Djunah played O’Brien’s Pub

Chicago duo Djunah kicked off an East Coast tour with a sold-out Tuesday night at O’Brien’s, supported by Philly’s Rid of Me and locals Leopard Print Taser.


There’s something particularly arresting about a great rock duo on stage. Whether it’s the pulverizing noise-mania of Lightning Bolt, the frenetic indie rock of Quasi or the sweeping doom of Bell Witch, a pair of locked-in performers carrying the weight of a full band before your eyes always feels like a true feat. Chicago’s Djunah – who put on a spellbinding set at O’Brien’s last week – are certainly deserving of a place among that grand tradition.

Comprised of singer/guitarist Donna Diane and drummer Jared Karns, Djunah self-released their sophomore LP Femina Furens (engineered with Converge’s Kurt Ballou) earlier this year, and began a supporting run down the coast with a packed Allston show. It was honestly kind of a spur-of-the-moment pop-in for me, but I’m glad I made the call and nabbed a ticket before they were gone. The band’s style is rooted in noise rock and post-hardcore touchstones, made distinctive by Diane’s unwaveringly intense delivery, and it all sounded absolutely massive on stage. Diane conjured an awe-inspiring wall of tone from a pair of cabs and a foot pedal bass setup, with Karns’ pounding percussion serving as songs’ weighty anchor. Excellent, headbanging stuff.

Tour support Rid of Me naturally brought to mind a PJ Harvey comparison at first glance, and while there was certainly some of the grungier side of the Polly Jean discography in the band’s DNA, their noisy, jagged punk was confidently doing its own thing. Rounded out by Boston indie-punks Leopard Print Taser – who are one of my favorite local live bands and put on a reliably wild show – it was a great bill top to bottom.

Scroll below for photos of the whole evening.