Do Me Bad Things, Barfly, London <br/> Hope of the States, Astoria, London

Nine turn it up to eleven
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The Independent Culture

Hey hey mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove... Anybody with a working knowledge of rock'n'roll and a functioning pair of hips will already be preparing to wiggle their booty upon reading those lines - Led Zep's "Black Dog", of course (although zoophiles may prefer to read "mama said" as "marmoset") - and if you're feeling that, then you're already feeling Do Me Bad Things.

Hey hey mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove... Anybody with a working knowledge of rock'n'roll and a functioning pair of hips will already be preparing to wiggle their booty upon reading those lines - Led Zep's "Black Dog", of course (although zoophiles may prefer to read "mama said" as "marmoset") - and if you're feeling that, then you're already feeling Do Me Bad Things.

Do Me Bad Things formed on St Valentine's Day 2003 in the south London/Croydon hinterlands in that magical window of opportunity between the ages of 18 and 23 when you're living in squats and/or doing crappy jobs that you don't care about quitting, on a mission to (in the words of Tremendous Mike, of their record label Must Destroy) "shatter the illusion that Saturday afternoon 'Top Shop indie bands' are somehow of any relevance".

On my first DMBT encounter, at this year's Reading Festival, I described their thrilling, no-rules glam-blues and soul-metal as "a kind of Running-With-Scissors Sisters; indeed, if the Scizzy Sissies had grown up in south London and listened to Seventies rock instead of disco, this is how they might have turned out." On second sight, I'll see that description and raise myself a handful more. If Nirvana were not a power trio but a power nonet, if Zeppelin hotwired The Brian Setzer Orchestra (DMBT don't actually have a horn section, but you keep imagining that they do, or should), if Queens of the Stone Age's tour bus crashed into a full gospel choir, if - bear with me here - the parade in Dumbo was led by Dali's long-legged elephants... then it might come close to the glorious celebratory rock'n'soul freakshow that is Do Me Bad Things.

In their own words, the DMBT sound is "like sex when you try every position". These people are maximalists to the bone: they operate under the assumption that, while less may be more, more is even morer. Their nine members incorporate two bassists, three guitarists and anything up to seven vocalists (some of whom, notably Clara Mac and Kimberley Dimonde, look so thrilled to be there that you wonder whether Jim has fixed it for them).

There are no official leaders, but the two emerging stars, the suavely-greasepainted Nicolai Prowse and the hurricane-tonsilled Chantal Delusional, make a remarkable frontline, hollering their way through a set with such intriguing titles as "Sprezzatura", "That's My Demographic" and "Liv Ullman on Drums". (When they need a break, up steps Ad Lick, who sounds - and it must be said, looks - like Tom Waits or Captain Beefheart on the brink of mutating into a werewolf.) The Darkness, who have invited DMBT to support them on their upcoming tour in the full knowledge that they may well blast them offstage, must have big balls indeed.

No such worries for Manic Street Preachers, whose support act on their winter jaunt is somewhat less of a sonic slap in the face, but a decent auditory experience nonetheless. Hope of the States' biggest London show to date happens to fall on an unhappy day for music. All the talk in the bar is of John Peel, news of whose death broke earlier in the day, and what ought to be a triumphal night for HOTS - no strangers to untimely death themselves, after the suicide of guitarist and founder Jimmy Lawrence in January of this year - is ambushed by events, and feels more like a wake for a man who, it goes without saying, championed the band in their early days.

Six young men from the nice market town of Chichester, Hope of the States are acquiring the somewhat incongruous status of post-rock superstars: last autumn, "Enemies/Friends" was a Top 30 hit (almost unknown for this kind of music), and they have a following so dedicated that a brand new, unreleased song has at least a quarter of the Astoria whooping with recognition.

Were it not for their violins, their surging, uplifting moments might resemble the Polyphonic Spree without the cassocks, wedded to the bee-in-a-jar guitars of early Mercury Rev. But with the violins, they sound like an existential Pogues, or an Eastern European folk troupe tackling the later works of Radiohead (the projections of barrage balloons over the Severn Bridge are very OK Computer). It's music I can admire rather than engage with, like an Ordnance Survey relief map of a country I never plan to visit.

There's a collective intake of breath when singer Sam Herlihy asks us to offer our appreciation to... their tour manager. Eventually, however, he does dedicate a song - "Static in the Cities" - to Peel. They leave the stage to the projected message, "All Of It For John Peel - You'll Never Walk Alone". Seconded.

Do Me Bad Things tour the UK in late November. Hope of the States: Cockpit, Leeds (0113 244 3446), tonight; Yales Central Station, Wrexham (01978 311857), Tue; University of Wales (01792 602060), Thur; University of Glamorgan (029 2023 0451), Fri; tour continues

s.price@independent.co.uk

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