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The Dogbones
The VinylsBugeye
The Vinyls

Dublin Castle, London
Friday September 7 2012



Well, the scowl has certainly been wiped off the face of rock 'n' roll tonight. There's a bunch of cheery chaps on stage, all suited and booted, being unrelentingly chirpy to the sound of a jangly indie guitar.

I'm in the presence of The Vinyls, who are a kind of freshers' week version of an indie band - somewhat overdressed in suits and ties, somewhat over-hearty in their ironic geek-dancing and general mugging, and bouncily relentless in their rumbustious indie-pop.

They've got a bunch of mates down the front, all similarly suited up in casual-but-smart party gear, toting wine glasses, taking photos of each other, and generally largin' it like they're warming up for a Cambridge University May ball. The band's determinedly upbeat indie-jangle isn't bad - in fact, it's interestingly Kinks-y around the edges - but in the end it all does rather feel like I've gatecrashed someone else's party.

Bugeye have a more for-real feel. A taut, economical, post-punky power trio, they're all caustic, staccato guitar and grinding, growling bass. The drums are all over the back end, the vocals - a snappish, fractious squall - shoulder their way to the front as if jumping a bus queue. Bugeye

The blurb on the promoter's website compares Bugeye to Siouxsie, but that's pretty much standard. Any vaguely new-wavey band with a female vocalist will get compared to Siouxsie. It's practically the law - unless the vocalist has blonde hair, in which case the regulations allow the Debbie Harry comparison to be wheeled out.

Me, I'd say Bugeye aren't anything like Siouxsie, the Banshees, or anything in that area. They're much too choppy and stroppy, much more nervy and tense. Set them alongside the Au Pairs, or park them next to Penetration. But Bugeye's salt and vinegar pop has its own brusque force.

I don't think anyone's ever compared The Dogbones to Siouxsie. I don't think anyone would ever dare. They'd probably come round and set fire to your sofa. What is, perhaps, more telling is that nobody's ever compared The Dogbones to Queen Adreena, which is odd on the face of it. Most of The Dogbones were, at one time or another, also denizens of the court of Queen Adreena. Not that the band have ever bigged-up their past, but it's never been a secret, either. Maybe it's because The Dogbones are such a force of rock 'n' roll nature that the previous entries on their CV aren't relevant.

The DogbonesAt any rate, tonight they give us an update on the state of things in Dogbones world, and it's loud, unrepentantly in your face, and generally mighty fine.

Here they go, into a new song: 'Love Your Scary Paranoia', with the drums falling over themselves in a tribal barrage and the guitar coming in like a Johnny Thunders army.

Entwined in the racketry, there's a lilting, to-and-fro vocal between gutarist Johnny Orion, dapper in his cricketing blazer (a look only a British rock star could get away with) and lead vocalist Nomi Leonard, with her Daryl-Hannah-in-Blade-Runner eye stripe and her Danielle-Dax-in-a-tizzy wig (a look only Nomi Leonard could get away with).

In that one song, we have the Dogbones' key prowess and vital finesse: the ability to drop a little pearl of poppiness into their steaming vat of rock 'n' roll, and thrash it out in a glorious low-slung swaggering frenzy while wearing threads that look like they've been ransacked from a glam rock Oxfam shop and the wardrobe of Tim Brooke-Taylor.

More new songs follow: the stop-go guitar outbursts and almost Beefheartian vocal snarl of 'For Your Perfect Head', the outsider anthems 'Got To Get Out Of Here' and 'The World Will Never Understand You'. Tthe Dogbones are forever on the side of the outsider, instinctively rooting for the weirdo fringe. And, let's face it, they know all about weirdo fringes. The DogbonesThere's one on Nomi's head right now.

But maybe that's the way the band feel about their own art: kicking their wild noise around the badlands of London's scruffy rock 'n' roll holes, pulling in a crowd of beatniks, freaks, contrarians and punk rock pariahs as they go. Well, I don't know about you, but I'll go with that.



The Dogbones: MySpace | Facebook

Bugeye: (There are millions of Bugeyes on the web, but I can't find this Bugeye. If you have info, please tell me!)

The Vinyls: Website | Facebook

For more photos from this gig,
find The Dogbones by name here.

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