There are moments that capture a nostalgic feeling, or perhaps the subtle vibe of a time long gone by. They make you feel like you’ve been exposed to a close held secret. Thursday evening was one of those moments.
Playing their tour kickoff show at Ace of Cups in the capital city, DANA took us on a sonic journey that made one feel as though you were squarely in the epicenter of the New York City art-rock scene in its heyday, circa 1976.
Columbus’ DANA is comprised of Madeline Jackson (vocals/theremin), Chris Lute (guitar/vocals), Val Glenn (bass) and Courtney Hall (drums).
Opening their set with an uptempo guitar riff, the band launched into Demon Dawg. It had a very 1970’s avant-feel, full of theremin awesomeness and channeling Patti Smith’s art-rock vibe.
There was a fury and frenetic pace to Speed Ghost, with the rhythm section carrying the flag behind Jackson’s vocals. The punk angst was immediately felt by those in attendance.
Slowing the pace, Belly Rubber felt like slow sludge with a marked grindhouse groove to it. Lute’s guitar bridge midway through the song reminded one of early Sonic Youth, before the tune faded into a noise rock.
Bastard Child had Jackson conjuring the best of 1970’s punk with her vocal work. With its changing tempo, the crowd roared their appreciation at its conclusion. Following this, they slowed things down again, with the Twin Peaks inspired Death Bag. Jackson’s exquisite playing of the theremin gave the song dark overtones.
The groove-laden heaviness of Cupid assaulted our eardrums next, turning the energy up a notch in the process. From the punk rock ending of the tune, they transitioned almost seamlessly into Mr. Goddamn. The feedback-laden intro meshed well with Jackson alternating between spoken word and almost screaming the lyrics.
At this point, their set almost went off the rails. Lute’s guitar amp decided that now would be a good time to shit the bed. Instead of silence on the stage, Glenn began to serenade the crowd with some chugging grooves emanating from her bass. Hall took her cue from Glenn, layering in some drums to coincide with the bass.
After a few minutes, a new amp was acquired and plugged in. Launching into Bight, they carried an uptempo pace, but the frenetic vibe and energy were lost.
They began to regain the energy with the ghoulish howling of Gas Station Exclusive, its faster pace getting the crowd back into the swing of things.
Perhaps paying homage to David Thomas playing the same venue five days previously, they closed their set with the fast pace of Street Waves. Their Pere Ubu cover is a staple of their shows, with the crowd thoroughly enjoying the vibe. As the tune progressed, it devolved into noise before coming full-circle and ending.
For anyone not fortunate enough to have seen and heard the art rock scene in the 1970’s, DANA will make you feel as though you are right back in the thick of it. Their sound is not dated, but their influences are unmistakable.
Make time to experience DANA. You’ll be happy you did.
- Demon Dawg
- Speed Ghost
- Belly Rubber
- Bastard Child
- Death Bag
- Cupid –>
- Mr. Goddamn
- Gas Station Exclusive
- Street Waves (Pere Ubu cover)
DANA – Street Waves (Pere Ubu)