Review :: DOM at VIVID
June 23rd 2011
Photos by Dan Boud.
Seeing DOM live should be a major energy-blast of fun.
This Massachussetts band is, after all, fronted by a dude who rocks a pink paisley guitar, a haircut from the soft-metal-era 80s and dance moves from Footloose. He's even turned his legal hassles into a part of his mystique (also called Dom, the lead singer coolly moonlights without a surname, apparently to fool his debt collectors).
Their debut EP has the jokey title of Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, which the four-piece originally printed in the LOLcats font. They write hockey anthems and want to be the Madonna of garage rock.
Turned loose in the Opera House for VIVID Live though, the band starts the set by goofing off to their scuzz-encrusted guitars and sandblasted-rough melodies. “Who is a fan of Cate Blanchett?” asks frontman Dom. He tells the crowd to “keep your applause down” as it’s opening night for the actress in the theatre next door. The following songs are anything but whisper-quiet though, with the band barreling into 'Bochicha' (a track about Dom’s cat, a breed apparently so vicious that it’s illegal in most of America; it’s also “the official brawl song” of their local hockey team).
“If you saved a life today, raise a hand,” says Dom to the crowd. Then to the drummer in the band: “Hit it Bob, you owe your life to me.” Cue the slouchy guitar grumbles of 'Jesus' (a song with the highly religious theme of partying in the basement) and, soon enough, Dom’s use of the stage as a dumping ground for complaints. First it begins with an audience putdown of how performing to this crowd is “almost as good as playing in front of ourselves in the mirror". Then, after a jangly new track, a comment about the disembowelling power of kangaroos (courtesy of an educational visit to Taronga Zoo) and the schlubby pop of 'I Wonder' ("things will get trashy 'till we get to my place"), the frontman has another crack at the crowd. "Feel free to stand around," says Dom. Spoiler alert, guys: audiences totally love guilt trips! It's the surefire way to get people to have an awesome time, as parental lectures have proven throughout history! Then the band plays, with zero irony, 'Burn Bridges' (“Burn bridges, make yourself an island”), and even though the crowd is rather compliant in seeming to have fun, Dom's target practice is not quite over. “Thanks for paying to see us,” he says, which seems to be a semi-resentful dig at the fact that the gig is not that crowded (and has been undoubtedly bulked out with door list guests). This not-so-huge turnout includes the punters who'd been scheduled to attend the previous night's gig (which had been cancelled, probably because – like the debt collectors the frontman is trying to shake off – not many people actually know who DOM actually is).
So, after only six or so songs, Dom launches into the last track, 'Living In America' – literally launching, with the lead singer propelling himself into the audience and crowd-surfing. He navigates against an awkward wave of upturned arms, as the confectionery-sticky synths and hair-frizzingly-fuzzy guitars blitz the room. He dances right in the middle of the crowd and then runs back onstage to smash a cymbal with his hands. It's the one truly livewire moment of the show and hints at how energis