I’m not a fan of reading, and Jane Austen is one of my least favorite authors ever. What I am a fan of is ladies, and I was such a big fan of one of them that I asked her to marry me, and she agreed, and we did (I love Mrs. Blogadin!). So why is it that I was calling out, “Oh, oh, oh Mr. Darcy!” in harmony last night?
Because The Doubleclicks encouraged me to, and I, along with my wife and the entire audience, was eager to oblige.
Angela and Aubrey Webber – aka The Doubleclicks – played to a standing room only crowd last night at Darren Johnson’s Imperial Outpost Games as part of their Dimetrodon album release tour, and in doing so lured me into joyfully singing the name of a fictional man that millions of women secretly – or, in The Doubleclicks’ case, not so secretly – pine for.
The two sisters are known for their sweet but snarky sense of humor with a geek-chic bend to their musical stylings, and their wit was on display well before the show-proper started. The sisters do their own merchandise sales, and Angela was discussing forms of payment with a patron when she stated, “We do take credit cards, but we don’t give them back. But if you also give us your social, you’ll have a good time.” If the patron somehow mistook Angela’s spontaneous facetiousness for sincerity, however, that was certainly immediately dispelled during their first song, “Will They or Won’t They”, when, while singing of various pop culture romantic duos, she riffs, “In all of those stories we want to know will they or won’t they, but with us, I know the answer…we won’t. ”
With that single song the sisters immediately communicated to the crowd that they were, indeed, two of us, because the nerd references were flying. Romeo and Juliet for the literature nerds. Buffy and Spike for the vampire nerds. Kaylee and Simon for the Firefly nerds (ended too soon, indeed! *tear*). Starbuck and Apollo for the Battlestar Galactica nerds. The list goes on, and thus the hook was set.
With Angela rotating between a ukulele and guitar while holding down the lead vocals and Aubrey providing vocal harmony and laying the musical foundation on the cello, the siblings proceeded to take the audience on a wonderful trip through their repertoire, ranging from “Worst Superpower Ever” (shooting blood from your eye, clearly), to the aforementioned ode to “Oh, Mr. Darcy”, to their highly disturbing-but-entertaining “A Lullaby for Mr. Bear”. They tempted fate when they performed “The Guy Who Yelled Freebird” – fate couldn’t resist, for there was at least one in the crowd that bellowed the ubiquitous song title – and even switched it up with Aubrey taking over on lead vocals during “Something Else” with Angela playing meow accompaniment on the cat keyboard.
No, it’s not just a prop. They play it. It says meow throughout it’s entire two and a half octave range.
Near the end of their set the ladies played one of their more well-known records, “Nothing to Prove”, whose video has received well over one million hits on YouTube. The band introduces the song as the anthem for their cause, which is to fight against nerd-on-nerd intellectual violence in the form of farcical geek tests, and, more specifically, to get the world to realize that women are just as geeky as men and need pass no trial nor carry a membership card to be worthy of the moniker. The audience seemed to embrace and embody the message. Both men and women were well represented, as were people of all ages and hair colors – even green.
— The Doubleclicks (@TheDoubleclicks) July 10, 2014
While the girls are certainly adept musicians – the melodies were pleasing and easy to follow, their harmonics blended well, and they were proficient on their respective instruments – the concert didn’t display a great depth of variety or dynamics. In that regard, the duo is a bit of a musical one-trick pony – a folk band with a sweet, soothing, accessible sound. Where The Doubleclicks’ true brilliance shines through is their ability to craft vulnerable but witty lyrics, marry them to a melody, and establish a rapport with the crowd through their music and interactions; and the reduced emphasis on the accompaniment allows the messages and themes of the lyrics to shine through.
Besides admiring their musical ability and cleverness, I came away from the concert highly impressed by the ladies’ authenticity and accessibility. They invited the audience into their world not just through their music but via facial expression – Aubrey generally playing Teller to Angela’s Penn – and frequently inviting the audience to sing along. (Quick aside: Aubrey did note that they played a show in a library the prior day where, “They were much quieter!”) They were able to laugh with us, at us, and at each other throughout the show, and when the music ended they were happy to hang out with the fans. They even noticed my recent purchase – a copy of Sentinels of the Multiverse – and took a moment to talk shop for a bit, briefly discussing the approaches of Sentinels/Greater Than Games, DC/Cryptozoic, and Marvel/Upper Deck to comic card gaming and the differences thereto. In short, they were real, and they were delight!
We were fortunate to catch them when we did, as Glendale was the third show they played in the midst of a 8-day, 9-show swing through the southwestern US, and had the benefit of interacting with them in a familiar game store versus a more sterile library. In fact, it was a bit fortuitous that we happened to get them at all this trip. Darren reached out to the group not all that long ago to see if they’d be interested in playing a gig at the store, to which they replied the very next day stating that they would not only love to, but that they happened to have a tour through the southwestern states coming up. The rest is (recent) history. Hopefully this isn’t the last visit the ladies make to the valley, nor the last event of its kind hosted by Imperial Outpost and ManaWerx. Although the venue is a bit non-traditional, the evening proved that the store is absolutely viable for limited-production performance arts.
If you’re interested in picking up their latest album, Dimetrodon – or any of their music – you can do so by visiting their website or through iTunes. If you prefer the live sound to recorded music, The Doubleclicks still have plenty of West Coast stops, including San Diego on Friday night. Or, if you’re going to GenCon, there are a few tickets left to their concert on August 15th. And for those of you into legacy technologies and distribution models, Angela indicated you might be able to buy individual songs on mini-disc at Best Buy. If I’m a betting man, though, I would say that’s more of a fool’s errand.
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