The Bobby Lees perform at DC9 on April 12, 2023. (Photos by Marc Shea; Words by Mickey McCarter)
Prior to their recent capacity show at DC9, The Bobby Lees drummer Macky Bowman shuffled off his clothes before sitting down at his kit. Clad only in his underwear, he was a harbinger of things to come: This garage punk quartet were going to play loud and fast — and they were going to work up a sweat!
Early in the DC9 concert on April 12, The Bobby Lees performed “Guttermilk” from their 2020 record, Skin Suit. Throughout the song, frontwoman Sam Quartin snarled and growled her way through a lyrical journey of a rough and tumble life in dirty places. She’s seen some things and maybe she’s done some things that don’t make her too proud, but she likes her lifestyle, so she’s rumbling onto the next place. All the while, her guitar churned alongside Nick Casa’s guitar, and their twin guitar attack made the scuzzy song instantly embraceable.
Next, The Bobby Lees were on to “Dig Your Hips,” from their latest album, Bellevue, released last October via Ipecac Recordings. This third album has truly got the goods, and it’s put The Bobby Lees on the map. In the garage band stampede of “Dig Your Hips,” Sam, Nick, and bassist Kendall Wind launch into a blurry hurricane of head thrashing in time to a sonic wave that blew the audience away. Sam sang the song with a machine gun rhythm that carried you over the impressive storm of guitars.
Watch the official music video for “Dig Your Hips” by The Bobby Lees on YouTube:
Many of The Bobby Lees’ songs made opaque references to the lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, including “Move” from Skin Suit — a yowling song that may be about finding temporary solace in the flesh of another. Soon, the same album’s “Drive” referenced sex in the backseat of a car, but all in the spirit of living fast and dying fast — or at the very least quickly discovering the next rush.
Throughout all of these songs, The Bobby Lees were quick on the draw, their instruments serving as the vehicles that were going to carry them to the next big thing — certainly not a salvation of any sort but a pleasantly mucky place that passes for a comfort they know. But it’s not all about running hard or burning out. Later in the show, Bellevue’s “Monkey Mind” related a story of a significant other who places games, and there was surely the sting of regret that things must be so. Nothing’s easy when life is swift and sleazy.
Iggy Pop has embraced The Bobby Lees on his BBC6 Music radio show, and it’s easy to see why. Iggy and drummer Macky have made similar sartorial choices, for sure, but more importantly The Stooges and The Bobby Lees both love to play delicious, sloppy, and reverberating rock that may send you into a headspin. And that kind of experience can be very good for clearing the mind and even feeding the soul; sometimes you just have to get dirty before you can come clean.
Catch The Bobby Lees on tour near you!
Here are some photos of The Bobby Lees performing at DC9 on April 12, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.