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Pussycat And The Dirty JohnsonsThe Lovely Eggs
Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons
Bull And Gate, London
Saturday August 21 2010

 

 

 

With a name like that, I've got to give Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons a go, haven't I? Not that I normally go to gigs just because the band has the same name as me, although as it happens I have occasionally bought records, randomly, simply because the artist is named Johnson.

That's how I own an EP by The Johnson Family (a more hayseed version of The Cramps) and the Johnson Engineering Company (slammin' industrialism), both lucky finds. I once found an album by a MOR country singer who is actually called Michael Johnson, but I think we'll draw a discreet veil over him.

Fortunately, Pussycat and her band of psychobilly desperadoes keep the family name in good odour. The lads throw down some suitably rough and ready riffin', while Pussycat herself, tail a-twitch, stalks the stage and caterwauls a vocal. But don't be misled by the P-word. Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons aren't a straight-up psychobilly band. I dare say they'd insist they're not a psychobilly band at all. In fact, they deal in edgy and colourful rock 'n' roll, brash and trashy but always with an ear for a catchy chorus. Pussycat prances and prowls under the purple lights; she straps on a guitar to put some extra beef in the riffs, then next minute she's rolling all over the stage. It's a bravura performance, but I suspect this band never delivers anything less. Wham-bam feline rock 'n' roll. Eight out of ten cats prefer it, and you can bet they're working on the other two.

On the face of it The Lovely Eggs don't have much in common with Pussycat and her chums. There are a mere two of them: David Blackwell on drums, Holly Ross on guitar. Which might seem a little on the minimalist side, but there's nothing minimalist about their racket. Their songs start off all whimsical and observational and quizzical and funny and odd, but just when you've figured that The Lovely Eggs must be perched daintily on a branch of the twee tree, they shift musical gears in an eyeblink and unleash The Rock.

In these moments David lays into the drums like John Bonham has invaded his psyche; Holly gives it the full Zep on guitar. And then you're wondering if you should flash metal fingers at them and get down the front to headbang, when it all shifts again and they're singing some gawky, geeky ditty about sandwiches, or birds and other animals, or enquiring solicitously as to whether you've ever heard a digital accordion, or eaten beef bourguignon, or fought a deadly scorpion, or travelled through time in a DeLorean - and if you haven't, you'll burn in hell. Apparently. And here comes another mentalist guitar freakstorm to illustrate the point.

The Lovely EggsThe Lovely Eggs are brilliantly bonkers, without ever seeming contrived or self-consciously wacky. I imagine they'd get very frosty if you dared to call them a comedy band.

The Lovely Eggs employ humour as just one weapon in their armoury - alongside their keen eye for the odd angles of life, a genuine, effortless pop sensibility and that lurking affinity for monster riffs and thunderous rock 'n' roll mayhem.

They're the only band I've ever seen who'd probably claim both The Pastels and Black Sabbath as influences - and draw upon both in the course of a single song. Tonight they charm the crowd and rock the house in equal measures.

 

The Lovely Eggs: MySpace | Facebook

Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons: MySpace | Facebook

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

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Page credits: Review, photos and construction by Michael Johnson. Nemesis logo by Antony Johnston. Red N version by Mark Rimmell.
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