I interviewed the singer Doll (Hannah) from Doll And The Kicks a few weeks ago and I promised a full feature i.e. interview & review. So here we are heading into Manchester to check out the show. Tonight’s the first event in 2010 for me, what with illness and the bad weather. I was hoping for a good night, time to dust off those winter blues. I drove into Manchester with two female companions, Vanessa - a veteran club goer, Lisa a long standing big Doll & The Kicks fan. The venue was the Ruby Lounge, in the Northern Quarter, driving there and parking proved to a be a breeze as the venue was opposite the Arndale Centre car park, mind you at £5.80 to park. It was daylight robbery!
The venue is pretty trendy, leather sofas strewn around the rooms, and a large central curved bar, the whole venue is given a kind of theatrical look with ornate mirrors & curtains, with deep crimson painted walls. The stage is to the right of the bar, and it all fits in nicely, I was pleasantly surprised.
The small crowd were still hesitant about straying too close to the front and held back – the invisible barrier they don’t cross until the main act I guess? Next up was another band with the dubious name of Fragile Audio they came on looking a bit like local scallies and again took them a while to warm up; it seems to be a recurring theme tonight. They initially appeared a little nervous and not much stage presence but after a couple of songs they started to interact with the audience “this one’s called Bad Company, and it’s about people I used to work with”. They had a long setlist, and I think overran by a song or two, to which they exclaimed “fuck it let’s do another”. I was by this time dying for Doll to emerge with her Kicks. Not long to go, up next!
We all surged forward for a prime central position thinking DATK were about to follow, but no, it was ANOTHER support act.
The Addiction, loved the guitars, a Rickenbacker and pastel green Fender, things are looking up!! Ok, let’s get on with the show, the singer played keyboards and guitar, the first song had an electro feel, but something just wasn’t right, the singer seemed a bit edgy, there was uncertainty in the air. They again took a couple of songs to get the crowd warmed but by the end of their set it was actually rather interesting, the singer has an unusual vocal range. They did fuse with the audience and even got one guy singing with them, they seemed to have quite a little following in the crowd (which had grown in stature since 8pm).The drummer did a little solo number which he had repeatedly said throughout the set “I’m not doing it”. By the final song they had reached their peak, very impressive drumming, and guitars.
At last it was time for DATK all the way from Brighton – previously supporting Morrissey and back on the road again, for their second headline tour. The drum kit was lit with an apparently new set of lights, which were very effectual, the stage dark and moody with bands backdrop. Doll dressed in a bright red military style ensemble, a hot pants combo with little jacket emblazoned with gold braiding. No tights (no sign of cellulite to be found here I might add) with Doc Martin boots. She’s tall and very slender, with huge blue eyes like swimming pools and certainly a star before she even sings a note. However her actions did speak for itself, she moves around the stage so fast at times it was hard to follow with the camera, posing, strutting and flirting with her guitarists, Olivier & Matt. Pictured here with BassistOlivier.
Doll introduced the band initially in her rather shy, sweet voice, and burst into song with ‘Fire’.
The room by this time from my frontal position appeared to be packed out, it was getting sweaty and steamy. No pushing and shoving thank god! The crowd were with them from the onset, although it did take a couple of numbers to see some real DATK action, by the end of the set we had a full blown frenzied encounter, in the form of ’He Was A Dancer’ about a former boyfriend. Doll made reference to the song 'what goes around' being about a girl who tried to steal away her ex boyfriend. Three of the songs ('Fire','You Do It Better' and 'What Goes Around') are on the new live cd 'Show Your Bones'.
VIDEO 'MY HANDS'
Of course they performed the wonderful ‘Roll Up The Red Carpet’ like an mini atom bomb. They sang some new numbers which hadn’t got a title but said they’d called it ‘Donkey’ and Doll said this was going to be their new Single ‘My Hands’ by this time the performance was blazing.. The set wasn’t long enough we were just warming up, felt like no sooner were they on they going off.
Later we met Doll & Olivier after the show for a lil chat, and few photos. Doll’s as sweet as the person she portrays on stage.
Setlist: Fire, You Do It Better, Roll Up The Red Carpet, Pictures, Donkey, My Hands, Superstar, If You Care, You Turn Up, What Goes Around, He Was A Dancer.
VIDEO 'ROLL UP THE RED CARPET'
To conclude it was a great night, loved DATK’S new songs plus I liked the intimacy of the venue and the closeness to the stage, lighting could be improved, and those hated with a vengeance red lights again!! (Good for stage atmosphere, but bad for camera action). I am sure we will be returning to the Ruby Lounge in the not too distant future.
Thanks to Mat Ong @ Glasswerks & Isabel Dacombe
Check out more DATK'S photos on Flick - www.flickr.com/photos/vivamel/sets/72157623409614050
Check my interview with Doll - www.mudkiss.com/dollandthekicks.htm
Review/photos by Mel
Videos by Vanessa