review archive

Brian Jonestown Massacre / The Ponys / London Dirthole Company –
Dirty Water Club 17th June 2005

Leaving the horrors of ‘Koko’ behind us, we hare up the Northern Line, we stumble through the doors of the Dirty Water Club and get hit in the face by a fuggy wall of perspiration (well, okay, sweat) and fine beaty noise. Onstage is a scary line-up hammering out bursts of scritchy garage rock splendour. This is Dirthole, cranky and Fall-ish, in the same way Ikara Colt were Fall-ish. A man with two haircuts on just the one head stumbles to and fro ranting Mark E. Smithly, whilst two girls in lopsided retro granny dresses lay into a pair of stand up drumkits. Dear God, is there anything finer than a stand-up drummer? Well yes, that would be two stand-up drummers! At the same time!! Meanwhile a down’n’dirrty scuzz garrrage groove slimes its way round the skirting courtesy of some guitar blokes and bassy chaps , it’s all mighty fine.

Cranky, yet mighty fine
Woah there Neddy Next up it’s The Ponys. Ooh goody, I’ve been wondering about this lot, their name keeps cropping up all over the shop lately. So they come on and it’s ‘hell yeh!’ file alongside The Organ under instant-whip band love. The Pony’s are all groovily intense and intensely groovy. There are scrawny guitar blokes and a coolaskimdeal black-eyed bass girl. They stamp their shiny little hooves and kick up a ferocious dust-storm of scrubbing guitars and battered drums. This is where Television meet The Cure, have a bit of a ruck then go and discuss Pixies over milkshakes (Tom Verlaine chooses strawberry flavour, Robert Smith spills his all over the table). ‘We Shot The World’ = ‘A Forest’ with cool chanty deadpan girl backing vocals.
Then there’s ‘Get Black’ Yeeow! It’s the sound of dancing over beer bottles on hot sticky streets, ‘Saving all my pennies up trying to get some cigarettes’ time to go-go on the table tops. ‘She’s Broken’ starts off like a starkly ringing ‘Pictures Of Matchstick-men’ (no really, try listening to that intro without getting yer early Quo in your head), before tumbling into a momentum-gathering spitball of splendour. Melissa’s spiky girl vocals yowling ‘I walk away’, guitars bouncing off ice walls, echo meeting echo.
At the end I buy the LP, run through the streets and glue it to my hi-fi. They have cool t-shirts too, but what am I? Made of money?
It’s midnight, Frankie Teardrop has read his way through every flier in the place, waiting to be called into action, and we’re kicking around, swigging cider, debating the merits or otherwise of ‘Dig!’ with Richard of the fab Eighteenth Day Of May. Finally BJM, or rather Anton, decides the time is now. Having seen him careening drunkenly around the place earlier we express our, uh, concerns over the forthcoming performance, but you know what? despite the gallons of alcohol disappearing down Anton’s neck BJM still RULE. Kicking off with the drowsily swaggering groove of ‘Whoever You Are’ Anton snaps to it and the tunes unfurl their magic. There’s the Bunnymen-ish ‘Nevertheless’ and the English tea psyche of ‘Hide and Seek’. It’s a similar set to the Meltdown show, but it’s late, a lot of alcohol has flowed, and it’s kinda hot in here. BJM aren’t the guests of a legendary punkpoetess queen tonight so P and Qs no longer need to be minded. Anton can’t deal with the heat (this is what happens when you get molly-coddled with planet-wrecking contraptions like air-conditioning) snapping something about if the stage lights don’t get turned off he’ll smash them. The lights get turned off. It’s till too hot, the back door is opened. It’s still bloody hot. Drowsily swaggering
The gaps between songs get longer, Anton goes to hang out in the lavs whilst the rest of the band gamely carries on. Eventually it’s decided that a fifteen minute break will enable us all to cool down. We figure this to be the end of things, but no, true to Anton’s word, the band soon clamber back onstage. When they play all the other shit falls away and its great to be here in this sweatbox, the tunes breaking over your head in waves.
Frankie looks for more flyers to read. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long. There are arguments with the audience, waspish bullying of the rest of the band (poor old Frankie), scathing remarks aimed at the terrified looking DJ girls and a general lack of music. I wander off to the bar feeling lucky to have heard a few songs at least. Then, miraculously, ‘Swallowtail’ shivers into life. It’s one of those songs where when the first chords kick in it feels like coming home, a few brief minutes of perfection that melt through your synapses until you’re hearing a hundred and one guitars at once. It doesn't even matter that Anton spends the song giving the entire room (world?) the finger.
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