[ATTENDED: November 7, 2016] Dilly Dally
Although many of the shows I’ve attended recently have been by well established bands that I wanted to see for years, I really love seeing new bands who have grabbed my attention. Especially in a small club.
Dilly Dally are from Toronto and they were described to me as being like the Pixies meets Hole. And I can certainly hear that. They play loud aggressive alternative rock that’s headed by Katie Monks’ snarling singing voice and Liz Bell’s sharp and catchy lead guitar work. Bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz lay down a low end that keeps the sound grounded.
The band has one album out. A great album (with an absolutely terrible cover) that juxtaposes angry and pretty quite nicely in just thirty some minutes.
When I saw guitarist Liz earlier talking to someone, I didn’t realize she was the lead guitarist (I barely knew what any of the band looked like). And, in fact, I nearly crashed into the drummer about five times throughout the night as we kept walking past each other. So I was delighted not only to see Liz strap on her guitar but to hear her making those great riffs sound just like the album.
I didn’t really think that Katie’s voice would sound quite so…primal live, but it does. When they eventually played “Desire,” the track that opens with her snarling 1, 2, 3, 4, the sound was exact–like her throat really hurts after singing.
It was a lot of fun to watch Liz play. Oftentimes her head was down, her hair a wall in front of her as she played leads or coaxed feedback out of her amp. Or the way she kept the super catchy riff of Snakehead going. There were a few times when she waved her guitar at the amps to get a perfect feedback squeal, backing away before it had even started so that it was just a stab of sound. I got a kick out of her haircut which has been changing slowly over the tour from long locks to the half shaved design on stage.
But Katie is the clear front woman. She stands up on stage like she owns it, and she clearly does. There’s something in her posture and playing that is undeniable. She looks about six and a half feet tall. And when she snarls, which she does quite often, you pay attention. The fact that she was wearing a Britney Spears shirt was somehow perfect.
But beyond her singing, her guitar playing was spot on too. She also knows how to strangle noise from her guitar. But the band was mixed so well, that when she played quieter chords, they stood out amid the noise that was going on around them.
With two dynamic front women, the rhythm section is bound to take a back seat. Even though I’d nearly bumped into the drummer, I didn’t really watch him very much–but his presence was felt. This was especially true when the guitars were softer.
The bass had a great sound to it–a low rumble that you could feel. As good bassists tend to be, he was mostly invisible–but you were aware when he wasn’t playing. But on Alexander, which featured a lot of just bass and drums, the rhythm section really shone. That bass was perfectly low and rumbling.
They didn’t say much, but they didn’t need to. There was a brief exchange when someone said that Katie needed sunglasses from the bright lights. She said she was fine, but she does wear them at the dentist. Later she said that they were finishing up in the states soon to go back home to Toronto and write more songs and smoke more weed. But the crowd didn’t need her talking, at least not the guy next to me who was singing along with every scream.
One of the highlights for me was seeing them play “The Touch” which has a great opening riff (played with chords by Katie), some catchy “Yeah Yeah Yeah” screams, excellent work from bass and drums and even a nice quiet part.
After they ended their set with a scorching version of “Desire,” Katie took off her guitar, which crashed to the floor, and simply walked off the stage right through the audience. She ignored the guys who shouted “I love you” and the guy who patted her on the shoulder and simply headed back to the bar. As the music rumbled to a stop Liz looked up, quietly said Thanks and waved, and also left the stage. The set couldn’t have lasted more than an hour, but it was pretty perfect (and no complaints, the show was only $12).
I don’t know the names of most of their songs, but I suspect they played nearly the whole album. Judging by other recent shows, the setlist was probably something like this. The four songs with asterisks are not from the album. And “Know Yourself” is a Drake song which they totally make their own.
- Candy Mountain*
- Ballin Chain
- Snake Head
- Gender Role*
- Know Yourself*
- Purple Rage
- Get to You
- Ice Cream
- The Touch