Over A Decade Hiatus And The Distillers Still Have It


It was snowing as I walked from my car to The Varsity Theater near the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Snowing. Literally snowing. It is not even mid-October and it was snowing. White stuff falling from the sky as I shivered. Okay, clearly it was a bit of a shock and, judging by the way people were driving as I drove across town to get to the show, I wasn’t the only one who was shocked. Although staying at home with a nice pot of chili in the crock pot and a candle going on the counter sounded like the perfect way to spend the first snow of the season, the concert Gods had something else in mind and were finally granting me a chance to see the one and only Distillers live. I wasn’t going to miss this chance no matter what.

Los Angeles based Death Valley Girls were the first and only opening act for the Friday night show. Although they coined the phrase themselves, “California doom boogie” may be the perfect and only way to accurately describe their music. It was dark and almost ominous but still had a very California surf rock vibe to it while meshing perfectly with the almost aggressive nature of The Distillers. Although the beats definitely weren’t as upbeat as the headliner’s and the vocals weren’t as in your face, there was something highly energetic about this band’s like performance. Even though it didn’t really come off as mosh-pit type music, a small pit formed in the audience. If you were just listening to the music, this pit wouldn’t make any sense but, if you felt the energy in the room last night, it would make perfect sense. There was something captivating about this band and although it may take me a couple more times of seeing them before saying I’m completely in love with this band, I am definitely intrigued.

Where do I begin with The Distillers and what this band means to me? Growing up in the early 2000’s, my playlist was full of pop-punk and punk bands with their angsty words and energetic vibes. I loved it and immersed myself in a very eclectic scene of music. It didn’t take me long to realize that my playlist was lacking a feminine touch. Sure, there was Paramore and Avril Lavigne but those weren’t quite for me (or at least I wouldn’t admit it). That’s when my friends showed me The Distillers fronted by Brody Dalle. I finally had a role model in the music scene. I loved everything about her from her look, her sound, and, most importantly, her attitude. She was truly everything I wanted to be and although I poured myself over The Distillers’ three album career, I never had the chance to see them live. The band broke up in 2006 and my heart broke. I had come to the terms with the face I would never see Brody Dalle live and would never hear those iconic songs in concert. All of a sudden there was movement on the band’s social media and then a couple of shows down south were announced and then, like fate, a Minneapolis show was announced and to say I was excited was and understatement but, I digress. You are not here to read about my obsession with this band and Brody Dalle, let’s get onto the show…

Brody seemed soft spoken for the big attitude and personality that had me hooked back in the day but that didn’t phase me much, as soon as the band jumped into their nearly twenty song set, I was hit with a wall of nostalgia and angst. It was clear that the audience was getting hit by the same wall and, within the first couple of notes, the crowd surfers had gone up and the pit had expanded into a sweaty mess. Although it wasn’t a sold out show (it was pretty packed, don’t get me wrong), the Varsity was filled with as much, if not more, energy as a sold out show. You could feel that other people were in my boat and had been dying for a chance to catch this highly influential band live and, now that it was here, they weren’t going to miss a single moment of it.

For having just gotten over a twelve year hiatus, it’s truly amazing just how great this band sounded. It sounded just like their recordings that I used to worship back in the day but the sound had a bit of a grittier element to it. Brody had a very “I don’t give a fuck attitude” when it came to performing the songs but she had a very wholesome vibe about her as she thanked the audience between nearly every song. I wanted to hear her talk about what she had been up to for the past decade but, instead, I just got song after song and honestly, as much as I wanted to hear about what happened, I was just as content listening to the songs that helped shape the rocker I am today. Dramatic, yes, of course, but honestly this band means so much to me and finding someone like Brody Dalle definitely had a lasting impression on me. I definitely think things with me may have turned out a bit different had I never been introduced to this band.

I never thought last night was going to happen. I never thought I’d be able to see The Distillers live. I had come to terms with that. Now that I’ve had a chance to sleep on exactly what happened last night, I’m not quite sure how I had become okay with notseeing these guys live. I had definitely set the bar high for last night’s show and The Distillers definitely hit that bar and then some.