Dance with MisterWives
Erin McAuliffe | Tuesday, September 1, 2015
The atmosphere was vibrant at the MisterWives concert in Covington, Kentucky, the first stop on their Scrapbook Tour. In an old mansion-turned-concert venue with an upper-level allowing for full 360-degree fan engagement, MisterWives didn’t know what they were in for. Tears were shed, larynxes were tested, and words were lost.
“Girls just want to have fun” — the words echoed off Mandy Lee’s mic and were screamed from the audience as the five male members of her band took a seat at her feet. It was obvious that this girl was here to do much more than that: This was a lady ready to have fun while making great music, engaging the audience and sending a feminist message.
Girl power is topping the music scene these days. Of the many girl-fronted acts I saw this summer (Alabama Shakes, PHOX, Speedy Ortiz, Courtney Barnett, Bully), MisterWives serves as the perfect example of a band with a female lead singer, excess energy and collaborative chemistry. Even their name, a play on polygamous marriage/the TLC special “Sister Wives,” represents how intertwined they all are.
Opening with “Our Own House” MisterWives took hold of the concert right of the bat. The look of genuine awe and excitement on their faces was a spectacle in itself.
“I think we’re all still in the mindset of playing in New York and calling up our friends, like ‘Hey, come out to the show!’” guitarist William Hehir said in a phone interview for Scene.
“To see everyone from different cities, singing the words to each of our songs and having a good time. That will always blow my mind; I don’t know how anyone could get jaded enough to not appreciate that.”
Not only did they clearly appreciate their fans, they reciprocated their energy, and the venue lit up — even though their set merely consisted of an album cover tapestry and some leis hanging from their microphones.
They did cartwheels on stage — no, really. And somersaults. And push-ups. They even did an encore of “Uptown Funk” that was fresh, exciting and featured a saxophone jam session (I am in the process of developing a petition to have that live version take over the radio rotation of the overplayed original).
Although their new-wave, raspy and twirly sound is undoubtedly unique, Hehir had some shout-outs to other pop bands: “No Doubt, everything from their style to their attitude and how they play music. They’re huge, especially as a female-fronted band. Also, WALK THE MOON and Foster the People.”
As a six-member band, MisterWives puts forth a musical taste that spans the board and is reflected in their music. Name-dropping everyone from The Police to Motown to Aretha Franklin as acts frequently played on the tour bus, the influences are marbled throughout the album.
Hehir described their sound as having a “colorful pop-element” that contributes to “an effin’ dance party” — and that sums up their vibes perfectly.
Although the concert was “10/10, would recommend,” if you don’t have the chance to see them live, blast their album and have a dance party of one or three or “no more than 10” in a dorm room. According to Hehir, this is a totally viable option as, “One thing we focus on is to make the record as live-sounding as it possibly can. And I think the best way to do that is to take a song, play it live with each other, get a feel for it and then get a feel for everyone’s parts.”
I’m as much a fan of Sage The Gemini’s singles on rotation at parties as the next person (okay, maybe even more than most people), but this week, save the bump and grind tunes for the next Hip-Hop Night and freshen up your playlist with these bubbly tracks and a specialized dance guide.
“Our Own House” — Begins with slow claps over your head — a go-to. Then, when the bouncy beat picks up, go for Carlton arms (see “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) and fancy footwork — criss-cross, The Spongebob, whatever suits your fancy.
“Not Your Way” — You will hop up and down while fist pumping like you’re The Situation or something — but it will be beautiful and freeing, and you won’t be able to stop even if you wanted. There is a part where you tango and a part where you can-can, sort of like a sneaky “Cha Cha Slide.”
“Reflections” — As you probably know the lyrics/have contributed to some of those 41,145,917 listens on Spotify, belt ‘em out. And do some magical hand-twirls to the “you”s — you know what I mean. Think the orb: You have a magic crystal ball in your hands and you’re caressing it and seeing the future.
“Oceans” — As the title suggests, it is a track with more relaxed, seaside vibes. This is probably just a slow head-bob, hip swing song, you’re welcome for the break. Take note of the xylophone usage while you’re head-bobbing.
“Best I Can Do” — The Running Man. That is all. “It’s the best you can do.”
“Hurricane” — Rock back and forth and alternate raising your arms up, reflecting the tugging of the back and forth, choppy vocals. Move your body like a cyclone?
“Coffins” — This song is beautiful; sit down and take it in. (PSA: Please don’t take this too far like Kaitlyn on “The Bachelorette” and actually sit in a coffin.)
“No Need For Dreaming” — Hop up and down. Do it now. Strut around for the slower, tambourine-dappled vocals, snaking your elevated arms around dramatically.
“Box Around The Sun” — Get twirly. Channel your free spirit. Look up at the sun. Is there a box around it? Probably not, but keep checking just in case.
“Imagination Infatuation” — This song has electric undertones and a catchy chorus; make of that what you will.
“Vagabond” — My favorite. Pick a partner. Walk around each other (i.e. channel actual vagabonds). Sing to each other. Stare each other down. Get emotional. Get dramatic.
“Queens” — Pick a queen, any queen — or Freddie Mercury, if that’s more your style. Once you’ve channeled your inner Beyoncé, or heck, Mandy herself, strut regally and remember: You’re the queen, so you rule.