Fronted by the bouncy, effervescent Patience Hodgson, Aussie alt-rock trio The Grates took the stage Wednesday night at downtown spot Pianos and quickly made an impression with its edgy, catchy pop anthems.Hodgson's anecdotes and antics, such as singing while perched on the shoulders of a male fan, ingratiated her to her fans all the more. And the Pianos crowd can be a tough one.
"You're all so kind," Hodgson told the audience amid roars of approval. "I'm not used to it!"
Imagine a combination of Blondie's street cred, Gwen Stefani's kinetic energy and The Strokes' guitar hooks - perhaps with some of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' soundscaping - and the result might sound a bit like The Grates. (Hodgson lists Weezer's 1996 "Pinkerton" album and The Flaming Lips among her influences.)
But style-wise, Hodgson's look seems more inspired by some alternative cowgirl.
Dressed in chaps, fringe trim and Western-style spats over her Converse sneakers, Hodgson joked that her outfit, along with band t-shirts and CDs, is also for sale. The crowd cheered.
"I wanted to wear things on stage that were a little more fun and eye-catching, but I didn't really want to take it too seriously," she told me the following day.
The Grates -- which also includes guitarist John Patterson and drummer Alana Skyring, with New York bassist Tyler Jontz -- will perform two more shows at Pianos this month.
"Sometimes you leave the country and the only people who come to your shows are Australian," Hodgson said. "Last night, they were outnumbered by Americans."
The Grates' new album, "Teeth Lost, Hearts Won," is set for release Sept. 15. The band will also be playing the Monolith Music Festival in Morrison, Colo., at Red Rocks on Sept. 13.