“She Wants Revenge Isn’t Going Anywhere” And Slay At The Fonda REVIEW+PHOTOS: She Wants Revenge of Doom at The Fonda 8/31/22
LOS ANGELES, CA- Most everything is ephemeral. Unless it has been memorialized in some way, moments in time pass in that instant. There are many ways to memorialize epochs of time, but perhaps the most universally loved way to do so is through music. Memories of times gone by can flood back with a certain melody that a generous DJ or playlist offers through your speakers.
Unlike their music, musicians/artists are ephemeral. One day your favorite artist could be releasing a new project, and on the next day, they could decide to end that lane of creativity leaving only the art that they’ve already made for you to hold onto. But lovers of their art always hold onto the hope that they’ll return to create/recreate the magic that they had made in the past.
Back in 2020, She Wants Revenge, an American rock band formed by singer/guitarist Justin Warfield and multi-instrumentalist Adam Bravin, announced that their much-loved group was officially calling it a day. Though their last official single was released in 2018, with their last studio album released in 2011, She Wants Revenge had an incredibly loyal fan base who loved their gothic, darkwave synth rock, and the news of their disbandment surprised them hard, myself included, especially since they seemed to have a bit a resurgence in interest when their music was featured in an integral scene of American Horror Story: Hotel’s season premier in 2015.
Earlier this year, I was DM’d a message from a friend of mine who directed me to a She Wants Regenge Instagram post that announced that the She Wants Revenge would resume recording and touring. They further explained that “This isn’t a reunion, it’s a continuation. SWR is bigger than two individuals. It no longer has to break up or cease to be due to timing, life, and personalities, and it won’t. Love us, hate us, or scroll past indifferently, She Wants Revenge isn’t going anywhere.” Huzzah!
It’s hard to keep good things down, and I always had a feeling that there was a chance that She Wants Revenge would return at some point down the road. Creativity and inspiration can come at any time, and why would one ever want to wrench up an outlet for that? When I found out that they would be touring throughout the second half of 2022, I made it a point to make sure I penciled in their August 31st, 2022 date at the Fonda.
Kicking off the evening’s offering of brooding electronic music was the LA-based band Creature of Doom. They are a new band with their origin story starting sometime during 2020 founded by David Baldwin, who is an also a member of the indie rock/psychedelic pop band The Dig, which was reformed as Human Love around the same time that Davide started up Creature of Doom.
David’s music with Creature of Doom is a sharp contrast to the pop-leaning fare that he made with The Dig, but man, did it set the stage for the rest of the evening. With only one 4-song EP, Tears of Joy (2020), and the 2021 single “Dead Ringer” in their repertoire, their set was relatively short but, I think it was the perfect length as swelled with really dark warmth that bathed those in attendance with a sense of eerie calm. The female singer’s breathy vocals added to the mystery. Mood music in the darkest sense, and I was feeling it.
The next act to stage the stage was D’Arcy. This young woman was new to me and trying to find stuff on the internet about her back story was a bit tough. Every google search of “D’arcy” led me to the former bass player of the Smashing Pumpkins. Thankfully, she was a little easier to find on Spotify.
When I check out her playlist, I noticed that she seemed to be evolving before our eyes/ears. Her recordings from 2020-21 feel more pop-leaning. Her 2021 EP, Hard To Kill, definitely has a tinge of that brooding She Wants Revenge darkness, especially in her lyrics, but its production sounds like it was intentionally tailored to cater to a pop audience. All of her singles since Hard To Kill, from “Lover” to “The Best of Me”, seems to take the opposite approach to music production. The minimalist nature of the instrumental arrangements, with a real focus on emphasized basslines, simple drum tracks, and the vocal track gives her music post Hard To Kill so much more depth and intensity.
That minimalism came to life as she performed her set solo behind her synth setup, and it seemed to really showcase the emotionality of her and her music. There was a real sense of vulnerability in her performance. Whether that was a result of D’Arcy truly digging deep into the lyrics of her music or a result of a young artist performing alone in front of a packed theater at a heralded venue, it didn’t matter. It definitely left a positive impression.
As an added treat, She Wants Revenge’s Justin Warfield came on to duet a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” with D’Arcy. Be sure to click through the link in the photo above to check out a clip of that performance.
To say that the room was ready for She Wants Revenge would be a bit of an understatement. Anxious fans who had stayed up at the barricade all evening to get front-row seats to the show were giddy with anticipation with one young lady literally losing her mind, jumping up and down in place with nervous energy.
As soon as the curtains lifted, all of the black-clad goths in the room raised their voices as Adam, Justin and the band stepped onto the stage. They were cheers of joy, but you could also sense a real sense of relief in the room. It’s a bit hard for me to describe it, but these Angelenos were witnessing the return of something that they thought was no more. How many times can one be there to see a phoenix rise from ashes? This felt like a special moment, and I’m pretty sure the whole room felt that way as well.
Throughout the course of the night, they played what was essentially a setlist of “greatest hits”. In between their opener “Red Flags and Long Nights” to the last song of their encore “Tear You Apart”, they sprinkled in songs from their much loved like “Written In Blood”, “She Will Always Be A Broken Girl” and “Out of Control”. The black-clad bodies in the room all swayed to the hypnotizing tempo of the music through the entire set, only momentarily breaking their gyrations to applaud vigorously between songs.
Justin, Adam, and the company were in good form, looking and sounding pristine. Justin was particularly effective when he didn’t have a guitar in his arms, allowing his long, lean body to seductively dance with the audience around his microphone stand or point into the crowd, or in the air, during lyrical moments adding a sense of urgency to the propulsive drive fo the music.