review archive
The Loves / Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah / And What Will Be Left Of Them? - The Betsey Trotwood
31 November 2004

And What Will Be Left Of Them are utterly lovely. Capturing our hearts from the off, they play bouncy, catchy, frisky pop. Singer Lucy careens about cheekily, landing smackers on guitarist Peter’s cheek and waving a severed arm about (it’s Halloween you know). They belt out exuberant, rampaging tunes topped off with a whirligig organ sound, courtesy of Matt. On ‘Vive La Revolution’ they are The B52s doing experiments in the garden shed. Then they’re X-Ray Spex with piercings instead of braces. At other moments their call and response rhyming conjures up Le Tigre with added goofyness. By the time Peter’s shed his top (to reveal a torso grubbily streaked with grey – remnants of last night’s Zombie costume) and Lucy’s taken to the audience to stomp and twist frantically we’re utterly sold. As their pop smash, ‘Where Are You Tonight?’ sagely suggests, ‘It ain’t worth nothing if I ain’t got your heart.”

Exuberant rampaging live! onstage!
After such a display of unabashed wiggy enthusiasm, Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah come across like teenagers being asked to tidy their rooms. Four sneery boys crashing through scabby, snotty, shouty tunes, smirking out from shaggy hair and woolly scarves tied old man muffler style. You can almost smell the old socks and half-eaten pot noodles. They start with, possibly, ‘Somebody Put Something In My Drink’ (is it The Ramones version? Who knows?) Then proceed to crash through a pile up of songs that are equal parts exhilarating and irritating, full of shitty guitars and sulky vocals.
old man muffler style
It’s nasty, half-arsed and brilliantly entertaining. At one point a hissing, whistling noise emanates from the stage. Sulky singerbloke is bemused, ‘What’s that noise?’ It’s feedback, you fool and if you’ve got any clue whatsoever you’ll keep it in. Messy boys making a messy noise.
Having cracked apart like a broken heart earlier in the year, The Loves have healed themselves with a change of personnel - plenty more fish in the sea and all that. So here we are back at The Betsey where our Loves affair first began in 2001, ready to try again. Simon Love (resplendent in eyeliner and polka-dots) and trusty lieutenants Dave-on-drums and Pnosni-on-guitar are flanked by a trio of new lady Loves who do the old songs proud.

Tonight’s band dress code is something like ‘dress glamorously for Simon’s funeral’. So Anna, (keyboards) DC Love (bass) and Jenna (extra vocals) surround Simon, shimmying sophisticatedly in black, looking like a mental cartoon version of the ‘Addicted To Love’(s) video. Meanwhile, Pnosni is resplendent in a home-made zombie costume lovingly stitched from bandages, with a papier-mâché mask in a sickly shade of green – at least, I think it was a mask, ho ho.

Might as well face it...
Oh yes Rather than disorientating us with new songs as well as new members the re-invigorated band are here to canter through a set of Loves classics, every one a perfectly formed iced pop gem. The sound may be held together with bits of string, but it’s a joy to hear The Loves rattling through the likes of ‘Little Girl Blues’, ‘Depeche Mode’ and ‘Kiss, Kiss, Kiss’. New girl Jenna takes centre stage (metaphorically, there’s no room for changing position in The Betsey) to sing a shiny version of ‘Chelsea Girl’, although her relief when it’s over is palpable. As the set progresses, the band hits their stride, so by the time ‘Boom Bang A Bang’ and (Kitten fave) ‘Fucked Up’ swing round there’s a fizzy, celebratory air to proceedings. I’m squished in a corner wiggling about trying not to bash my head on a speaker, feeling like I’m on the set of a dayglo ‘60s film; specifically the groovy party scene – ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls’ maybe? “In a scene like this you get a contact high.” You only get that feeling from The Loves. This is why I’ve missed their fuzzily cute psychedelic bubblegum jangle pop. Never learn not to Loves.
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