- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 6, 2017

VIENNA, Va. — Blondie, Garbage and Deap Vally — three rock bands with almost 70 years of combined performing prowess — offered a diverse evening of energetic sets to a near-capacity crowd at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center late last week.

Fueled by female singing power, each made the “Rage and Rapture” tour stop a rousing evening for fans.

Let’s look, in reverse order, at the bands appearing that delivered close to three hours of music.

One of the legends of the new wave scene, Blondie, headlined the evening and was led, as always, by the timeless Debbie Harry.

She may be 72 years old (that’s right), but she looked 30 and enthusiastically sang, spoke about keeping the bee population healthy and kept the audience-engaged during the roughly 75-minute set.

Wearing a bee-shaped hair band and black cape with the message “Stop F–– With the Planet,” early on, she first tackled a punk-paced version of “One Way or Another” and “Hanging on the Telephone.”

Touring in support with their new album “Polinator,” the band offered four cuts mixed within the 13-song set. Favorites of the new tunes were the dance-beat-infused “Fun” and “Long Time.” The latter gave Miss Harry the chance to flex her vocals, reminiscent of the days when “Heart of Glass” ruled the charts.

The band also delivered its hits including “Rapture,” “Call Me,” “Atomic,” “The Tide is High,” “Dreaming” and, of course, the disco-days “Heart of Glass.”

Oddly, Blondie also played a Bob Dylan classic ” Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” It was quite a moment to hear everyone in the audience sing the refrain with Miss Harry, “everybody must get stoned.”

Besides proficient leads from guitarists Chris Stein and Tommy Kessler and keyboardist Matt Katz Bohen, veteran drummer Clem Burke was often in the spotlight.

Sitting behind a near cage of translucent plastic, he offered a welcomed level of showmanship, hard-hitting drum introductions and fills as well as stick twirling and flipping.

Opening for Blondie, a formidable Shirley Manson led her Garbage bandmates through a history of the group touching on 15 songs from their 20-year career.

Miss Manson, wearing a zebra-patterned dress sang exceptionally strong during the 75-minute set as she stalked around the stage, paced in a circle between the musicians and often grabbed at the bottom of her dress and jutted her wireless microphone forward like a knife in rhythm to the sonic attacks.

For the casual Garbage listener, they played the major hits including “I Think I’m Paranoid,” “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Stupid Girl,” “Special” and “The World Is Not Enough” (from the 1999 James Bond film of the same name).

For the fan, they offered “No Horses,” “Sex is Not the Enemy,” “Queer,” ” Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!),” “Push It” and “#1 Crush.”

For the hardcore devotee, she sang “Bleed Like Me” (Miss Manson considered it the song to gauge whether “you are into us or not into us”) and the extended pop Goth maelstrom of “Vow.”

At one point during “Vow,” the singer, with her stark red hair sweeping about, squirmed on the ground as the music swelled around her.

Another highlight of the set was watching the pair of guitarists, Steve Marker and Duke Erickson, on either side of the stage all night, forcefully pushing their instruments to make noises Adrian Belew would admire.

All told, it was a serious dose of apocalyptic relationship rage that thrilled the Garbage supporters in attendance.

However, the biggest surprise was the band starting off the evening, Deap Vally.

The rock duo, consisting of Lindsey Troy on guitar and lead vocals and Julie Edwards on drums and backing vocals only played five songs over the 20 minutes or so of allotted time, but they made an impact.

The pair, looking plucked from a 1970s glam rock era, mixed the heavy metal ax sounds and drum pounding of early Black Sabbath with the singing angst of the Runaways and the White Stripes.

Of their offerings, the addictive “Baby I Can Hell,” and “Royal Jelly” seem destined for arena rock anthem status when they attain superstardom.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide