24 OCTOBER, 2013debut album She's Gone, released next week on Don Giovanni, with a blistering set that answered all questions. Leader Ali Koehler was a winning combination of humble and asskicking, making jokes about her guitar volume and the newness of the group, but don't be fooled: the veteran drummer from Vivian Girls and Best Coast might be standing up front for a change, but she knows the drill. Leading off with album opener "Back To School", they settled in quickly, taking "Never Wanna" at a breakneck pace that trumped the recorded version, and revealed the band's secret weapon, ex-Hole drummer Patty Schemel, who kicked the band forward at every turn, and whose fortitude undoubtedly allowed Koehler the peace of mind to proceed up front.
Shifting gears down to first single "Oxfords and Wingtips", where their harmonies won the day, and it wasn't long before audience members pushed forward to present the band with their first onstage flowers. The remainder of their nine song set maintained the energy. Jenn Prince, (La Sera), was lively on guitar, lending a sublime solo to the title track, and Rachel Haden played supersub on bass for this date. She was loose and right in the groove with Schemel the whole set, and one hopes that her schedule will allow this arrangement to be permanent. The seeds are there, and it's scary to think how overwhelming this band will be a few dozen dates down the road.