Live: Drugdealer Cheerleader farewell show @ Underworld, 20/10/2011
Tucked away between wall to wall coverage of the World Eggchasing championships and souvenir centrefolds of dead dictators I’ll forgive you for missing news of the global pom pom shortage.
Okay, I’m making it up, but c’mon what other good reason is there for tonight’s headliners hanging up their decorative fluff-balls? Still, more on that later.
We begin this Cutting Edge showcase (which on tonight’s evidence I’m taking more as a hairdressing in-joke rather than a mission statement) with Passion for Cats, a fresh faced gang of young offenders from South East London. The Cats scratch out a groove rooted in 90s alt rock, think Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, but with enough snap to their crackle to shake off derivative shackles in exchange for something more progressive. Influences invade the set from QOTSA to Hendrix. It’s a little at odds with the rest of the bill, but definitely worth keeping an eye on.
From shoegazey to full on foot stomper. As the new adage goes, no one get’s a party started like a mouthy Northerner. So step forward Polly Phluid and his four Yorkshire-men of the Apocalypse. Alright, alright two Yorkshire-men, a Spaniard and a New Zealander (shouldn’t he be egg chasing?).
With WTP Music’s Battle of the Bands title in the bag and promising riffs, energy and glam-tinted rock n’ roll The Idol Dead deliver. In doing so they stake the strongest claim on the bill to inherit DDCL’s good will and sleazy kicks loving fan base. Expect these gender-threatening, punk rock purifiers to become a staple of the scene for years to come.
A change of tone takes us to the Essex Invasion of Trash Monroe. An intense, immense rock n’ roll enema. Meshing genres and and mullering pre-conceptions Trash Monroe are an A&R man’s nightmare. Punk. Alternative. Glam. Rock. New Wave. Fuck it, file under ‘Must See’. Everything about this band feels honed from front-vixen Melaney Delaney’s baby-doll looks and vocal prowl to the crafted, mesmerising wall of sound that powers around and pulls you inside.
It’s moody, it’s passionate, it’s sincere, it should be in your record collection.
After that it’s outside for post-coital smokes, leaving next act Kitty Lipps first against the wall. Now, as the only one I know to prefer 80s KISS to their 70s originals and the proud owner of TWO Wrathchild albums, it defies me to find fault with a band whose front-man takes to the stage in neckachief, shiny gold spandex tights and abs that could take your eye out. So let’s roll with the positive, Kitty Lipps lash their colours to the 80s rock mast from the off and to their credit steer clear of crashdieting – like so many ‘Camden Strip’ contemporaries – on Motley Crue miracle-gro to deliver rawer, rowdier bludgeon riffola.
At times it’s feels a little under-cooked, but sandwiched between between two bands so comfortable with their identities and nearly twenty years gig experience that’s hardly a surprise. For fan’s of outrageous Justin Hawkins inspired pomp rock, with a darker purpose watch this space.
And so tonight’s headliners… After 10 years of touring the toilet circuit, corrupting doe-eyed rock vixens into unflattering tartan mini-skirts, eyeliner, jaegerbombs, a shape-shifting rhythm section – and let’s not do them an injustice a TV Theme Tune AND a Top 100 single – Drugdealer Cheerleader are here to say goodbye London.
Did they ever truly have the songs? Perhaps not, but what they always had in spades was energy and the spark to bring the party to the people. A hotly received set flies by, as the band zip through instant saccharine highs with an infectious exuberance never more present that on LMFAO, the band’s dated ode to MySpace.
I Don’t Wanna Go To School sounds as preposterous and infuriatingly catchy as it ever did, and by the end of the night it would be hard to find anyone in the crowd who wasn’t tempted to want just a little more. DDCL duly oblige firing off a final salvo of Rocking in the Free World and Def Leppard’s Rock! Rock! Till You Drop.
So farewell to glam-rock’s very own Goblin King Hilda, Ringo, Jay and whoever else was there at the end. Was there a Harpo? If not, there should have been. Either way, we’ve enjoyed the time you’ve wasted.
Words by Karl Eisenhauer, pictures kindly supplied by Nikki Q.