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The Dogbones - flyerThe Dogbones
Vile Imbeciles
Kitty Junkbrother

Dublin Castle, London
Wednesday October 20 2010






The Dogbones hit the Dublin Castle tonight, and while that's not an unusual occurrence in itself - the band take a swing through Camden's back rooms and basements on a fairly regular basis - this gig has more of a raison de mosh than most. It's the launch gig for The Dogbones' debut album, which has actually been available on import from the Tokyo label 51 Records for some time. But now there's a no-messin' British release, and that's a suitable excuse for a gig.

Let's bring on the support bands. Kitty Junkbrother isn't actually a band: she's a one-woman cabaret turn, just herself and a keyboard and some out-there, down-home, London back-room blues. Her Miss Havisham wedding dress and Oberleutnant's cap lend her the air of a Victorian governess who's temporarily moonlighting as a traffic warden, but her music, which ranges from the deceptively mellow to the downright acerbic, places her somewhere between Catherine Anne Davies and Lydia Lunch - and that's not a bad sandwich.

Kitty J.B. croons and caterwauls, sometimes stroking her keyboard, then bashing at it angrily, as if it's stayed out all night without permission, and single-handed commands the attention of the early-doors crowd. In a way, she needs red velvet around her, gilt-edged supper-club surroundings and a crowd as lavishly costumed as she is, but nevertheless she makes the plain old back room of the Dublin Castle her own.

Kitty Junkbrother / Vile Imbeciles

If the Vile Imbeciles are about anything, they're about the angles. They get more angular every time I see the band - now, their music is all Beefheartian tangents, fits and starts and wayward geometry. They hunch over their instruments and set up their clang-and-buzz racket, like twenty-first century London new-wavers who've lunched enthusiastically on Clear Spot or Lick My Decals Off, Baby.

Given that when I first saw Vile Imbeciles they seemed to be chanelling The Birthday Party, that's quite a stylistic move: from full-throttle punzoid blues to this herky-jerky racket. And they're good at it, too, but somehow I'm not feeling it. This is music that induces chin-stroking appreciation, rather than a visceral surge of emotional connection. Tonight, their set is all side roads and intersections, three-point turns and scenic routes, but I'm waiting for the band to hit the main drag and floor it. They never quite put the foot down.

I don't think we'll have any such problem with The Dogbones, because flooring it on the main drag is What They Do. Here we go, then: first, the dual-drummer stomp on the starter-motor, and then, with a schlannngg on the guitar, Johnny Orion gives the accelerator some rock 'n' roll welly, and The Dogbones are away.

Vocalist Nomi Leonard appears in an army helmet and tousled blonde wig, the words to 'The Whole World Is Weird' written on her legs in felt pen. She looks like she's just got back from 'Nam, where it must've all got very strange.

The Dogbones

Naturally, 'The Whole World Is Weird' itself is a thing of manic thunder, in a set that's a gleefully unrestrained riot throughout. But, in a way, 'Weird' is The Dogbones' anthem, the one song that tells you what the band are all about in a rock 'n' roll nutshell. It's a big bad racket packet of tumbling drums, overdriven guitars, sugar-rush pop vocals, and controlled craziness - for even at their most manic and messy, freaky and flipped-out, The Dogbones are always in control.

The Dogbones' jalopy might look like the most ramshackle racer on the street, but it's put together with precision and piloted with a sure touch on the steering wheel. No matter how weird the world gets, this band knows what it's doing, and even as the show scales new heights of freak-outery, you know they've got iot all nailed. Nomi doesn't even have to read the lyrics off her legs.

Full-tilt and turbulent, The Dogbones floor it round the block and hurtle to the stop light. Somewhere along the way, Nomi loses her wig - it mysteriously re-appears on Johnny Orion's head - but the band never loses the beat. By way of a victory lap, there's a crash-bang-wallop version of 'I Want Alcohol', a song in which Nomi and Johnny eschew a lengthy list of rock 'n' roll substances in favour of ye olde booze. It's a woozy, staggering thing, appropriately enough, but still shot through with The Dogbones' alcopop sensibility. I think we can all drink to that.


The Dogbones: MySpace | Facebook

Vile Imbeciles: MySpace | Facebook

Kitty Junkbrother: MySpace | Facebook

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

Find a Dogbones interview here, and an album review here.

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