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March 25, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Exhausted but unfazed, Perfect Pussy takes Seattle | Concert review

Perfect Pussy

Perfect Pussy, pictured, played The Vera Project Monday. Photo by Samantha Marble.

If you’ve read a music magazine lately — any magazine, really — odds are you’ve heard about Perfect Pussy, the band from the middle of nowhere with the unprintable name and unbeatable live show.

From Elle publishing singer Meredith Graves’ tour survival guide, to bloggers analyzing bassist Greg Ambler’s spontaneous decision to throw his instrument off a bridge at Austin’s South by Southwest conference, it’s easy to forget the Syracuse, New York five-piece didn’t even exist this time last year.

A curious audience gathered Monday at Seattle’s Vera Project to draw its own conclusions about these buzzed-about noise-punks.

Watching Graves command a room — cheeks flushed, eyes heavenward, consumed yet present — leaves little doubt as to what sets Perfect Pussy apart. It’s hard to take your eyes off her.

But her bandmates have personality, too. There’s Ambler, the black-clad punk archetype. Shaun Sutkus, the stoic sound manipulator. Ray McAndrew, the slight, nonchalant guitarist. Garrett Koloski, the burly, ponytailed drummer.

Although the group’s live performance was as passionate as advertised, it wasn’t seamless.

Their tour fatigue was apparent, plowing through songs off their just-released debut LP “Say Yes To Love” nearly twice as fast as the recorded versions. And the mix was askew, Sutkus’ feedback canceling out McAndrew’s riffs.

The biggest issue, however, was length. You can call it punk rock all you want, but $10 for 20 minutes of music inevitably elicits grumbling. In this case, it reminded the crowd that Perfect Pussy’s repertoire remains somewhat insubstantial.

Still, even if Monday’s set didn’t surpass expectations, it at least met them. Once the hype subsides, it’s anyone’s guess whether they’ll evolve, or disappear. Let’s hope for the former.

Earlier, locals Grackles threatened to steal the show, distilling psychedelic garage rock and restless post-hardcore into a tightly-wound two-piece setup.

The young band’s Internet footprint is minimal — 67 “likes” on a Facebook page that doesn’t so much as identify the members by name — but no matter.

If they keep at it, word-of-mouth will handle the rest.

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: experimental, punk, The Vera Project


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