Clubland: The Doubleclicks perform Monday at Modern Myths in Northampton
The Doubleclicks and Molly Lewis Purchase photo reprints »
Ragnarok! Loose definition: the destruction of the world. It’s a term I first learned from a Thor comic book in the ’80s, plastered across a pulpy page in exciting big-point type, and I never forgot it.
So when I noticed there was a musical tour coming to Northampton called The Ladies of Ragnarok — “nerd-folk” sister duo The Doubleclicks and ukulele-wielding singer-songwriter Molly Lewis — and saw they were playing at the Modern Myths comic book/games store Monday at 7 p.m., this music-and-comic-loving nerd had to investigate.
The Doubleclicks are a Portland, Ore.-based duo of Angela and Aubrey Webber (on ukulele and cello, respectively). The prolific sisters have a growing and devoted fan base thanks to clever and often funny songs which, no matter what the subject matter (“Star Trek,” jury duty, Velociraptor angst, punctuation, the Mars Science Laboratory), are grounded in emotions and relationships.
Some of the comical songs hide a melancholy heart, like “Will They Or Won’t They,” which uses a parade of pop culture references to reflect a real-life relationship that’s not meant to be. Like this “X-Files” shout-out: “You and I are kinda like Mulder and Scully,” Angela sings, “In that you’re paranoid and even when you’re right / I look like the smart one.”
It’s all summed up in the blunt chorus. “In all of these stories we want to know, ‘Will they or won’t they’? But with us I know the answer / we won’t.”
The Doubleclicks, originally from Westford, have never been on the road in a van for three weeks straight; it’s their first tour and Angela describes it as “amazing.”
“The van, which came to us from the rental place with the ominous name of ‘Ophelia’, is our new home, and we, Molly Lewis, and “Dammit” Liz Smith, who is doing logistics and show management for us, have spent many, many hours together in it,” she said. “We are all coming to understand why all bands have a ‘touring is hard’ song. But I personally love playing shows every night, seeing new landscapes and meeting new people. We’ve also gotten to see quite a few game stores and comic book shops across the Northeast and Midwest, and I love that. They all feel like home.”
So far the sisters and friends have met and performed with Mystery Science Theater 3000/RiffTrax writers/stars Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, visited the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Ford’s Theater and the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Cloud Gate in Chicago and “tons of other minor attractions,” Angela said. “It’s like one big crazy field trip.”
The two sisters traveled to Northampton once in 2008 to see They Might Be Giants perform at the Iron Horse, but this will be their first time performing in town. Their friend, Greenfield-based game designer Meguey Baker (owner of Night Sky Games), suggested The Doubleclicks make Modern Myths a tour stop.
The Ladies of Ragnarok show will be the first time the Northampton comic book/games store hosts live music in its renovated upstairs event space, which opened in January.
At the Northampton concert, Molly Lewis will perform first. The Webber sisters are big fans of their tourmate, calling her “a brilliant young songwriter who will make you laugh while she sings about Mr. T and cry while she sings about the Abraham Lincoln assassination. Every one of her songs is perfectly crafted, and she’s also an adorable and charming individual.”
The whole Ragnarok geeky gang of creative performers is pretty darn charming, whether it’s the sisters doing a faithful cover of a deep cut from the sound track of “The Muppet Movie” (Gonzo’s tearjerker “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday”) or the tour troupe’s many vlogs (video blogs), showing their progress from a pre-dawn but chipper trip to the airport, to everyone’s stir-crazy goofing off in the van on a long driving day.
The vlogs give a great sense of the Ladies’ camaraderie and also the supportive crowds coming out to see their shows across the land, whether they’re performing in clubs, comic stores, people’s homes, game rooms or other unique locations.
“There is tons of geek pride these days. It’s awesome,” Angela said. “I think my inner geek was let out in high school marching band, where we used to sing They Might Be Giants tunes at the top of our lungs on long bus rides. And now people like me can live a whole social life of geekery though Twitter and conventions. I’m excited for a geekier world.”