By: Katie Barber
After opening for Tacocat last year at Kilby, The Paranoyds made their way back to SLC in support of their first album Carnage Bargain, described on the group’s Bandcamp page as “a raucous blend of garage rock grit, new wave swagger, horror film soundtrack campiness, and a myriad of other influences.” Their live show gave a glimpse into this “myriad,” made evident in their tangible 1960’s Batman theme-esque guitar riffs, their reverberating synth accents, and infinite rhythms that rattle around in your head and never seem to leave.
Delivering all this and more was bassist/vocalist Taz Lindes, guitarist/vocalist Lexi Funston, keyboardist/vocalist Laila Hashemi, and drummer David Ruiz (who also tours with SadGirl). Their intentionally nonchalant punk rock on a Valentine’s Day night called upon the height of the riot grrrl era in the lyrical (stay on your narrow path / go to hell and don’t come back – “Egg Salad”), and the visual; Lindes appeared in a Raggedy Ann getup and thanked some fans for doing the group’s makeup before the show, complete with red heart beauty marks. The band was accompanied on stage by a pair of five-foot-tall toothbrush sentinels—a touch that one could interpret as a middle finger to Hallmark-induced degradation of enamel as a result of the holiday, but more likely a nod to their newest album’s cover art.
Following “Girlfriend Degree” and “Heather Doubtfire” from Carnage Bargain, Lindes commented on the Kilby atmosphere: “Did you guys know that you can tour across the whole country and this is one of the coolest venues ever?” The crowd went wild in response and the lights went red on stage to commemorate the occasion before the group played “Egg Salad” and “Ratboy.” The energy of the room was at a constant high as The Paranoyds proverbially burst everyone’s sickly-sweet bubblegum bubbles.
From the 1:30-minute “Maldito” to the longer “Courtney” and “Freak Out,” nothing about the band was uncalculated. As Funston and Lindes jumped around the stage and Hashemi offered echoing shouts to lines from tracks off their earlier EPs, The Paranoyds made combatting the rock status quo seem easy, bending amp feedback into masterful guitar work and injecting keys into heavy bass lines. Carnage Bargain’s “Bear” especially illustrated the aforementioned myriad of genres that inspired the album’s creation, highlighting Hashemi and Funston in the foreground and Ruiz in the background to create a product that fell somewhere between Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Stonefield, and Sleater-Kinney.
The band’s garage-rock-punk roots shone with “Sunburn,” inciting a full-on mosh pit that featured a cameo by members of openers Spendtime Palace and Pummel. With the song’s ending static buzzing around the room, Funston offered her guitar to the audience and it did its own crowd surf. People grabbed at the chance to get their hands on it and offer a quick strum before it returned to the stage.
To conclude their set, the group covered a quick version of “Hot Stuff:” the perfect ending to a Valentine’s Day show oozing with badass female empowerment at a venue held special in many people’s hearts