wears the trousers magazine

dum dum girls: live at madame jojo’s, london 02/03/10

Dum Dum Girls / Veronica Falls / Yuck
Madame Jojo’s, London ••••
March 2, 2010

Queues all the way down Brewer Street and particularly unhelpful door staff meant a lot of the hyper buzzed fans only got to catch the last yells of opening support act Yuck, who faded out with an enticing swansong of distortion guitar wails. Veronica Falls followed up with a set of consistently lovely songs that have progressively stolen a substantial number of hearts over the past year. The shoegaze pop of ‘Stephen’ was dreamy enough to sway unabashedly to, while ‘Beachy Head’ rang out with romantic thrash. One of the capital’s most exciting homegrown outfits, they proved to be a well-selected warm-up for the US headliners whose appearance was the last, love-letter punctuation on a week of gigs across the capital, a doubly special affair since it marked the band’s UK debut.

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hole: live at shepherds bush empire, london 17/02

Hole + Foxy Shazam + Little Fish
Shepherds Bush Empire, London ••••
February 17, 2010

So, as everyone no doubt knows by now, it wasn’t actually Hole that took to the stage of the Shepherds Bush Empire last night. Eric, Patty and Melissa were glaringly absent, but the walking, Twittering legend that is Courtney Love had returned to the UK and everyone from seasoned Babydolls to Beautiful Sons and Slut Kiss Girls had been ticking off their countdown calendars with bright pink hearts every day since purchasing the quick-to-sell-out tickets.

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6 day riot: live at the portland arms, cambridge 16/02
February 17, 2010, 5:08 pm
Filed under: live, review | Tags: , , ,

6 Day Riot + Flaming June
The Portland Arms, Cambridge ••••
February 16, 2010

Flaming June are named after Frederic Lord Leighton’s painting of a sleeping woman, which seems only too appropriate on this evening’s evidence. In stark contrast to their passionate frontwoman Louise Hamilton, the pipe player and backing vocalist to her left, who may be aiming for the whimsical air sometimes associated with this breed of folk music, looks rather bored. Hamilton’s red hair, red dress and red acoustic guitar make a bold statement centre-stage, but despite their musical competence the rest of the band’s lack of enthusiasm creates a nervous, amateurish atmosphere around their early ’90s-inspired acoustic-indie sound. The result only confirms they have yet to really develop from the Bury St Edmunds-based quartet who formed after Louise’s obvious ambition caused her to seek musicians to back her in a local songwriting competition some time last summer. Judging by tonight’s performance, perhaps she’d be better off if she hadn’t.

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tune-yards: live at cargo 15/02
February 17, 2010, 12:10 am
Filed under: live, review | Tags: , , ,

tUnE yArDs + Trash Kit + Think About Life
Upset The Rhythm @ Cargo, London •••••
February 15, 2010

We’re only two months into the new year but it’s safe to say that Monday’s tUnE-yArDs show at Cargo will go down as one of the best live dates of 2010. Merrill Garbus’s debut album BiRd-BrAiNs was a unanimous breakout hit last year, winning hearts with fans and music press alike, and staking prizes for its DIY magic (think Dictaphones and free software) and the patchwork stitching of sounds that soar throughout its uniquely spirited songs. The sell-out show was teeming with that full-capacity excitement that promises an unforgettable experience, and the New England native delivered in spades, bringing the same energy that wowed fans at SXSW and ATP last year to a smaller, yet equally appreciative London audience.

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in photos: tune-yards live at cargo 15/02
February 16, 2010, 12:34 pm
Filed under: live, review | Tags: , , ,

tUnE-yArDs + Trash Kit + Think About Life
Cargo, London
February 15, 2010

All photos by Wunmi Onibudo. Review soon.

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thao with the get down stay down: live at camden barfly 01/02/10

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down / Dag för Dag / Foreign Slippers
Barfly, London ••••
February 1, 2010

The famous Tom Petty number covered by opening act Foreign Slippers turned out to be quite a good summation of the night overall. “In a world that keeps on pushing me around / I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down,” sang Gabi Frödén with all the girlish reticence she could muster. Dressed in a shiny floral print dress, her dark hair encircled by a sprig of plastic berries and leaves, the Swedish singer and her smartly attired, beardy four-piece band treated us to a full-blooded realisation of her more meditative recorded work, highlights being ‘Packed The Car’ and the singalong ‘Green Jacket’. Next up were faux-Swedes Dag för Dag, an American sibling duo who live in Stockholm, touring heavily in advance of the February 22 release of their debut album Boo. Barefoot and six months’ pregnant, Sarah Snavely commands lead vocals on most of the songs, all of which crackle with electricity and galloping rhythms courtesy of drummer “Chuck Bukowski” (a genuine Swede), while skilfully coaxing out a tuneful thrash from her guitar. Every item of her ’70s disco vixen get-up sparkles under the lights as brother Jacob careens around the stage like a trolley with a wonky wheel, forever on the edge of imbalance. But what first seems like tiresome rock posturing becomes sheer entertainment as he lurches about, almost hitting audience and band members alike with the headstock of his bass.

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vivian girls: live at hoxton bar & kitchen 26/01/10

Vivian Girls / Veronica Falls / Blue On Blue
Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London
January 26, 2010

London loves the Vivian Girls, as the second of their sell-out shows in the capital this week attested. Audiences were already swelling when the first support act took to the stage, and continued to grow excitedly throughout the night. Blue On Blue originally started out as the side project of D-Bird from An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump, but with yesterday’s announcement of their split it seems that this will now be her main musical outlet. The ex-Bird played bass, accompanied by a male bandmate on drums, soldiering through with a short but well-paced set despite having “lost” their guitarist. And the goodness continued with the poppy shoegaze of fresh-faced quartet Veronica Falls, whose dreamy boy/girl vox definitely had East End hearts aflutter.

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