So we finally made it to Valley of the Vapors on the fourth night. (Hey, we work, and it’s a drive…) The venue was great — plenty of space, a real stage with wrap-around curtains (tightens sound, keeps those waves from bouncing around), great techie stuff (lights, sound) — just all around kudos. The crowd was mixed (it’s all-ages, with armbands for beer) and there was a healthy mosh pit for half the show.
We got there at 8 p.m., so we came in on the second band, the Svetlanas — a punky thrash rock foursome from Italy that pretends to be from Russia. (All their songs are about the KGB and occasionally, there’s a Russian word tossed in, compliments of the half-Russian singer.) Their sound is reminiscent of early ’80s hardcore, still influenced by the rolling lines and snakey, swaggering rhythms of ’70s rock ‘n’ roll. Their performance was conceptual and theatrical, with a large dose of the magic coming from the gnarly, animated female vocalist. She destroyed the gap between audience and band, jumping into the mosh pit and later offering up her mic during a cover of The Runaways hit “Cherry Bomb.” Think Wendy O. and the Plasmatics with less flash and props.