By John Benson
Everyone makes a mis- take, but when you’re in a band called Faux Paus, it would seem your indiscretions are magnified.
“Early on our biggest faux pas was playing rock ’n’ roll in dresses,” said Faux Paus singer-guitarist-keyboardist Amanda Thompson, calling from Toledo. “Sometimes it’s a big surprise for people that we’re girls playing rock ’n’ roll in dresses.”
Notwithstanding any fashion faux pas, the Glass City-based act has apparently found quite the audience at the Lemon Grove, which it returns to for a gig Tuesday. Prepare yourself for gushing love for the Youngstown club.
“I’d say it’s definitely a unique venue that opens up its doors for different kinds of music to come through,” Thompson said. “So you’re not pigeonholed into this one venue that only plays punk rock. We actually really like it there. The crowd is usually really receptive and the people who come out are decent and great and are interested in actually listening to music. They’re possibly more attentive.”
Getting people’s attention was somewhat of a difficult task when the outfit began two years ago. However, just as the threesome grew, so did Toledo’s local music scene, which empowered the outfit to keep at it despite its lack of experience. Eventually the ladies became more confident on stage and in the process sort of developed a broad mission statement for their music.
“The message we’re trying to exemplify in what we’re doing is if you want to do something, just go out and do it, even though you might not have the best skill or know-how or whatever,” Thompson said. “Just try it out, and if it doesn’t work out, that’s OK. There are other things to do. When we first started, we knew nothing about anything. We had these junky amps and still played out.”
Currently the trio is working on its follow-up efforts to last year’s self- titled seven-track EP. That’s right, the outfit has multiple EPs in the mix. There’s a heavier effort being recorded with a producer in Detroit, and then the not-so loud material being tracked in Thompson’s apartment. The reason for each is simple: Upbeat rock ’n’ roll needs loud drums to be played in a studio, whereas simple, folk-minded stuff is easier to record at home.
With all of these projects in the band’s future, the one common denominator appears to be an evolution from its earlier folk styling to a heavier, perhaps even quirky, sound. This is the case with the rock ’n’ roll waltz “Camper” and the groove-oriented “Dustin Hoffman,” both of which feature the trio’s penchant for jazzy, Billie Holiday-esque lead vocals and thick vocal harmonies.
Thompson said there’s no denying Faux Paus possesses a distinctive sound, which oftentimes belies its stage presence.
“I would say in the places we’ve been to, and especially in Toledo, people give us feedback of being unique,” Thompson said. “We’re an all-female band that doesn’t sound like Joan Jett. It’s kind of like we’re not pretending to be anything but what we are. We’re girls. We’re girly but we can still play in the mud.”