Pop: Look forwards in anger
60ft Dolls ICA, London
Tuesday 14 April 1998
The new album, Joya Magica, pays homage to the concept of perfectly packaged pop tunes, with echoes of Oasis, Squeeze, James and House of Love. But these only get a token showing tonight. Instead, the live bait is anger, enough to get a pacifist grabbing the T-shirt of the person next to them and collapsing in a lager-strewn mess. The lack of energy from the floor sits oddly with the pirouettes and on-stage jumping about - it's like fascinated children watching the plastic ballerina dancing in the music box.
As they play the frantic "Eggshell" from the first album, you can see why the Dolls disappeared to tour America for almost two years just as they were being welcomed into the bosom of Britpop. Live, most Britpop bands sound like their records, but the Dolls bring their records to life. Rabble-rousing worked for the Sex Pistols because they had an anti-establishment message and the nihilism to provoke a passionate response. But the Dolls sing about universal experiences (relationships in "I Want You", changing seasons in "Summer Is Gone") with a strong narrative thread and philosophical questioning, giving their punky attitude an intellectual depth. Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix could indulge in teeth-baring guitar capering because they belonged to the rock club; the Dolls don't fit in quite so easily, and the ICA crowd didn't know how to equate their rock/punk attitude with their lads-and-lager British contemporaries.
Music comes pure with the Dolls, the guitar-driven love-fest rendering the lyrics irrelevant - and, mostly, inaudible. But, given the lack of crowd reaction, you can't blame them for running through their songs at such a speed that they pass by like trees through a car window. For the ICA audience, though, they are merely thought-provoking. The hits are there if you want, but would you want John Belushi to calm down and behave himself?
Life & Style blogs
Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
The Fappening: After the third wave of leaked celebrity photos, why can't we stop it?
Londoners agree to give up first-born child in exchange for free internet
The truth about student sex workers: it's far from Belle Du Jour
Average Briton spends £50,000 on alcohol over course of lifetime
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 5 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...
£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...
£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...