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One Lineup, Two Bands

August 4th, 2009

The Start/Normandie – Mercury Lounge – August 3, 2009

The Start/Normandie - Mercury Lounge - August 3, 2009
Aimee Echo and Jamie Miller met in the late ’90s, when she was fronting Human Waste Project and he was drumming for Snot, and they seemingly haven’t left each other’s side since. Around that time, the two formed the Start—a dance-y, punky band that made its name as one of the forerunners of the New Wave revival (alongside such acts as the Faint and Le Tigre). Earlier this year, the Start announced news of a new project by Echo, Miller and powerhouse drummer Chelsea Davis called Normandie. Though both projects contain the same lineup, they are very different in style, as exhibited by last night’s Mercury Lounge sets.

Normandie—up first—had a much darker, more atmospheric sound, and Echo’s voice played as haunting. “Velvetine,” “Gloomer” and “Little Sister” were the standout tracks. Launching into the final song, Echo announced, “This is our last song as Normandie,” and as that came to a close, she crouched toward the floor (out of sight from those of us a couple rows back) and Normandie became the Start.

The Start’s first album, Shakedown!, is such a tremendous explosion of energy, and an amazing solidification of punk and dance music, that it’s a shame the band didn’t play more off of it. Although the newer material got great crowd reaction, it was the debut album’s lead track, “Shakedown!,” that showed not only Echo at her most rambunctious but the crowd in its most frenzied state. As an additional treat, Human Waste Project guitarist Mike Tempesta joined Echo and Davis onstage in a reunion of sorts to play HWP’s “Dog.” As evidenced last night, Echo’s ability to change herself and her voice for all three different bands shows her true talent as a frontwoman and a creative force. —Kirsten Housel

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Housel