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The Dogbones flyerThe Dogbones
Dutch Order
Order 66

Underworld, London
Saturday February 26 2011

 

 

 

 

There's a man on stage who looks disturbingly like Bill Murray. He's bashing out a merry brand of pop punk with his band of amiable herberts. This is Order 66 - a band which seems to have a thing about Star Wars. The name is some sort of arcane reference, apparently. I'm sure that gets the sci-fi geeks all excited.

But I'm not a geek, and, frankly, I'm not particularly excited, either. Order 66 make a perfectly acceptable poppy, punky racket, but there's nothing much about the music that's distinctive. At any given moment, approximately 64,827 bands are making acceptable poppy, punky rackets somewhere in the world, and I'm afraid the Star Wars angle isn't enough to make Order 66 stand out from the crowd. Maybe they should play up the Bill Murray angle, or something.

Here's another statistic for you: at any given moment, there are 27,903 bands out there who are influenced, to a greater or lesser extent, by Joy Division. And here's one of them now: Dutch Order, who certainly have the essential sound nailed, although they depart from the blueprint by being - well, a happy version of Joy Division.

Order 66 / Dutch Order

The vocalist rocks it up like a good 'un, at intervals doing that clap-hands-above-head thing in an effort to gee up the audience, and generally making like he's having the best time ever. This, given that the music is pretty much a slicked-up twenty-first century take on the classic Joy Division sound (practically every song threatens to turn into 'Shadowplay', but never quite does) strikes me as downright surreal. Surely music that faithfully reproduces Joy Division's after-dark intensity should be presented with an appropriate combination of bleak introspection, and an air of slightly dangerous edginess? I can't quite reconcile the band's authentically glowering sound with the sight of Dutch Order's vocalist cheerily happy-clapping his way around the stage. C'mon, mate, at least pretend that you're feeling it.

Still, at least the lads are all wearing nice shirts. Autograph range at Marks And Spencer, probably. That's Dutch Order for you. A good-time Joy Division in crisply laundered casualwear. The crowd seems to like them, but I'm not convinced. Quite apart from the glaringly obvious pastiche of the music, which always loses points on my scorecard, the awkward mismatch between sound and vision just doesn't do it for me. Back to the shirt rack, chaps, and think again.

The Dogbones, however, hit the audio-visual nexus point bang on the nose. This is a band that looks like it sounds: thrift-shop garage-glam, punky and spunky, messed and distressed in exactly the way that rock 'n' roll bands should be. And they play it like they've got ramshackle rock juice in their veins. The two drummers kick off the clatter, Johnny Orion gives it some guitar cranking. And here comes vocalist Nomi Leonard, picking her way through the dolls strewn about the stage as if she's just won a fight at the kindergarten. She accosts the mic stand as if it's a trespasser, and The Dogbones are away: whacking the crowd around its collective head with their gleeful crash and bash and caterwaul.

The Dogbones

But, as I always say, it's not all noise. Because The Dogbones' secret weapon - a genuine pop sensibility, and an unerring ear for a catchy chorus - means that even when they crank the racket to maximum momentum, we're never too far from a hook that snags your brain. 'Hey Chihuahua' barrels in on an extended drum-lope, Nomi pirouetting about the stage with a bottle of wine, but when the chorus kicks in it's as if the unquiet spirit of Pure Pop joins the party. I hope it remembered to bring some booze.

Johnny Orion steps up for a vocal on 'Give Us A Kiss', that dissection of the music biz set to a tune that's half Psychedelic Furs at their most shouty, half Beach Boys at their most lilting, while Nomi handles the thrashy-guitar side of things. Two girls from the crowd are hauled on stage and given dolls to play with, Nomi suddenly taking on the role of Play Leader. It's a little bit of bizarre theatre in amongst the rock 'n' roll thunder. Somehow The Dogbones reconcile their disparate reference points, square all their circles, join the dots between pure punk and sheer showbiz, and make a glorious racket in the process. Like I said: exactly the way rock 'n' roll bands should be.

 

The Dogbones: MySpace | Facebook

Dutch Order: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Order 66: Website | Facebook

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

Find an interview with The Dogbones here.

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