Tuesday 13 October 2009

Doll and The Kicks - Camden Barfly 9 October 2009

Doll & The Kicks by Indigo Burns

It’s a routine trip out to the Barfly. However, as usual, there are unexpected treats to be found if you look about.

The first band onstage are the difficult-to-Google ‘Ray’. They have a laconic and cheery front man (let’s call him ‘Jack Kansas’) and they play basic, guitar-heavy rock. They aren’t revolutionary, but they ain’t bad either and I’m happy to spend time in their company. Jack is wearing a Damn Vandals’ T-shirt and I’m pretty sure that he and they may be related.

The next band on are already playing stadiums in their heads and whether they get to do this for real will depend on the British public’s hunger for yet another bunch of lads who have taken Kasabian/Oasis epic pomp pop as a rigid template. Sound Of Guns are big and brash and spend a lot of time blinding us with white lights. They are very good at what they do, which does not make them in any way likeable.

It is a huge, empty sound, devoid of anything other than fake emotion and shouty sincerity. They are dispiriting, and will probably be massive. It’s the equivalent of a television the size of a house that is just used to screen the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Headliners are Doll & The Kicks and their name says it all. This is an act that is all about singer er...Doll, batting her huge black eyelashes and bouncing around under a big pink bow in her hair. The rest of the band is utterly anonymous, both in terms of appearance and music.

As a showcase for their singer, tonight’s show is exemplary. We get snarly naughty-but-nice rock, the occasional lapse into reggae rhythms, and cheesy mainstream pop. Doll’s eyes are hypnotic (she has GREAT eyes) and you can’t tear yourself away from her. This is both the blessing and curse – I’m glad to have seen her in action, but can’t remember a single song or riff that the band played. It’s all very enjoyable and pleasant, but I expect more from the bands that I see. ‘Doll’ would be a charming performer whatever she was doing, but I get the feeling that she doesn’t need to be in this band to achieve this.

In many respects Doll & The Kicks remind me of past Call Of The Wyld faves Battlekat (who I think may have split up, but would be delighted if they haven’t) -a charismatic front person with a penchant for performance, but no real sense of direction or purpose. You might watch the DVD, but you wouldn’t play the MP3.

Dressing up is fun, but never quite as much fun for other people as it is for you.

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