Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Dum Dum Girls

New Yorkers punch out unflappable cool

Dum Dum Girls’ six-year evolution has seen the band progress from lo-fi home recording project to state-of-the-art studio outfit, with leader/sole charter member Dee Dee Penny’s melodically arresting songs and aching, emotive voice as the common threads.

The project’s increasingly formal direction yields mixed results on the current Too True, virtually a Dee Dee solo effort, whose gauzy, claustrophobic production often feels at odds with her compositions’ openhearted appeal.

The songs had a chance to breathe during the band’s Fun Fun Fun set on Sunday, in which Dee Dee and her three-woman, one-dude live lineup (none of whom play on Too True) imbued “Cult of Love,” “Rimbaud Eyes,” and “Lost Boys and Girls Club” with the warmth and swagger that’s lacking in their overly clinical recorded incarnations. The material was elevated by Dee Dee’s increasingly confident stage presence, her band’s scrappy, forceful playing, and the surging harmonies of guitarist Jules Medeiros, bassist Malia James, and drummer Sandy Vu.

Exuding unflappable cool throughout the brisk 50-minute set, the band outlasted the muddy sound that marred the first couple of numbers and grew looser and more assured as the performance progressed. While Too True tunes carried the emotional punch and melodic uplift that are Dum Dum Girls’ dual calling cards, old favorites “It Only Takes One Night” and “I Got Nothing” brought the set home in effortlessly majestic style.

Dee Dee Penny and Sandy Vu (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

Check out our complete Fun Fun Fun Fest coverage.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Fun Fun Fun Fest
Fun Fun Fun Comedy: Your Lineup Is...
Fun Fun Fun Comedy: Your Lineup Is...
For the 10th fest, "FFF" can stand for "familiar funny folk"

Robert Faires, July 28, 2015

Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Wiz Khalifa
Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Wiz Khalifa
Trust your mofo MC

Nina Hernandez, Nov. 10, 2014

More by Scott Schinder
Music DVDs
The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark

Dec. 19, 2014

Box Sets
Bob Dylan & The Band
The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (Record Review)

Dec. 12, 2014


Fun Fun Fun Fest, Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014, Dum Dum Girls, Dee Dee Penny, Sandy Vu, Jules Medeiros, Malia James

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle