Concert Review: The Coathangers Live at The Imperial

Sunday 03rd, March 2019 / 09:00
By Karina Espinosa

Photo by Archi Biswas

The Imperial
March 2, 2019

Photo by Archi Biswas

A good punk show should always be brash, noisy, and a bit chaotic. But it takes a great band to channel that chaos into a creatively vibrant and precise performance. With more than ten years of revved up tunes under their belts, Atlanta-based group the Coathangers delivered that and more during their show at the Imperial.

Photo by Archi Biswas

As is tradition for their live performances, the three members of the Coathangers—guitarist Julia Kugel, bassist Meredith Franco, and drummer Stephanie Luke—wore coordinated outfits and shimmered onstage in gold mini dresses. After opening the show with a quiet rendition of Nirvana’s “Lithium,” Kugel tore into the first few frantic chords of Nosebleed Weekend’s “Watch Your Back.” The trio powered through the rest of their set with much more urgency and left little room for stage banter. Instead, the night focused on the band’s loud, primal, rock and roll sound.

Photo by Archi Biswas

The best part of the Coathangers’ music is how well it translates live. Kugel added her own wonderfully deranged yelps and vocal flourishes, which gave songs like “Springfield Cannonball” more of an edge. On the garage punk banger “Dumb Baby,” Luke’s bruised voice sounded even gruffer. A new song entitled “Stranger Danger” had Luke drumming so powerfully that by the end of the number she had to reset a toppled snare. The band was teeming with so much energy that the audience couldn’t help but bang their heads along to every number.

Photo by Archi Biswas

To further highlight the disorder of their show, the three girls swapped instruments for the last couple of songs. Kugel and Franco took turns on the drums, while Luke tried her hand as lead vocalist and guitarist. With the microphone cord wrapped around her neck, Luke staggered across the stage and took occasional sips from her can of beer. Things got messy, but it was always entertaining and never out of control, thanks to band mates Franco and Kugel maintaining their cool.