The Dollyrots, one of the most-underrated pop-punk bands in America, brought their Rah! Rah! Radical Tour to the Rumba Café on March 11 for a Sunday evening of punk for the faithful.

Local punk band Methmatics opened the show, setting the tone for what was to follow with a high-energy set that had everyone’s adrenaline flowing.

Comprised of Kelly Ogden (vocals/bass) and Luis Cabezas (guitar/vocals), they had Justin McGrath (tour manager – The Darts, The Sold and Bones) sitting behind the drums for this leg of the tour. With clever, hook-laden lyrics laden over upbeat, feel-good music, The Dollyrots know how to get a crowd buzzing.

Despite Ogden fighting a cold and feeling a bit under the weather, the band delivered a 14-song set that touched on many points in the band’s career, from old to new.

Kelly Ogden having a laugh at the Rumba

“Dear Columbus, we are so happy to be here today,” announced Ogden to the fans before launching into the fast-paced I Do, the rock vibes reverberating off the walls, accompanied by very good harmonies between Ogden and Cabezas.

Her vocals were on point with the rapid-fire pace of New College, with its driving beat that reminded one of a very good 1960’s garage band. Of course, the crowd ate it up as they danced and pogoed. They wasted no time, transitioning directly into the slower pace of Pack of Smokes. Cabezas coaxed a dirtier sound from his guitar than that which is heard on the recorded version.

With just her bass to accompany her vocals, Ogden dove into Brand New Key, a cover of Melanie’s song from 1971. When Cabezas and McGrath began playing, they kicked the song into a higher gear. It was apparent that the band was having as much fun as the crowd was.

The straight-forward, rock-n-roll based power-pop of Come and Get It assaulted our aural cavities next, with McGrath pounding out a driving beat on his kit that gave the song a bit of a heavier feel.

They slowed the pace slightly, as Ogden did the countdown that begins Satellite. The crowd was bobbing along in-time, as Cabezas jumped in-and-out with little guitar flourishes. Ogden’s vocals carried the notes, giving the song added vulnerability that made it almost feel melancholy.

They quickly brought the energy back up to an almost fever pitch with the ska-flavored Twist Me to the Left. Ogden easily had the crowd clapping along in-time with the beat, eliciting a wide smile from her.

Electing to play the just-released Get Radical next, the sound hit with a punch. Within the confines of the intimate venue, the song had a more immediate sense of urgency, with more emotion flooding through Ogden’s vocals.

Kelly Ogden and son River share the stage

The high-tempo of Jackie Chan was the perfect tune to punch the energy back up to the rafters, with Cabezas teasing the “Turning Japanese” riff to open the song. McGrath’s work on the drums was just as solid as it had been for the entire set.

Ogden called her song, River, to join her from where he had been watching from stage-left. “This is the first time River’s watched us,” she said as the crowd oohed to River’s antics at the microphone. The band then wrapped-up the song nicely.

Starting a bit slower than the original, City of Angels was punctuated with Ogden punking-out the fast parts of the song. Cabezas was having a ball, as he jumped around the stage with verve.

Addressing the crowd, Cabezas said, “We rely on you guys being rad.” To which Ogden added, “Methmatics… I love you guys!” before jumping right into the uptempo My Best Friend’s Hot. The harmonies were excellent, punctuated by McGrath pounding out a driving beat on the drums.

The upbeat Dance Like a Maniac came on fast, with Ogden imploring the assembled crowd to “dance like a maniac…” as they kept the groove upbeat and tight. They added their own “Dollyrot touch” to their cover of Rancid’s Ruby Soho, with Ogden’d understated vocals adding gravitas to the original.

Luis Cabezas gets a little wild…

Closing their set with the fan-favorite Because I’m Awesome, the band found a grinding, dirtier groove to wash over the crowd. The full audience was singing along, while Cabezas played his guitar behind his head, ala Jimi Hendrix. This brought forth huge applause from the people crowding around the stage.

And with that, the show was finished. Before packing their instruments away, the band mingled throughout the venue, greeting their fans to pose for pictures or sign autographs.

The Dollyrots always manage to give the fans their money’s worth, despite the cold that Ogden was battling. Their Columbus show was no exception, with the band planning on being back again next year.

If you haven’t experienced their live show yet, make plans to see them the next time they play here. You won’t be disappointed.

Credit all images: Chad Kessler / Music In Motion Columbus

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Setlist

  1. I Do
  2. New College
  3. Pack of Smokes
  4. Brand New Key (Melanie cover)
  5. Come and Get It
  6. Satellite
  7. Twist Me to the Left
  8. Get Radical *
  9. Jackie Chan
  10. City of Angels
  11. My Best Friends Hot
  12. Dance Like a Maniac
  13. Ruby Soho (Rancid cover) *
  14. Because I’m Awesome

* new songs from “Get Radical” 7-inch, released March 2, 2018

The Dollyrots – Ruby Soho (Rancid cover)