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The Donnas Are More Than Pretty

The Donnas/OK Go/Rooneys
The Barrymore
Madison, WI
Feb. 14, 2003
The Donnas
The Donnas spread their love.
The Rooneys yap it up.

Review and photos by Terry Mayer

What better way to spend Valentines Day than with four lovely ladies known as the Donnas. But, before we get to the quartet of lovely ladies you have to go through Rooney and OK Go first.
Los Angeles band Rooney kicked off the night with a busload of confidence. Although they looked like they were straight out of high school they played as well as any of today's more melodic garage bands. With a sound that complimented OK Go and The Donnas, the band took the music into high gear. Mixing styles from the sixties to the present the band came off sounding more like the Beatles than anything else. The song "If It Were Up To Me" started out more like a cheap 50's foray, than turned it inside out to find its punk roots. A very interesting mixture that surprisingly worked well. Robert Carmine sang with admiration for "Daisy Duke" which was a catchy pop tune peppered with crunchy hooks from the rest of the band. The lead singer looked like a young Joey Ramone without the punk sneer. The boys ended their set with the honey-laced "Popstars." It was a nice beginning to this evening's trifecta.
The Donnas What is it that makes OK Go so likable? Is it being featured on Madden 2003 video game (a must have) or is it the tunes that you can't shake once they've set their hooks into your brain? Whatever it is the Chicago based band is popping up everywhere. Their camaraderie with the crowd is genuine. You feel like you have known these guys your whole life. "You're So Damn Hot" heated up the cold Madison night as more and more fans entered the venue only to find themselves diving right into the fun. Not forgetting it was Valentine's Day, the band threw out lots of chocolate kisses. Sure it tasted like chalk, but it showed that they appreciated the fans being there. "What to Do" started the pinging from the keyboard, the banging of the drums and the furious thump of the bass until they all decided to meld together and form a pretty decent dance number. "Hello, My Treacherous Friends" found it's melodies ring forth with a happy-go-lucky resonance. Ending with the fastly paced and self depreciating charm of "Get Over It," OK Go has a place at the table that has been set next to the Barenaked Ladies and Tenacious D. Buffet style, of course.
The Donnas Diehards might remember them as Raggedy Anne which begot the Electrocutes which begot the DONNAS. In May of 2003 the band will celebrate their 10-year anniversary together. OK, I am only going to do this once so read carefully. Donna C is the drummer (Torry Castellano), while Donna A is the lead singer (Brett Anderson), Donna F is the bass player (Maya Ford) and lead guitar is Donna R (Allison Robertson).
They've seem to have sprung-up from nowhere instantly, like a tasty Pop Tart that's not quite done, but the Donnas have been together since high school and have produced five albums thus far. The Kens were here to see their Barbies. Donna A handled the mic like a pro. "Do You Wanna Hit It" from Turn 21 got the fans moving forward and getting as close to the stage as the security guards would allow. Their new album Spend The Night, their biggest album to date, is just what fans of the Runaways and the Go-Gos have been waiting for. "You Wanna Get Me High" had the right attitude and verve that pounded the fans into a giant pretzel begging for the mustard. Their special odor catching the flaring nostrils of the entire band. "Hyperactive" from Get Skintight had Donna A thrashing her hair back and forth being careful not to displace it's chaotic order. "Midnight Snack" was a sinful snippet brought straight out of the closet.
"Not the One" and "Take It Off" from Spend the Night got Donna R slashing the guitar feverishly as she strutted to the front stage, as Donna F did the little bounce and kick step while beating the bass like a bratty child defying her mother, yet again. "5 O'clock In The Morning" and "Who Invited You" found the band in total unison as it kicked away the rock 'n roll gender bias with some spirited stage antics. Donna C never slowed as she kept the backbone of the band intact with "Skintight" and "All Messed Up." The rest of the band kept the pace that would never waver. "You've Got A Crush On Me" was what every guy in attendance had for the Donnas and they knew it as their flirtations became even more aggressive.
The Donnas have great potential. With national exposure on Rolling Stone and their guest spot on SNL, they have what it takes to claim an identity from all of the female bands of the past. All they need is more experience with the bigger crowds, which is what they are drawing now. They are genuine and love what they do. With each album they continue to grow and learn how to make their sex appeal transcend their music.

The Donnas
OK Go throw out the kisses.

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