Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Doll & the Kicks / The Lights / Drunk Lovers, Sinners & Saints @ The Hare & Hounds, Monday 5th October 2009

Before tonight’s gig there was a bit of a rumour going around that Morrissey was going to turn up. Yep. THE Morrissey. Hmmm, we’ll see. It’s not entirely bonkers for reasons you’ll discover in a moment…but even so…Morrissey in a pub? In Kings Heath? It just don’t feel right.

Anyway, first up Drunk Lovers, Sinners and Saints (which one are you eh?). Lead Drunk Lover/Sinner/Saint (delete as applicable) Sal’s got a really strong, rocky voice, perfectly suited to the material. This might sound like an odd thing to say but you’d be surprised how often the two just don’t quite match somehow. ‘Say Anything’ and another track that might have been called ‘Someone Stand By Me’ were particular highlights. Citing Paramore as an influence they’re well worth a listen, especially if you’re in touch with your inner emo (although debate rages about whether Paramore are emo or not…but that’s a whole different kettle of eyeliner).

Next, and hallelujah brothers and sisters, I’ve seen The Lights! Actually I saw them before a couple of years back supporting The Wombats, but that doesn’t make a very good intro now does it? Folky, country tinged grown up pop, they’re pleasant listening and, in tracks like Low Hundreds (the standout number of their set), cleverly combine this with some memorable choruses and hooks. The male/female vocals work really well in places, with the female half recalling shades of the lushness of Sam Brown. Now that’s lush. Wonder what happened to her (anyone under the age of 30 probably has no idea what I’m on about, but Sam was one of the UK’s best female vocalists back in the late 80’s). Hold on a mo. Hmmm seems she’s working with Jools Holland, releasing solo stuff and living in a tiny Scottish village. I don’t blame her. Ain’t the web great? It’s not just there for porn and images of cats with captions reading ‘Can I has a reason why this is remotely amusing?’ you know.

Right. Time for the main event. A band you read about here first (sort of). The last time I saw Doll & the Kicks was May 2008, playing upstairs in a pub on the outskirts of Brighton. Now look how far they’ve come, here they are, playing upstairs, in a pub, on the outskirts of Birmingham. Ahhh but there’s a huge difference. This time they’re fresh from a tour supporting a certain Mr Morrissey who, by all accounts is a bit of a DATK fan and prone to popping along to see them (see…that’s how rumours start). In fact they’re supporting him again soon all over the UK and they will…I am confident...win hearts, minds and asses. I’m not going to beat around the bush here - lead singer Doll is, let’s face it, a sexy lady. I know we’re all supposed to live in a world in which such things don’t matter but they do, especially in the world of la musique pop. She’s ditched the long blonde hair that she had last time I saw her and the short version that followed, now she’s gone all noir, creating a slightly 60’s kind of look (the sparkly hot pants helped). That’s the image sorted then, but combine all of this with a belter of a voice (Gwen Stafani meets Lena Lovich), enough stage sassiness to give the pope (or indeed Morrissey) a stiffy and tunes so infectious (Blondie meets the Scissor Sisters) that scientists across the western world are currently working on a vaccine and you’ve got a winning package. ‘Roll Up the Red Carpet’, ‘He Was a Dancer’, ‘Pictures’, ‘You Turn Up’…one great, classic new wave pop song after another, all delivered by a bouncing ball of energy. Being in the fortunate position of already knowing most of the songs tonight’s gig came across like a greatest hits set to me but, purely in the interests of impartiality, I sought the opinion of a few people who were new to the band and they were knocked out, bowled over, blown away, tickled pink (or whatever superlative you fancy) too. Top Doll-ar.

And did Morrissey turn up? What do you think eh? Although I did see a slightly camp looking fellow in the toilets. Oh. That’ll be a mirror then…


Russ L said...

"Morrissey in a pub? In Kings Heath?"

I believe it was at an early Smiths gig at The Fighting Cocks in Moseley that Morrissey decided he wanted to be known solely by his surname, so he has a strong history with pubs that are in that general neck of the woods.

(I'm not making that up. Although I could be wrong).

(Also booooooooo to the disdain for lolcat pictures. I bet Morrissey likes them).

The Baron said...

Wow! That I wasn't aware of. Heaven knows I'm miserable now...maybe I'll take a fresh look at those cat pictures after all.