TVD Live: The Ettes
at the Black Cat, 9/3

For a while now, I’ve heard talk of The Ettes. I didn’t know much other than that they opened up for the Dead Weather during their latest tour. I finally checked them out, and it was like finding the long-lost love I’d never known I was missing. The trio made up of Coco (Vocals, Guitar), Poni (Drums), and Jem (bass) struck the right blues, beat-punk/garage-rock chord in me. When I heard about their newest album Wicked Will, which came out on August 2nd, I knew it would be love.

Lucky for me, and any of you who made it out to the Black Cat on Saturday night, we got to see The Ettes play the last show of their latest month-long tour. If you didn’t get to see The Ettes play, here’s a snap shot of what you missed: loud beat-punk filled with blues riffs to die for, Poni, whom I am now calling the female Slash of drumming with her big hair and insane playing, two rounds of shots, and girls taking their shirts off. Sad you missed out? Yeah, you should be.

The Ettes hit the stage and unleashed a mass of sound with “Excuse” off their new album. The first thing I noticed when The Ettes started playing was Poni on the drums. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it. She was explosive, playing with a fierce intensity and a windmill strike on the cymbals that set the pace for the show. She is the latest addition to the list of female drummers I call my heroes.

For the first three songs, it was clear the girls ruled the roost; Coco and Poni had all the attention. Then Jem came to run with the girls on “Red in Tooth and Claw.” He came in hard on the bass and was backed up by Poni, who needed to stand up in order to pound in the kick drum. (I know drums don’t have feelings, but I seriously felt bad for those drums—she was wailing!) The next few songs had Jem leading the charge with great exchanges with Coco’s blues riffs on the guitar and her Wanda Jackson-esque voice.

In the middle of the first set, The Ettes played a slew of songs off their new album, including “Teeth,” with an awesome guitar solo by Coco, “One by One,” and “You Were There.” Then the night took a hard turn on Whiskey Lane when shots were ordered. Coco called for shots, and someone in the crowd bought the band a round. During “I Get Mine, the shots were ready, and Coco’s eyes lit up. Then the first shirt came off (Coco’s).

The second half of the first set was just as strong, with “The Worst There Is,” “Stay Where You Are,” “Pendulum,” and “My Heart.” Hearing The Ettes live gives you more of the grunge and fuzz of garage rock that sometimes gets lost on the album. During “Stay Where You Are,” Poni came in with strong beats, backed by Jem’s low, heavy bass, followed by the “wicked-willed” lyrics of Coco singing “You’re the pebble in my shoe/ I tell ya/ You won’t just let me be/ So I just hide/ And watch your face/ While you’re lookin’ for me.”

During the second half, Coco called for another round of shots to get Poni to join her in the shirts-off club, which didn’t take long to order. I’m not sure if this is a regular thing with Coco and Poni, but Jem must have a great time playing with two topless chicks night after night. The night ended with a short encore led by a short solo by Jem, who told the crowd to cheer more to get Coco and Poni to come back out. Once on stage (with shirts back on), The Ettes finished out the night with two songs.

The pure loudness of their playing and layers of sound all clashing together in the pure essence that is beat-punk, garage-rock blues was just what I was looking for. I’m hoping we’ll get to see The Ettes again soon with a longer tour to support Wicked Will. With what went on at the Black Cat, you should make damn sure you don’t miss them again.

Photo Credit: Lauren Jaslow, Snarky Studios

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