertones of post punk and 80’s synthe pop, they amped up the styles with a hard crank of alternative rock. Most of all, their songs were radio-friendly — without having that generic, sell-out feel. As they progressed through the set, I couldn’t help wishing that Rock Band would take a good look at these guys. I would totally rock those tunes on some expert-bass…especially after actually seeing the bassist. Steve Mungarro (bass/vocals/samples) deserves some mad props for his stage presence. While not overshadowing the rest of the band, he was definitely having a good time — dancing, jumping, and laying out some funky bass riffs. The self-proclaimed “Dirty Mexicans from L.A.” were doing everything they could to get the crowd moving and pumped up. Well fellas, welcome to the Midwest. Unfortunately, the most they got that early in the night was some appreciative head bobbing. Joey Medina (vocals/guitar) even invited the crowd to come up and dance on stage during their final and strongest song “Mister Sister”, but sadly, there were no takers. The whole time they were playing, I knew they sounded familiar to me, and only later did I realize they did the theme song for the Kid’s WB show, “The Spectacular Spiderman”. Overall, kudos to The Tender Box for a great set, great sound, and giving us everything they had.
Next up was Kill Hannah. As soon as the techs were setting up their equipment, there was a wave of Kill Hannah shirts crashing against the stage, complete with angsty young girls squeezed into them. The lights went off on the stage and never came back on. The only illumination came from miniature white fluorescent lights attached to the guitars, getting The Bottleneck as close to a dark, sexy, dance club atmosphere as I’m sure it has ever come. Mat Devine (Vocals, Guitar) called out to the crowd in a deceptively young alto voice. With a set list including songs that spanned a decade’s worth of hard work, Kill Hannah gave us a dose of their broad musical spectrum. While having strong roots in new romantic/electronica, they also included some more pop-dance sounds, like one of their new songs, “New York City Speed.” I could easily envision many of their songs being featured at a club as a remix. Though that isn’t my personal cup of tea, Kill Hannah kept me interested and intrigued with their fantastic build-ups and break downs that always had a driving bass line. A favorite was an older song called “Lips Like Morphine,” that had a more distinctly ’90’s alternative flair. The crowd sang along as Devine worked his magic on stage, making up for his more down-played band-mates. A nice touch was that Devine really connected with the crowd, telling stories and explaining the songs. In an attempt to get the crowd riled up, he ragged on the ICP concert going on down the street at the Granada, exclaiming that if they could have fun on a Saturday night dressed like rodeo clowns, there was no reason we shouldn’t be having fun too! Ha ha…fantastic! And the antics worked for a little while, getting the crowd to dance, sing, and wave their hands in the air. As their set was coming to an end, Devine, peeling off his drenched hoodie, remarked that he loved how hot, sweaty, and punk rock it was to play in such a small venue, even if he was on the verge of puking.
Without any flair or fancy lights, She Wants Revenge took the stage with a bang. Three-fourths of the crowd took to the floor, making it more packed than it had been all night. Starting out with “Written In Blood”, Justin Warfield danced not only up and down the frets of his guitar, but all over the stage. He curled around the mic like a snake ready to strike his prey, and lured us in with that distinctively entrancing voice. We were lead on a journey through their first two albums and on into their more recent EP’s. The combination of Adam Bravin’s (aka DJ Adam/Adam 12) tracks and Warfield’s provocative lyrics got at least half of the patrons all heated up. The other half was still busy bobbing their self-conscious heads. Every song was a wonderful mix of hip-hop, new romantic, alternative, electronica, post-punk, and new wave genres, to include a few. Trying to encapsulate She Wants Revenge into one specific genre is simply impossible to do. That definitely explains the mixed bag of the crowd’s cliques and ages. It was really unique to see all these people smashed against one another to show their love for the band. Toward the end of their set, everyone left the stage except Bravin, giving him the spotlight. He played “Disconnect”; a keyboard-only piece. Hearing him play it live was fantastic — he changed it up a little, giving it a much more classical piano feel and taking liberties with it. The band then returned to pay homage to a group they all grew up listening to, The Psychedelic Furs, by doing a wonderful cover of “Love My Way.” It was a song that was right up their alley. The final two songs were hits from their debut album, and Warfield introduced them by saying She Wants Revenge was going to give them everything they had, and only asked that the crowd do the same. Finally, the audience got caught up in the show. With Warfield up there gyrating and dancing, and the music loud and pulsing, the audience had no choice but to respond. After those last couple songs, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lawrence had a small surge in it’s July of 2010 birth rate.
- Written in Blood
- These Things
- Broken Promises for Broken Hearts
- True Romance
- Your Love
- What I Want
- Animal Attraction
- All Wound Up
- This is the End
- Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs
- Red Flags and Long Nights
- Out of Control
- Tear You Apart
Though The Bottleneck was unable to provide the lights, effects, and hype that this tour deserved, none of these bands needed any of that. Their music, connectivity, and presence is what makes them all true entertainers. In a way, the small venue actually gave the entire show a very intimate feel. If you haven’t heard Kill Hannah or The Tender Box, you need to get on it, and I would recommend for She Wants Revenge to be at the top of your list of albums to check out, and if you get a chance to see any of these bands live, jump on the opportunity. All of them are fantastic live and will give you your money’s worth — and then some. Hopefully, the crowd will actually let loose and have some fun, versus the epic fail of a crowd I had to endure.
***************BLAKE TALKS WITH ADAM BRAVIN***************
Before the show started, we were able to catch Adam Bravin, from She Wants Revenge, for a quick interview. I asked about the upbeat dance/hip-hop feel of their new EP’s (Extended Play) and if that is the new direction for She Wants Revenge. He replied by saying, “We don’t sleep in coffins!” Although their albums have been fairly dark, he says that their music is constantly evolving. The first album (She Wants Revenge) was very minimalistic, the second (This Is Forever) became complex with more layers of different genres combined, and their EP, Save Your Soul, had more of a hip-hop feel, which is in keeping with both Adam and Justin’s roots in hip-hop. The style of music from their EPs are what Adam and Justin are going to produce with their other signed artists, such as Zina Star, but She Wants Revenge is not headed down that road.
On the subject of Zina Star’s vocals in “All Wound Up” from their EP Up and Down, Adam says that she won’t have a continued role in any other of She Wants Revenge’s future projects, but she will start releasing her own music.
Here’s the big news! He said that as soon as they were home from this tour, they were going to begin working on their newest album. He says that it’s going to go back to the dark roots of their first album. I, personally, can’t wait until we get to have another full album from She Wants Revenge.
Keeping in the spirit of Lost In Reviews, Adam let us in on his favorite movies: 8 1/2 directed by Federico Fellini and Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott. Which is interesting considering he compared some of his music from the first She Wants Revenge album to soundtrack music from Blade Runner.
Lost In Reviews would like to give a special thanks to Adam Bravin for giving us an in-depth look into the future of She Wants Revenge!
We give the She Wants Revenge Tour 4.5 ‘positively preggers’ out of 5