The Femmes themselves--the bassist Brian Ritchie, the drummer Victor DeLorenzo and Mr. Gano, the singer and guitarist--didn't really pay much attention; this kind of thing has been happening at their shows for almost a decade. Their acoustic based music, kind of like ancient country speeded up to about 78 r.p.m., continues to strike some primeval chord in adolescents. Mr. Ritchie yanks acoustic solos out of his acoustic bass, and Mr. DeLorenzo plays his standup drum kit usually with brushes instead of sticks, while Mr. Gano's lyrics delve into subjects like alienation, drugs, incest and Jesus.
By now, songs like "Add It Up" and "Blister in the Sun" are cult institutions, and the Femmes seem happy to cater by playing most of their first album. But the crowd also responded to songs from their latest album, "Why Do Birds Sing?" (Slash/Reprise). The Femmes are one of the few surviving bands from the early 80's who seem easily able to bring in a new fervent audience every few years. And if lyrics like "Ohh ohh, I need a date to the prom," from the new album's "American Music," seem rote on record, in live performance they only fuel the feeling of twisted angst.