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The Dogbones

The Fly , London
Sunday March 29 2009


It's free to get in, free shots of vodka are being shoved into my hand - why aren't more gigs like this?

The answer to that one, maybe, is that this isn't an ordinary gig. Maleficent are throwing a party to mark the release of their seven-track CD Demize. I'm not sure if seven tracks counts as a short album or a long EP, but, speaking as a fan of loud and extravagant bands in small spaces, tonight's gig should do the right stuff.

Down in the basement, the Fly manages to put on a good impression of a rock venue even though the entire place isn't much bigger than your living room. Compressed onto the handkerchief-sized stage, Maleficent's usual crazed theatrics have been replaced for one night only by a blast of stripped-down, in-yer-face rock dynamics - there just isn't any room for the band's usual blend of ballet moves and theatrical cavortings. Nevertheless, everything is played with a hammering intensity which more than makes up for the squashed-up circumstances of the gig - and also serves to remind us that underneath all the theatrics and the visuals, Maleficent are a pretty useful rock band.

MaleficentA few little rock 'n' roll vaudeville elements do manage creep into the show - guitarist Dr Sickx is wearing his disturbingly jolly mask, making him look like a gone-wrong children's entertainer, and he takes time out to goof with co-vocalist Mortimer Cain and a camera. But lead vocalist Martini has put her trademark ballet moves on hold tonight, and concentrates on blasting the front row with a fire-and-brimstone vocal. 'Demize' itself is a mighty blast, the song kicking up into the chorus like a dangerous dog that's just been let off the leash, while Nick Cave's 'Where The Wild Roses Grow' is given a dose of sinister melodrama - no mean feat for a song which is about death in the first place.

Maleficent are equal parts KMFDM, Killing Joke, and Killswitch Engage, and while that might look like an unholy alliance, I like the way they've negotiated the treaty.

The Dogbones are an alliance of sorts, too - except that in this case it's between the constituent members of the band, who between them represent Queen Adreena, Daisy Chainsaw, and Selfish Cunt. The band brew up a thrumming, buzzsaw sound that manages to be both assertive and punky and dreamy and - yes - ever so slightly psychedelic at the same time.

Powered along by the two-drummers-one-drum-kit engine, with the guitars giving it a good old Gibson gearbox grind, the Dogbones' noise has a weirdly hypnotic quality, even as the band slams the punk pedal to the floor. Sharing out the guitar, bass, and vocal duties, Crispin Gray and Nomi Leonard seem at once totally rock 'n' roll, and also curiously fey and otherworldly. The seem to be lost in the blatter and swirl of the music, unperturbed by the fact that in this small, crowded cellar, the audience is mere inches away from the performers.

When Nomi suddenly dashes forward and plants a kiss on a friend in the front row, it's quite a jolt - for a moment, the fourth wall is shattered, as The Dogbones' rock 'n' roll planet collides with the outside world. No mean feat, in a venue approximately the size of an asteroid.

The Dogbones The Dogbones


Essential links:

The Dogbones: MySpace
Maleficent: Website
| MySpace

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

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  Page credits: Revierw, photos and construction by Michael Johnson.
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