Boston's all-female Dangerous Birds make music in which questions of gender are simply not important. Playing on the same bill Saturday night at the 9:30 club, the Catholic Girls, from New Jersey, went out of their way to make such matters obtrusive--often to the point of being obnoxious.
Dangerous Birds performed hot, psychedelicized garage-rock not unlike Washington's own Slickee Boys. Guitarist Thalia Zadek handled the bulk of lead vocal duties, delivering one powerful original after another in a gritty, gutteral, driving tone. On some songs, such as "Jungle Heat," piano player Lori Green took over, picking up guitar and singing in a sweeter, more tuneful voice. Working together, this pair produced some devastating harmonies pointing up the subtle but solid lyricism that underlay even their most uproarious rockers.
The Catholic Girls, arrayed in cutesy high school jumpers, too much makeup and teased hair, called to the minds of some a perfunctorily punked-up version of the Mandrell sisters.
Their songs are full of soap-opera anguish and bleating, vibrato vocals. Too much of the playing broke down into pedestrian hard-rock clippity-clop.
Sometimes the two guitars melted in a chiming Byrds-via-Fleetwood Mac concord that was charming. Early in the set some of the songs boasted sturdy hooks and pretty tunes. Otherwise . . . well, this is one girl band whose dumb image suits it perfectly.