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ACL Fest review: Deap Vally

Staff Writer
Austin 360

By Erin J. Walter

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 12, 2013

The ladies of Deap Vally rock so hard, they squeeze raindrops out of the sun. At least it felt that way.

Lindsey Troy came out wailing on guitar and vocals, with a barefoot Julie Edwards beating the tar out of her drums, and large raindrops immediately began to plop down on the grateful, sun-baked crowd. Tweets from a moment earlier, charging the L.A. duo with divadom due a 10-minute delay, were instantly forgotten (probably because Deap Vally’s blistering blues rock melted everyone’s cell phones in the 1 p.m. heat).

“Doing things that are bad for my body / Doing things that are bad for my health / Doing things that are bad for my image / Because I can’t help myself,” Troy sang on the catchy “Bad for My Body,” off this summer’s debut studio album “Sistrionix.” Troy and Edwards aren’t actually sisters (they met in a Silver Lake croquet class, of course), and it’s hard to imagine them doing anything bad for their image, considering the image is simply: badass.

Both musicians’ stage wear directly reflects their wild, ferocious sound: shredded short-shorts, fringe bra tops, and long shaggy hair that drips from well-earned sweat. It all works. It all feels LEGIT, as if the sheer power of the music is responsible for ripping Troy’s pantyhose.

But as cool as the members of Deap Vally look and as full-throttle as their instruments sound, the band’s empowering lyrics quickly take center stage. Forget Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Deap Vally’s “Make My Own Money” could be the anthem of every women’s rights event worth its salt from here on out. “You say marry a rich man / Find a rich one if you can. / Daddy don’t you understand? / I’m gonna make my own money / I’m gonna buy my own land.” (Dang, Deap Vally. I got choked up just typing that.)

Set standout “Walk of Shame” is nothing short of an instant classic. It starts with the memorable lines “Gonna take a walk of shame / Baby I don’t feel no blame / Cause I got places to go / But I got no change of clothes,” then turns the cliche on its head at the end. “Ima take a walk of pride. I got sunshine in my stride.”

Troy ably handled the bulk of the vocal duties, but occasionally and despite a mid-set mic mishap, Edwards would join her bandmate on wailing nah nah nahs and la dee da dee das. Nonsense syllables have never blown an audience’s collective hair back quite like this.

Before busting out fan request “Six Feet Under,” Troy gave a shout-out to a member of the crowd. “Is there someone named Lee here?” she asked, squinting into the sun. “Lee! Hi! Good to see you! This guy gave me guitar lessons 10 years ago.” (Aspiring guitar gods, get this Lee person’s number, STAT. Or better yet, lock yourself in your room and teach yourself all the riffs on “Sistrionix.”)

Deap Vally’s crowd was on the small side, surely due to the relatively early set time, and those who did attend didn’t show their enthusiasm by dancing and singing along like other crowds. But don’t take that as disinterest. Those few hundred people stood at rapt attention. One young woman whispered to a friend in between songs, “I love it. I want to see more girls rockin’ out.”

Fans came away from Deap Vally in awe, so bet they will tell their friends.

“If you really wanna try me, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” Troy sings on “Women of Intention.”

No doubt.