Is rock dead? It’s a question that’s been asked ad nauseam for decades now, and in a year without any rock headliners or reunions at Coachella, it’s not going away anytime soon. However, such debates proved irrelevant on Friday night — at least in the confines of the Fonda Theatre — as local favorites Dorothy rocked an awestruck hometown crowd.
Once frontwoman Dorothy Martin graced the stage during “White Butterfly” while brandishing incense that would soon engulf the stage like an ectoplasmic fog, the eyes, ears, attention spans and hearts of all in attendance unquestionably belonged to her for the next 90 minutes. Backed by a band of rockers that slayed with their formidable instrumental prowess and showmanship, Martin vocally soared like the second coming of Janis Joplin as she commanded the stage with her signature brand of energy.
The band is touring in anticipation of their forthcoming sophomore album 28 Days In The Valley, which drops March 9 via Caroline Records. The album was produced by the extremely talented Linda Perry.
At one point during Dorothy’s set, Martin asked how many of were at her Troubadour show the previous year. Quite a few raised their arms, revealing both a steady army of the long-indoctrinated and an ever-growing contingent of new devotees. I only wish she had also asked how many of us went back even further. The Echo, The Satellite, The Viper Room and random spots like Nasty Gal or YouTube Space LA? I’ve been there, and I even caught the first Bootleg Bar residency show way back in 2014.
What has seeing Dorothy over the years with increasingly large, loyal crowds and through multiple band lineups taught me about the artist in question? For starters, the shows and tunes just keep getting better and better. But really, rock will never die, so long as it is in the hands of a star like Dorothy’s titular frontwoman. Wherever Dorothy plays next after the upcoming sophomore album 28 Days in the Valley drops remains to be seen, but I can safely wager I’ll be there.
Words and photos by Frank Mojica