Auf Der Maur with Blinker the Star at the Horseshoe, November 2. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 200. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Melissa auf der maur is one of those people who was born for celebrity. She draws attention without appearing to try. Whether she's in a photo or actually physically present in a room, I have to stare at her. And obviously, I'm not the only one.
It's not merely because she's an über-babe. I mean, people like Jack Nicholson and Courtney Love possess this same quality. Whatever it is, it will probably ensure that no matter what she tries, she'll enjoy at least a modicum of success.
It wasn't any challenge to keep watching the stage when Auf Der Maur took over the Horseshoe last Sunday after some decent rock offerings from Blinker the Star .
The tunes showcased by Auf Der Maur and her band (called Auf Der Maur) are from her already recorded, soon-to-be-released record.
Listening to an entire set of songs you've never heard before can be kinda weird, but Auf Der Maur suggested that we think of them as "new friends."
That wasn't a bad idea. There are a couple I'll probably pretend not to see if I pass them in the street and another one or two who might come over and sit in my living room drinking all my wine and talking long after I've signalled it's time to leave.
All in all, we've got the makings of a finely balanced dinner party invite list.
Auf Der Maur tinkers with heavy Sabbathy riffs and bass lines, cross-checking them with an 80s Smiths/Morrissey and even Cureish jangle. She plays with tempos, running from a gallop - almost identical to that of Heart's Barracuda - to a diaphanous minimalism.
Her voice is throaty at its most whimsical, when she brings it down to a sweetly, childlike lilt. Then she can inject a surprising amount of power into things by bringing it up to an admirable wail.
There was a moment when things rolled into a march and, topped with the power vocals, became a tad reminiscent of Concrete Blonde's Bloodletting (The Vampire Song), which isn't my cup of tea. But for the most part the tunes were well constructed, with great dips and drives.
Auf Der Maur (the woman, not the band) is not the most avant-garde lyricist. Her words are often about love, tasting people you love and even, if I heard correctly, loving yourself.
But great songs don't necessarily require great lyrics, and when you watch Auf Der Maur onstage it's impossible to imagine for even one moment that anything less than great things are in store for the former Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist.
When she sings softly that she could "easily overpower you," you just think, "Lucky bastard."