• Title: Violent Femmes
  • Author: Kathi Whalen
  • Publication: Washington Post (p. C10)
  • Date: April 20, 1989

Drummer Victor DeLorenzo was inspired to leave his mismatched kit and race around the stage a few times, but otherwise the Violent Femmes wew so sedate, their Monday show at Warner Theater could have been a remarkably creative band practice.

Such a low-key attitude saved the Femmes’ many digressions from looking like a pat bag of tricks. Fans hoping to sing along with “Kiss Off’s” poppy chorus or sway to the bluesy “Confessions” were stymied when both collapsed into free jazz jams, but the band continued unfazed and soon enough the unpredictable was the expected. The bellowing Horns of Dilemma provided most of the dissonance, Brian Ritchie most of the leads and singer Gordon Gano, whose ambiguous smile never left his face, the hazardous direction. Appropriately, the best-executed song couldn’t have been less tuneful or charmless: “Give Me the Car,” with its-frustrated, lust-filled lyrics and Cream-into-Black Sabbath bridges, evoked a teen-age boy’s alienation with more accuracy than the most heavy metal bands could hope for.