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Dressy Bessy / The Loves / The Static Waves Toynbee Arts Café, 9th January 2002

Just as you were settling in for a month or two's snuffling into the sofa with nowt but a leftover bag of Christmas chocolate coins to ease your S.A.D. symptoms, the Track and Field Winter Sprinter rolls around. Three nights of cramming into the less than palatial confines of Toynbee Arts Café trying to politely shed the fifty layers of jumpers you wore to insulate yourself for the forty-five minute wait at the (one every ten minutes!) bus-stop. (How the converse-sporting kids manage not to lose entire feet to frostbite on these inclement evenings is a mystery to the sturdily shod Kitten). Three nights of ear gurgling pop sounds to raise those icy spirits. Unfortunately, Kitten is in the midst of a work-related simmering hell and is not in the mood to take any prisoners…

sprinter skier flyer
So, the middle night of the Sprinter brings us, first up, The Static Waves. They look like they should be presenting Open University circa 1973. All straggling hair/beard combinations and manky shirts. They play scratchy odd boys music, stop-starty rhythms and atonal sounds. Kitten remains non-plussed and edges her way out of the burgeoning old-school indie crowd (uniform: all different, and yet somehow all the same!)
lovably shambolic By the time Kitten edges her way back for The Loves, passage involves squeezing oneself through like toothpaste through a tube, trying not to take people's bags/pints/limbs with one en route. Squished between layers of bodies like a human lasagne, foot tapping is the only manageable response to The Loves shambolic tunage. The band have improved with each sighting, the songs catching on your brain, grooving around merrily, finding Kitten waking up with chunks of Loves songs on repeat mode in her head with whirly carnival keyboards and sneezy guitars.

New single 'Just Like Bobby D' with a trundling, droney bass riff is bemusing and it's not immediately apparent what they're trying to do there, although, admittedly the sound in here isn't great. Happily, next time out (supporting Billy Childish) the song's 'European Son' bassline and Velvets sensibilities are more immediate, although Kitten being a true C86 era indie kid, hears it more as 'Splashing Along' by Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes. Another song, a thumping go-go groove, appears to have the joyful hookline 'I'm gonna get fucked up'. Then there's 'Chelsea Boy' sung sweetly by Catrin with curved-under 70's mum hair. Lined up with their variations on the theme of bowl-cut hair, The Loves create a curious tableau. The bass-player looks just like Justin Bennett ('Grange Hill' circa the Tucker Jenkins years) whilst guitarist Pnosni sticks out, messed up green hair flapping, going mental like a true guitar hero. Disappointingly, they don't play squalling wig out 'Je T'aime Baby', but Kitten is cheered by their raggedy bubble-gum pop sounds nonetheless.

Taking advantage of the post-Loves migration, Kitten edges closer to the 'stage' for Dressy Bessy. Singer Tammy looks like a generic American indie girl, dark bobbed hair and black-rimmed glasses (not worn onstage). Check out any number of American fanzine-distro blogger type girls from the States and it's guaranteed a large proportion of them will have the hair and the glasses. The rest of the band consists of fuzzy-haired blokes, including a Nigel-what-used-to-be-on-Eastenders lookie-likie on bass. The band is immediately endearing, playing bouncing, jangling 60's-tinged sugary girl-voiced garage pop. Two songs in, a guitar conks out. Four songs in, some oaf insinuates himself directly in front of Kitten where there really isn't room for another body. Unable to move backwards or sideways, Kitten's poor toes (luckily encased in aforementioned sturdy footwear) endure being 'danced' upon by this oaf until Kitten's brain short-circuits with claustrophobic rage. Maintaining enough self-control not to commit acts of severe physical violence in a crowded room, Kitten seethingly takes her leave.

Out in the foyer, Bob Underexposed is struggling manfully with taking photos of the giggling Loves as people come and go in front of the camera. An old Scottish bloke wanders in off the street. He tells us his name is Danny. Danny is a trifle drunk. He art-directs the photo-shoot ('do your tie up properly') and tells Kitten he saw her in the pub 'The Wonky Donkey' earlier. Kitten wasn't in the pub earlier, although if there was one round here called The Wonky Donkey she may have been tempted. Danny then tells Kitten he's seen Pnosni in the pub before and mutters something about the English. Danny shakes everyone's hand a few times and then tries to buy a pint of Guinness from Bob Underexposed. It's all much more fun than having your toes stomped on, so Kitten writes off Dressy Bessy until the weekend…
do your tie up properly!
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