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Dana JadeDana Jade
Model Society
The B Of The Bang

Notting Hill Arts Club
Wednesday October 3 2012





Well, here's an old haunt. I haven't set foot in the Notting Hill Arts Club since round about 2007, when Client used to run their Being Boiled club here. Minimalist electronics amid brutalist concrete. Happy days.

The dear old place certainly looks much the same - the brutalist concrete is still much in evidence, at any rate. But tonight's club, which rejoices in the rather dated name of Death 2 Disco (are we really still picking fights over musical demarcation lines?) seems to be some sort of all-purpose rock nite for the well-heeled - certainly well-dressed - youth of West London's affluent enclave.

The B Of The BangThe DJ plays Nirvana and the Arctic Monkeys. Safe choices, for sure. But then, I suppose nobody's going to push the boat out too far on a Wednesday night. And it was free to get in.

So it's all down to the live bands, then. The B Of The Bang take their name from a piece of modern sculpture in Manchester (why, yes, I did just Google the name, thanks for asking) which hints - perhaps - at a certain arty approach.

Or not, as the case may be. The B Of The Bang turn out to be an entirely acceptable collection of squeaky-clean indiepoppers. In their trendy beards and almost-matching striped shirts they look like a 1960s photograph of the Beach Boys.

And they sound a little like the Beach Boys, too. Occasionally, as their amiable indie-isms trundle up to a chorus, the band raise their voices in harmony - "Ahhhhhh!" - as if they're all squashed into the same dentist's chair.

It's jolly well done and the band seem like lovely people and all, but I want a few rough edges and some grit in the gears. Alas, The B Of The Bang, it seems, just don't deal in such dirty stuff.

It's back to the sixties, sort of, with Model Society. I suspect it's no coincidence that the band have chosen a name that incorporates the word 'mod', for there's a certain lads-on-the-town feel to their music that recalls The Small Faces at their Model Societymost lairy - and there's a Steve Marriot Laaahndon-geezer inflection to the lead singer's voice that makes the comparison almost irresistable.

Model Society's tunes bounce boisterously as if Britpop never stopped happening, and the lads give it loads.

They're not bad, in a peppy, breezy, down-the-pub kind of way, although I have a feeling the band's pub of choice would be The Good Mixer in Camden, circa 1994. Or, if not, then perhaps the 2i's coffee bar in Soho, twenty years earlier.

Of all tonight's artists, Dana Jade is the only one that does not wear a selection of retro influences on her sleeve. In fact, her spiky, frill-free, post-punky rock sounds very twenty-first century in its economical, no-messing, punchy sound.

And her choppy, staccato take on M.I.A's 'Galang' dovetails neatly with these post-modern, everything-is-an-influence times, where the old demarcation lines that used to divide music up into little boxes have long been scuffed over and rubbed out (proprietors of Death 2 Disco, please note).

But Dana Jade's own songs have a good kick to 'em, too. Get a load of the driving, escalating 'Little Sister', prodded along by an assertive tumble of drums, fast and rocky until it the band stands on the brakes, changes gear and transforms it into a reggae song in mid-flow. That's the sort of thing that can lose an audience's attention if it's not done Dana Jaderight, but Dana Jade's band are tight enough to pull it off without breaking sweat.

Then it's full tilt into more from Dana Jade's newly released (and eponymous) album, which is being launched tonight: the pithy, prickly 'She Or I Go', the heady rush of 'The End Of The Line', all dynamics and speed and those drums getting into every corner. It's all as terse and pointed as Wire, a post-punk blues noise for now.

All of which means that I'm slightly nonplussed to discover that notwithstanding the fact that she's got a new album on release and a killer band that's obviously rehearsed up the wazoo, this seems to be the only gig Dana Jade intends to play. Just this one, then nuffin'.

It's not like I want to condemn Dana Jade to a lifetime of hammering up and down the motorways of olde England from one toilet venue to another, and I know that minimalism is kinda kewl these days. But one gig seems downright parsimonious - and, surely, amounts to abandoning that freshly-released album to twitch in the wind, poor thing.

But it looks like tonight was our lot. You were either here, or you weren't. Well, I'm glad I was - but shouldn't there be more to come?



Dana Jade: Website | Facebook

Model Society: Website | Facebook

The B Of The Bang: Website | Facebook

For more photos from this gig, find Dana Jade by name here.

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