Monday, March 12, 2012


Yeah, it's pretty much going to surprise no one that I'm about to rave over One-Eyed Doll's performance in Baltimore last night at Ram's Head Live, but that's because I'm a sensible person.  How anyone can see the mighty Austin, TX duo in action and not be blown away is simply incomprehensible!

Was beyond psyched to finally get to see One-Eyed Doll live after months of singing their praises here on the blog, over on my Facebook page, and, frankly, anywhere anyone would listen.  Assiduous readers will recall that shortly after I was introduced to the band they were scheduled to play in Allentown, PA - not too far away from good ol' Lancaster - and I was geared up for that show only to find it cancelled at the last minute.  (Long time friends will recall that I like to use the word "assiduous" whenever I can.  I can be a vocab snob sometimes.)  Of course, as soon as the current tour in support of Orgy was announced and a Baltimore show was added to the itinerary, I knew I would be there come hell or high water!

I've mentioned before that Baltimore is swiftly becoming my favorite town for music.  It's only about an hour and a half each way from where I sit in PA, and this particular venue is easy to get to (pretty much a straight shot down I-83 right into the city) and has an attached parking garage with entrance right to the club door - no waiting in long preshow lines on the street like most clubs!  Heck, the restroom even had an attendant - and after many years of experiencing seriously dodgy if not outright vomitous club bathrooms, it was nice to see a clean one that didn't make me feel like I should burn my shoes after setting foot inside.

The show was originally scheduled to be three bands, with Richmond, VA's Faultline joining One-Eyed Doll and Orgy on the bill.  Had a chance to talk with One-Eyed Doll's drummer Jason Rufus "Junior" Sewell before the show at the merch table, and learned that Faultline would not be there.  Apparently, they have split up the band.  So, it became a two-band show with each band getting a little more stage time. Nice.

Technically the set-up was One-Eyed Doll opening for Orgy, but it felt more like Orgy mopping up after One-Eyed Doll tore the place down!  Kimberly Freeman is simply an unstoppable force.  From her stark good-little-goth-girl look to her gymnastic choreography (how does she kick that high?), she seizes your attention from the moment she steps onstage and never lets you out of her clutches. She tells stories, insists on crowd participation, showers the front rows with mouthfuls of water, stalks around the stage like a lioness protecting her territory, and collapses in apparently complete exhaustion between songs only to quickly rise and begin the process anew.  She is constant motion, leaping the barricade to become one with the crowd, tumbling back onto the stage like a rag doll, literally bending over backwards for her performance at times.  She pulls various hats out of a bag behind her amp, but none of them stay on her head very long: a few seconds of wild hair-whipping headbanging sends each one flying.  Yet through all the fury, her guitar never stops - and when you look past the show, she's a damn good guitarist.

Speaking of damn good, if you can somehow manage to summon the strength to tear your eyes away from Kimberly, you'll notice Junior bashing his drums as though his job is to pound them into the ground like nails in a board.  On this evening, his intensity was such that by the midpoint of their set one of his cymbals was literally cracked halfway though!  While he may not be the visual focal point of the show, he is the constant driver of it's ferocity.  

On this night, they scorched through an excellent set, opening with "Committed" and including "Nudie Bar," "Fight," "Pao!," and "Be My Friend" among others - a good representation of their material and their wicked sense of humor.  The closer was an awesome rendition of "Monster," culminating in Kimberly's running leap across the stage into Junior's drum kit, sending drums, cymbals, and Junior sprawling across the floor.  Always helpful, she then picked Junior up by the throat and drug him to center stage where they took their bow before demanding that we all follow her as she leaped the barricade into the crowd and became our pied piper leading us to the merch table, where she and Junior spent the better part of the next hour or so talking to fans, signing autographs, and taking pictures.  Kimberly and Junior are simply two of the nicest, friendliest people.  They truly seem honored by their fans' adulation, and were more than willing to spend time with each and every person.

Orgy turned out to be better than I expected, especially given the task of having to try to follow One-Eyed Doll.  This tour is Orgy's return after 7 or 8 years of inactivity; in actuality, this version of the band contains only one original member, Jay Gordon, and his newly-assembled troupe of musicians.  Orgy was one of those bands that always somehow flew under my radar in the '90s.  Of course, I knew of their cover of New Order's "Blue Monday," and had heard other tracks here and there, but I never really got into their music for whatever reason.  They sounded good last night, though - a bit like Pretty Hate Machine-era Nine Inch Nails crossed with a slicker-sounding Pop Will Eat Itself.  But even with five band members and an LED light show projected behind them, they didn't produce the same energy that two people with a guitar, drums and a bag of hats had created earlier in the night.  And while Orgy's set has inspired me to go back and learn what I missed the first time around, they ran probably about three songs too long - it all started to sound same-y too me.

Overall, I don't think I could have spent a better twenty bucks for a Sunday night's entertainment.  Now, I want you to listen to me closely:  if One-Eyed Doll plays anywhere near you, you must - MUST - go see them.  Drop whatever else you're doing, change plans, whatever, but you must go.  I promise you will not be disappointed!  I sure wasn't!

As always, more pics from the show will be up on the That's What I Was Going To Say Facebook page later tonight. Stop by and maybe "like" the page while you're there, won't you?
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