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She Wants Revenge at the Satellite on Monday June 20th, 2011

There was a nice surprise for people who had already planned their evening at the Satellite on Monday night, the club made an unexpected announcement that She Wants Revenge would play a set around 9 pm. Monday nights being free in addition, I expected a larger crowd than usual, and there was effectively a long line to get in the club.

Last May, She Wants Revenge  released a new album ‘Valleyheart’, a love letter to the San Fernando Valley, after a long hiatus of four years, so some people may have forgotten a little bit about them, and I have no idea about the size of the crowd they drained at Coachella since they were playing against Kanye West on Sunday night at 11 pm! Tough one, but they have to wonder whether it was a good or a bad thing, since people who went to see them had to be either Kanye haters or really dedicated fans.

Of course, they filled up the Satellite pretty well despite the last minute announcement, and I found a place on the side of the stage just in front of an impressive row of guitars

. Wearing a ‘Suicidal tendencies’ turned backward cap, Justin Warfield is still singing with this dark, almost like a creepier Bowie, quite monochord but interestingly deep tone. The music was filled with heavy grilling bass lines, but there was nevertheless more brightness in their elaborate tunes. There also was an undeniable dance-beat, almost-disco-feel, although in no way they were playing disco, but foot tapping was sure coming easily.

With Adam Bravin on bass and two other musicians on guitar and drums, you could right away notice the absence of synth, which was all over their preceding albums. Justin Warfield was sometimes playing guitar, and sometimes just expressively moving his hands during the songs, pointing his finger to people in the crowd.

With long, sinister-mood bass and guitar riffs slowly introducing the song, continuing through it and building a groove by amplifying in intensity but rarely changing of direction, they even incorporated some bluesy elements in this 80s Depeche-Mode-dance-floor display. Some tracks were more reminiscent of what they had done in the past, other ones were a sort of departure from their old material, without having completely forgotten it.

With lots of reverb in the guitars, some songs were exploding into a noisy electronic coolness, with Warfield’s soaring vocals, and all of their tunes had a real catchiness.

Through the set, a lot of influences could be picked up, from the easy Interpol comparison  (done since their early beginning), to the toughness and aggressive delivery of Queens of The Stone Age, although I’m not sure if these heavy rockers could be regarded as an influence, but the quartet was rocking hard on Monday night.

And the lyrics? There’s still a lot of ‘She’, and it is still a lot about girl’s bodies and dance moves: ‘His hand against her cheek/Her tongue against his neck, he sang in ‘Take the World’, or ‘She moves with me, her body's the answer’ in ‘Reasons’, and all the valley girls are still dancing on their dark beats.

Take the world
Kiss Me
Up in Flames
Little Stars
May be she’s right
Must be the One

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