Their fledgling live act leans heavily on the kinetic, junior Betty Page charisma of Ms. Krauss. Her voice is versatile, swinging quickly from sex grunting, to shout-rapping to clear, high singing. An unpolished swagger is persistent throughout. Absent a fully developed interplay between the band mates, she’s the reason why they’re so closely watched, so quickly. At this point, no one really blinks when Miller peaces out for a few tracks, leaving her to shimmy by her lonesome. Her coy teenage delivery on “Ring Ring” lets you forget that the borrowed Funkadelic loop she sings over is practically unaltered (“wondering what your boyfriend thinks about your braces” goes a particularly memorable line). Their songs work better when the bass-jacked, club-thumping low end is a counterpoint to jagged guitar lines, but not a focal point itself. The scattershot nonsense of the lines in songs like “Infinity Guitars” seems clunky next to the immediate, if vapid quality of manically repeated mantras like, “I’ve got my A machines on the table! I’ve got my B machines in the drawer!” (Though with the band’s limited palette, both places have got to be pretty small.)
They closed their maybe 20-25 minute set with “Crown on the Ground,” the best song they’ve yet mustered. More than any of their other tracks, it clarifies the co-dependence of Miller’s overblown heaviness and Krauss’ nimble pop performance. She gleefully danced around craters as the bombs dropped, bringing a by-then bouncing crowd along with her. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner, who’d been circling the room all night, must have gotten a smug grin of recognition witnessing the song’s dynamic in action. Afterwards, as the assembled dispersed for the door or the bar, one girl at the front politely asked Krauss to sign her chest. She sheepishly obliged. As portends for future rock stardom go, that’s not a bad one.