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The Dogbones
Temple Of Gold

Borderline, London
Monday October 14 2013 

 

Down in the Borderline, Soho's premier rock 'n' roll hole, (well, it is, isn't it?) the latest excursion from Rachel Stamp man David Pryder Prangley, Temple Of Gold, are doing a swaggery, glammy, rocky thing with a curious air of detachment.

It's if the band is just a side-project to fill in time until Rachel Stamp reform, or some other, bigger, project crops up. They make a good old rumbustious racket, and the guitarists are no slouches at rock 'n' roll shape-throwing, but there's no real sense that the band are driven by any particular hunger, or any seething inner need to make this music.

David Ryder Prangley himself seems rather frowny and downbeat, as he runs through his repertoire of frontman moves as if following instructions. In the end, I think what I'm seeing here is a band of entirely competent rock professionals doing their thing. But I'd rather watch a bunch of inspired amateurs falling to bits....gloriously.

The Dogbones can certainly seethe gloriously when they let themselves go - but they don't quite let themselves off the leash tonight. Here, in a support slot, playing to people who may well have never seen the band before (but who might be induced into becoming new fans), they're on their best behaviour.

Tonight we get The Dogbones as a smart, tight, abrasive but not antagonistic rock outfit. They seem to have reined in their natural tendency to Dadaist chaos in favour of giving the London rock audience a no-shit set of punchy tunes...while at the same time contriving to ever so slightly pull their punches.

Temple Of Gold / The Dogbones

 

Guitarist Johnny Orion is even wearing one of his old Queen Adreena T-shirts - a rare nod to The Dogbones' pre-history, but a pretty useful clue for anyone in the crowd who might be thinking, "Now where have I seen that guy before...?" On vocals, Nomi Leonard lets rip with a fine holler - "Courtney Love," mutters someone behind me, making a too-obvious comparison that wouldn't hold water at any other Dogbones gig. But tonight, The Dogbones are taking care not to steal the show...or frighten the horses.

The
Flesh For Lulu we see before us tonight isn't quite the same band that played the Batcave in 1982, or found itself featured in John Carpenter's movie Some Kind Of Wonderful in 1986, or scored a couple of Billboard chart hits in the USA as the 80s became the 90s. This incarnation of the band is a new line-up assembled by frontman Nick Marsh, and it's immediately clear the general intention is to bring the rock.

Flesh For Lulu deal in heavy, crunchy rifferama - a big, hefty sound, full of extravagantly schlanged guitar, driven by pumping bass and drums, that I guess owes much to the band's late 80s touring on the US rock circuit and little to their early 80s origins as the British goth scene's in-house glam band. They play with a roadhouse swagger that wouldn't be out of place at the Boar's Nest in the Dukes Of Hazzard, an impression that's reinforced by the extended, bluesey rendition of 'Vaguely Human' that turns into Elvis Presley's 'Mystery Train' half way through.

Flesh For Lulu

'Subterraneans', the band's big hit on UK goth club dancefloors, is disposed of early on - a measure of confidence, I suppose. Flesh For Lulu know they have plenty more swashbuckling anthems where that one came from. Sure enough, the anthems are duly rolled out in a barrage of beefy guitar: 'Laundromat Kat', 'Postcards From Paradise', 'Baby Hurricane', all given maximum welly, Nick Marsh chopping mightily at his six strings, a one-man compendium of Stiv Bators and Ian Hunter.

'Black Tattoo' turns into a big, blues wail of a song, the vocal a swamp-soaked drawl, Paul-Ronney Angel of Urban Voodoo Machine jumping up to provide a howl of harmonica. All of a sudden Flesh For Lulu turn into the transatlantic good ol' boys they've been threatening to become all night.

It's rather disconcerting to see a band from the British post-punk scene so comprehensively reinvent itself as a cross between the Rolling Stones and ZZ Top - but I suppose that transition happened years ago, probably somewhere between Tipitina's Uptown in New Orleans and the Orphean Theatre in Boston, back in 1988 or thereabouts, when Flesh For Lulu were kings of the American rock 'n' roll freeway. (Those are real Flesh For Lulu gigs, by the way. I looked them up).

In Nick Marsh's head, at least, it seems those wagon wheels are still a-rollin'.


Flesh For Lulu: Facebook

The Dogbones: Facebook

Temple Of Gold: Website

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

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