Other than having great musical talent, these bright-eyed and beautiful girls have something that makes them just that much hotter: they’re sisters. Even better than that? They’re smart. I mean, really, really smart. Reading Mark Z. Danielewsky’s House of Leaves smart. In fact, the girls both say that literature is one of their top influences as songwriters. The lyrics to their song, “Monster” were specifically inspired from the eighth chapter in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and when I talked to Dia about her apparent love for books, she said, “writing and music are the two most important things in my life.” This quote became unbelievably obvious after watching these well-read songstresses take the stage as one of the groups that opened for Anberlin at the El Rey Theater last Wednesday. In general, they give the phrase “double threat” a brand new meaning.
I can’t lie. I was a bit nervous after I saw that Meg & Dia were the only band in the night’s lineup that didn’t consist of an overload of testosterone and asymmetrical haircuts. Don’t get me wrong—their hair was way cute, but wondering if they had what it took to stand out from all the dudes who were dominating the stage caused the feminist part of me to get extremely codependent. Would the crowd make a successful transition from whiny, emo boys to two girls from Salt Lake City? Not only is this scene harder for women musicians to break into than men, but it is also a scene notorious for consisting of fans under the impression that women don’t know how to rock out. Much to my surprise, and relief, the crowd was not only responsive to Meg & Dia’s performance, but actually seemed to enjoy it more than the bands previously on stage.
From the moment the first note echoed its way through the venue, the girls’ personalities rang clear. Even though they’re related, their different stage presence showed them independent of each other. Younger than her sister by two years, Dia had absolutely no problem taking the front-woman role and claiming the stage as her own. Meg schooled the audience with her guitar skills and exhibited nothing but happiness when she watched her sister take center stage, showing that sibling rivalry most likely does not play a part in the girls’ musical endeavors. This is good news for people who want to be Meg & Dia fans but don’t have time to follow the drama between another Liam and Noel Gallagher. Whatever happened to them?
A lot of times, seeing a band live does not live up to what you hear on their album. In other words, where someone might sing well within the confines of a studio, and thousands of dollars worth of sound equipment to perfect every pitch, when you put them live in front of a microphone their voice, well, sucks. This set, however, was as close to flawless as it could have been. I was actually somewhat amazed at the big sounds that Dia’s little body was able to produce. But, more than that, I was shocked at how perfect it sounded—and it was perfect the entire time! Every single note that came out of Dia’s mouth was on key. It was like someone had hooked up their CD to a giant loud speaker, minus the lipsynching. I swear. I checked. Then, I double checked.
Everything is happening really fast for Meg & Dia. If you’re not into their music, at least be into how humble they are when you talk to them. During my interview, there was absolutely no rockstar snootiness to be found. This was refreshing, but it also meant there would be no shit-talking on my part in this review. They displayed nothing but gratitude for the opportunity to have their music reach millions,and with attitudes like that, as well as being young and really good looking (because that always counts for something…okay, it counts for most things), it’s no wonder that Warner Brothers wanted to sign them.