SEATTLE — "We wanna know ... who wants to rock'n'rolllll?" A crammed roomful of baby grrrls, fresh-faced punks and too-cool-for-school hipsters, plus the odd preteen and dirty old man, that's who.
After chanting their idols' names in anticipation, the sold-out Graceland crowd answered Donnas lead singer Donna A.'s question with a glass-shattering roar Saturday night, and there would be no letting up for the next 60 minutes.
After bounding onstage to Guns N' Roses' "You Could Be Mine," the girls — dead-sexy in second-skin jeans, Converse sneakers and oodles of shaggy rock hair — launched into to the first two tracks off last year's The Donnas Turn 21, "Are You Gonna Move It for Me?" and "Do You Wanna Hit It?," with it's naughty-girls-need-love-too lyrics, "All messed up, and I don't care/ So c'mon, take off your underwear," finding more than a few takers in the crowd.
While the band adjusted its amps, Donna F. grabbed the mic and told a few jokes before the girls regrouped and launched into "It's on the Rocks," the kickoff track from their latest dirty deed, Spend the Night, followed by "Take Me to the Backseat," which Donna A. dubbed "our slow jam," and Get Skintight's "Hyperactive."
The snarling "Too Bad About Your Girl" and the pouty "Please Don't Tease" went by in sharp three-minute, three-chord bursts, as Donna A. writhed, teased and shook her hips with all the swagger of Mick Jagger and the girl-group coyness of a Ronnette.
A trio of songs — "Dirty Denim," "All Messed Up" and "Pass It Around" — off last week's new album were only a few days old to most of the record-buying public, but fans in the front row were quick studies, chanting along and pumping their fists nearly as much as they did for older favorites like "Midnight Snack."
For the kiss-off "I Didn't Like You Anyway," Donna A. tossed off her lyrics with disdain, singing, "You thought I would be brokenhearted/ Maybe if you weren't so retarded/ I asked your name, you don't even know/ You should have dumped me on that talk show."
It's obvious the 22- and 23-year-old Donnas aren't the same Palo Alto, California, schoolgirls sneaking smokes in the bathroom they were when they first started. Despite technical difficulties throughout the show, the ladies stayed strictly professional and on point. Guitarist Donna R. — all Angus Young and Slash action, fierce and feminized — has developed into a serious musician, and drummer Donna C. now anchors the band, her hair and drumsticks a blurred cyclone of activity.
A two-song encore that kicked off with the dismissive "Who Invited You" (introduced cryptically as "about some people on our last tour") went out with a "Skintight" bang — literally. Donna R.'s amp blew out before the song was through. Too much power for their own good, those Donnas.
The Campfire Girls, survivors of the mid-'90s signing boom on Interscope, were all male and had not a box of Thin Mints between them to sell, but the crowd liked them anyhow, though not quite as much as the also L.A.-bred Your Enemies Friends, whose sludgy, sexy debut, The Wiretap E.P., has found local fans aplenty.
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