Mid week central Manchester and we’re scuttling along Oxford Street when a cyclist, almost knocks us off our rock chick heels – It’s the legendary John Robb, author, songwriter, journo, commentator and front man of punk band Goldblade so we have absolutely no complaints! A quick “Hi John” and we’re on our way again, destination Sound Control on Wakefield Street for Dum Dum Girls. Formerly an iconic music shop, Sound Central has retained its name and recently opened as a three story bar/club/live venue in the Southern Quarter, we head off up stairs to into the industrial space that is the ‘live’ room.
Mount Fabric turn out to be the first of two support bands on the bill and take to the stage wearing primary coloured ‘Zorro’ masks, it’s curious garb as is the front man Alex’s lack of footwear? The four piece open with a stomping tune ‘Big Plans for the Dead Man’ and really hit their stride with the thumping backline and haunting vocal in third track ‘Epiphany’. Singer/Guitarist Alex commands attention, and gets it as there are few distractions from the rest of the band. Throughout, the vocals are astonishing, as Alex hits every note perfectly in a falsetto voice similar to that of Muse’s Matt Bellamy, I’m waiting for him to drop a bum note and it simply doesn’t happen. Ending with ‘Sarah and the Multiverse’ overall it’s a tight set punctuated with military drum beats, a bit of punk, a bit of funk, some dirty guitar riffs and delightful vocals that buzz your ears. They’re curious, creative, exciting and just a bit different. http://www.mountfabric.com
Next up are The Long March who all hail from Manchester. I manage to grab the set list off lead man Phidel Sonne (now how coooool is that for a name) just before they jump on stage and hit us with an upbeat track entitled ‘Tip the Tables’ which in parts has echoes of Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses and The Enemy. ‘Gleen’ also hits the spot, being a bit mod and ever so slightly anthemic. The band switches between its two lead vocalists Phidel and Phil who each have a slightly different style. A couple of tracks fall foul of screeching feedback and at times it feels a bit too full on and one dimensional, with the vocals lost in the guitar thrashing. These guys are relative newcomers, and certainly have the capability to add depth and more facets to develop their sound; they’re definitely worth a listen. http://www.myspace.com/thelongmarch
Dum Dum Girls – An all girl group who hail from LA, currently embarking on a non stop tour - taking in the UK, Europe and USA. Tonight headlining at Sound Control, their only stop in the Northwest on this leg, but back in September supporting MGMT and Vampire Weekend . It’s no wonder that the predominantly male audience cram closer to the stage as the four, slim, black clad, hot pant wearing belle’s elegantly assume their positions.
‘Play with Fire’ is their first offering, with a slow drum beat and a choristic, harmonious vocal that could lift the roof off any cathedral, it’s attention grabbing and a promising start. The next few tracks pick up the pace a little, with clear influence from 60’s girl groups like Ronettes and vocals from Dee Dee similar to that of Siouxie Sioux, the assembled crowd are getting it. ‘Bhang Bhang’ has an echoey psychedelic flavour, plenty of reverb, and is perfectly placed mid set.
Guitarist Jules plays on with a broken string and they put on a cool polished performance, obviously well practised and very slick, perhaps too much so. I felt the songs got a bit repetitive and predictable, I wanted more variety, a touch of grit and a heap more bad girl attitude throwing into the sugary mix of Spector-esque tunes. If Santa delivered 3 electric guitars and a drum kit to The Corrs, the end result would be akin to the Dum Dum Girls. Ending the 12 song set with ‘Rest of our Lives’ they politely thank the crowd, turn on their heels and leave the stage without a ladder in their rather splendid hosiery, a hair out of place or a bead of perspiration in sight. We caught up with Dee Dee and Bambi briefly after the gig. Dee Dee regaled us with stories of their accommodation nightmares, signing posters and saying their goodbyes to the last few stragglers. As expected they were polite and friendly girls, clearly loving the whole touring experience, but planning to head off to bed due to a busy touring schedule. Meanwhile the rest of the crowd would be making a booze fuelled night of it.
Play Wtih Fire
Oh I Will Be
Oh Mein M
Jail La La
Baby Don't Go
It Only Takes One Night
Rest Of Our Lives
Review by Jo Poole
Photos by Mel - more photos will follow on Flickr here: