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Dogs, cats, cocks, cuntsThe Dogbones
Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons
100% Beefcock And The Tits Burster
Cunt Crusher

Water Rats, London
Thursday January 26 2012

 

 

It's raining dogs and cats and cocks and cunts in here.

Now, before you get all outraged because I've said rude words, that's just the name this gig is going under. The Dogbones have assembled a bill of friends and fellow noise-generators, and packaged the whole thing under that snappy title. Sensitive souls are just going to have to suck it up tonight.

Right now we're sucking up Cunt Crusher, first on under the ice-blue lights. Now a three-piece, Cunt Crusher aren't quite as minimalist as they used to be, but they're still pretty minimal.

One drum, one guitar, one bass, chopping out a rhythmic rumble-grumble - and one lead vocal, a frazzled bluezoid wail from Justine Cartier, whose dress is minimalist enough to match the music. She stalks and prances and mugs to the audience with a fine repertoire of exaggerated expressions, all the while giving us that uber-eloquent yelp and holler, as if every song is a miniature kitchen sink drama.

Oddly, given that Cunt Crusher play it slow and low throughout, I'm reminded of Selfish Cunt, and not just because of the C-word. Justine Cartier's dramatic vamping isn't a million miles away from Martin Tomlinson's stylised histrionics. The two of them should do a duet: they'd be the Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra of the mutant blues set.

100% Beefcock And the Tits Burster / Cunt CrusheAnd now, folks, the cocks.

100% Beefcock And The Tits Burster sounds like a name that was made up after a long night in the pub, but - like Cunt Crusher - the band that lurks behind the name is a more serious proposition than you might expect.

A drums 'n' bass two-piece, they generate a big, blocky onslaught of pummelling noise, as fearsome as machinery, as relentless as perpetual motion. They sound like the intro to 'Tube Disasters' by Flux Of Pink Indians - you know, those four bars of no-shit bass and drums - extended to its illogical conclusion. As concepts go, that's a humdinger.

There are no songs - at least, not as we understand them in this universe. Just slabs of rhythmic blat and roar, interspersed with occasional shouts from the bassist - she sounds like she's yelling encouragement at a fight. Then, hammering at her bass all the while, she'll silenty mouth words to herself, as if berating her inner demons.

I don't know if I'd buy an album by 100% Beefcock And The Tits Burster. I think, separated from the implacable relentlessness of the band's live incarnation, their lack of light and shade - it's shade all the way with these two - would be rather heavy going. But on stage they rip it up with equal parts noise and determination.

Pussycat And the Dirty JohnsonsCat time comes round now, as Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons wrench things in the direction of slightly more regular rock 'n' roll.

The operative word is 'slightly', however, because although you'll frequently find this band filed in the psychobilly section, in fact the Johnsons aren't quite the neat genre-fit you might imagine.

They're taking their own detour from the highway, with a load of components swiped from the rock 'n' roll scrapyard insecurely strapped down in the back of their pickup.

They're what Captain Beefheart would be, if the good Captain had grown up in Basingstoke, listening to The Clash. And if he was female, and feline.

Tonight the band whip it up and wallop it down, swaggering riffs colliding with killer beats, Pussycat herself prowling among the monitors as if hunting for lunch. 'Why Do You Hate me?' is a big, brash, drums-fest, Puss giving it a from-the-rooftops caterwaul and the drummer nailing it so hard I can almost forgive the fact that he's wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt. It's a real show, a brash prance around rock 'n' roll's back alleys. That's cat power, kids.

The Dogbones, of course, are no strangers to a good old glam-slam either. In fact, a good old glam-slam is a neat five-word description of the band's modus operandi.

The DogbonesHolding court at a gig they assembled themselves, the band are on fine form - although, come to think of it, I've never seen The Dogbones on un-fine form. This bunch has the key showbiz skill of turning on the juice any time they get on stage. It's certainly flowing tonight, at any rate.

The twin drummers stoke up the fires in the engine room, and The Dogbones give it loads in a flurry of thrift shop razzle and swaggering rifferama. Guitarist Johnny Orion showboats like a good 'un, while vocalist Nomi Leonard manages to seem dangerously unhinged and entirely in control at the same time.

That's the thing about The Dogbones - you get the feeling that even in the band's most crazed moments, such as when Nomi is upside down among the monitor wedges amid a howling rock racket, they know exactly how far they can push it.

Tonight it's vintage Dogbones all the way. The tumbling drums coalesce into 'Everybody Thinks You're Strange', one of The Dogbones' songs about being a square peg in a round-hole world - something of a theme for the band, almost.

'Goodbye Miss Jane', a song as reflective as The Dogbones ever get, is a burst of precision-controlled rock 'n' roll, but it's the wrap-up romp through 'I Want Alcohol' that pushes the rockometer up into the red this time.

A fine blast of the good stuff, then - and a fine gig that hung together splendidly from doors-open to curfew. We need more like this in London. Rude words for the win, I say.

 

The Dogbones: Facebook

Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons: Website | MySpace | Facebook

100% Beefcock And The Tits Burster: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Cunt Crusher: MySpace

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

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