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The DogbonesThe Dogbones
Hana Piranha
Oblong

Dublin Castle, London
Friday March 9 2012

 

 

I think I'm being pronked.

Pronk - a term coined by the Organ zine to describe an unholy hybrid of prog and punk - seems to fit Oblong very well. They're all math rock erudition in collision with a big guitar racket and full-on vocals.

Not that Oblong are very Prog. I mentioned math rock, but we're really in the basic arithmetic class here. Punk seems to be winning the battle for the band's collective psyche. At any rate, the noise is suitably loud and crashy-bashy, and the vocalist, looking like she's just stepped out of the sixties in a sack dress, gives it the full foghorn.

Still, Oblong include enough time changes and off-kilter arrangements to suggest an affinity with the wierdo fringe. So, yes, let's call 'em pronk. A good stonk of pronk. That's what Oblong give us.

Having just tried to nail some sort of musical definition onto Oblong, it's ironic that Hana Piranha is very keen to tell us what she's not. "We're not gypsy punk," she insists. A fair point - ever since Gogol Bordello had their big hit it seems that any relatively rowdy band with a violin in the line-up is automatically gypsy punk.

Hana Piranha is definitely rowdy, and definitely has a violin, too, but this set is a full-on rock workout. Not so much caravans and campfires, more like T-Birds and Tequila. The band, an incongruous bunch of neatly-attired shirt 'n' tie merchants - they look like sales assistants at a computer store - crank up the racket, while Hana herself stakes out her territory centre stage, giving us a don't-mess stare over her violin.

The sound sometimes gets scratchy and angular, but more often it's that full-phat rock racket, all powerchords and Hana's shredtastic violin solos. She switches between outbreaks of assertive sawing and bursts of equally assertive singing and back again at a moment's notice, her vocals a rock diva holler. It all sounds like Kittie covering AC/DC...with a violin. Not much gypsy punk about that, but Hana has an energy about her that I rather like.

Oblong / Hana Piranha

There's a brief interruption to the Piranha show when the guitarist breaks a string  - "Anybody got a spare guitar?" he asks, nonplussed. In that moment he really does look like a computer store sales assistant rather than a rock 'n' roller - a real rocker would've just played on. A guitar is borrowed, and Hana Piranha riffs and shreds and howls to a finish, brandishing her violin like a weapon. I'm left pondering the irony that Hana Piranha - a violinist, for heaven's sake - is the most rock 'n' roll thing in her own band.

Rock 'n' roll credentials are never in doubt when The Dogbones are in the room. You practically have to mop up the rock 'n' roll juice from the floor when The Dogbones walk by. And when The Dogbones get on stage - well, it's like how much more rock 'n' roll could things get? And the answer is none. None more rock 'n' roll.

The DogbonesNow we've established that, let's get down the front and get blasted. Tonight The Dogbones are giving it some serious welly. Vocalist Nomi Leonard goes grandstanding around the stage in comedy sunglasses, as if she taught Courtney Love all she knows about being a gonzoid frontwoman. Guitarist Johnny Orion struts and preens as if there's a full-length mirror right in front of him. The whole thing builds into a perfect - well, authentically ramshackle, actually - storm of audio-visual verve. Which is, of course, just what The Dogbones do.

Tonight there are new songs in the set. The band have written a fresh batch of outsider anthems in the shape of 'The World will Never Understand' and 'We Don't want What You Got' - in which The Dogbones take things down to an almost indietastic jangle before revving up the guitars again, as Nomi and Johnny trade vocals.

The Dogbones do seem to regard themselves as perpetual outsiders, at odds with the normal world. But as their crazed carnival of noise and colour unfolds on the Dublin Castle's minimalist triangle of a stage, it's hard not to conclude that this is where the good stuff is.

 

The Dogbones: MySpace | Facebook

Hana Piranha: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Oblong: Facebook

 

For more photos from this gig, find the bands by name here.

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