Dum Dum Girls - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Dum Dum Girls - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Pete Sykes Rating: Release Date:

Californian four-piece Dum Dum Girls have been making waves ever since their first single on Sub Pop last year. 'Jail La La' was an intoxicating compound of lo-fi fuzz and 60s girl-group glamour, and led to the (slightly disappointing) debut album I Will Be and now the band's first ever European tour. They've entered Leeds under cover of night for this gig, sweeping into the venue at 10.30pm looking immaculately cool. Not that this is actually a proper gig - it's an after party for the launch of Animal Collective's freaky, experimental ODDSAC film, which took place here earlier today, and so there will be no underbill and no encores. Sandwiched between the film and the after-party is a show by The Bundles - featuring Jeffrey Lewis and Karl Blau but not, tonight, Kimya Dawson - and so we have to wait until all those disappointed Moldy Peaches fans have slunk away before Dum Dum Girls take the stage at just after midnight.

They look absolutely amazing. Soundblab doesn't want to come over all Gok Wan here, but the shoes, the tights, the hair, the extremely short dresses - it's simply fabulous, fierce even. Oh, just look at the pictures. At this sight, misogynists among the crowd are probably thinking, "but how can four such pretty girls play rock music?" Well, they can. They start with a blistering 'Bhang Bhang I'm a Burnout', and any doubts are laid to rest. I Will Be was a decent enough record, but too many of the songs sounded flimsy and tinny, with swathes of (inexplicably fashionable) reverb expected to compensate for a weedy-sounding rhythm section and trebly guitars. Played live, the songs sound completely different; tougher, meatier and more forceful. The band are incredibly tight, too: save for a broken guitar string halfway through the set, there are no musical mis-steps at all, and one of the high points comes when they totally nail the soaring harmonies on the chorus of 'Jail La La'.

In this context, the quality of the writing is impressive too. The songs are concise and totally conventional in structure, but singer-songwriter Dee-Dee was clearly paying attention when her parents played her The Supremes and The Beach Boys as a child, so cleverly does she use rhythm and harmony. The bulk, if not all, of the material in a short set comes from I Will Be, with the brooding, melodramatic title track and 'Everybody's Out' - which sounds atrocious on record but is far more muscular and satisfying tonight - proving highlights. After little more than half an hour the band leave the stage, and return for one more song, 'It Only Takes One Night', before shyly thanking the audience and departing for the final time. It's become apparent to Soundblab that, rather than Dum Dum Girls being some fashionable retro posers, they are in fact a surprisingly good band, who can make their pretty pop songs, well, rock. And, of course, they look fantastic.

Comments (3)

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Awesome review!

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Worth the wait, I hope.

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Indeed is is

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