Alibi V.23 No.22 • May 29-June 4, 2014 

Music to Your Ears

I Want Kandy

Mother Death Queen ... and kids
Mother Death Queen ... and kids
Kelly Vigil
They rock, they shred, and they melt faces. In this regard they are tireless. However, the members of Mother Death Queen are not what you’d call great self-promoters. Case in point: Readying themselves for Pride event Kandy Krush, they asked me to a “practice party” at the home of MDQ übergroupie Tami Abts (who I’ve known for a million years through defunct local music zines like Smartypants and Static). Feeling a bit nervous after an extended hiatus, the ladies decided to keep it small and intimate. To, y’know, just play it cool. As a result they collectively invited about three people, including me. They soon decided to call in the reserves and get more asses in the smattering of chairs disarrayed around the patio. That left more time to enjoy a generous spread of food. Besides the whiskey (of course), I went strictly for the coconut cake made in honor of guitarist Amy Clinkscales’ birthday. Of course, no one mentioned it beforehand, but never mind that. The way I see it, Clinkscales was giving us all a valued gift by rocking us out on her birthday. To that, the best we can offer in return is a heartfelt “thank you.” And a solemn promise to listen to more Mick Ronson records.

Mother Death Queen’s repertoire has drawn heavily on femme-fronted outfits from that godforsaken “alternative” era, ones that fell into some hole, buried under heavy rotation of swill like Sponge or Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.

Prior to aforesaid rocking, the opening act consisted of drummer Cara Tolino’s and guitarist Ella Brown’s kids, clearly relishing their turns at the mic and drums. In light of Kandy Krush, Tolino appropriately coached and cajoled them into trying “I Want Candy” ... when all they really wanted to do was sing the theme to something called Frozen. (My kids are grownups. I am way outta the loop.) No word on what bassist/vocalist Alexis Adams Vilorio’s baby boy thought of all this; we’ll ask him when he learns to talk.

If this practice was any indication, the show is gonna be a landmark. Besides MDQ’s few but compelling originals and songs by the likes of PJ Harvey, Nirvana and Kim Deal (a band fave), there’s a new batch of covers including the “leaked” news of The Go-Go's, Joan Jett and Amy Winehouse. I was sworn to secrecy about many other covers under pain of ... stern looks. Remember that women-in-rock “phenomenon” the hacks at Spin, Rolling Stone and even The New York Times blathered about back in the ’90s? No? Good. Women have always been a huge part of rock and roll. Anyway, Mother Death Queen’s repertoire has drawn heavily on femme-fronted outfits from that godforsaken “alternative” era, ones that fell into some hole, buried under heavy rotation of swill like Sponge or Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. So let’s challenge a bad reputation from naysayers who claim MDQ only plays songs headbanged to in their sonic youth. Sure, there’s some seething rock on which they’ve been working hard—like convicts back on the chain gang—but also expect some recent, surprising covers of top-40 teen queens that turn toxic megahits into gold.

Those few lucky bastards at the practice session—yes, I am going to rub it in—were treated to a loose but terrific private set that was all the more sweet since this ArtBar show could be their final one. Never say never and all that, but a word to the wise: Make the girl-group phenom’s sweet gig at ArtBar by Catalyst Club (119 Gold SW) on Saturday, May 31, starting at 7:30pm. DJs Anita, Matty Be and In.Dis.Cizion spin old-school hip-hop, and Sugar Babies Burlesque serves up eye candy. Tickets to this 21-plus party—also starring The Candy Lady’s confections and Self Serve’s sexy treats—range from $15 to $25. Learn more at abqkandykrush.com.

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