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Secret Machines, Dresden Dolls Inject Rothbury With a Bit of Darkness

July 5, 2008 11:45 PM ET

The three members of the Secret Machines, outfitted totally in black, looked as though they might wilt in the midday sun Saturday afternoon at Rothbury. But the trio's droning dirges — best experienced in dingy clubs long after nightfall — proved a nice tonic from the crunchy festival fair. "Alone, Jealous and Stoned" was a swirling, psychedelic monster, driven by drummer/man-beast Josh Garza's earthshaking clatter. "Sad and Lonely," by contrast, slowly emerged from a barbed-wire scrawl of guitar, the group gradually locking into a hypnotic groove.

Over on a neighboring stage the Dresden Dolls didn't shy away from addressing political or social issues during their blistering afternoon set. The pair performed a sneering cover of Fugazi's "Blueprint" because, as drummer-singer Brian Viglione was quick to note, "That band managed to combine political action with beautiful music... and that's what this festival is about." Elsewhere, Amanda Palmer (keyboards-vocals) and Viglione sang about boosting lawn ornaments on the punk cabaret of "Night Reconnaissance" and mimicked a skipping record on the Mattel-meets-Mannequin waltz of "Coin-Operated Boy."

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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