review archive

The Nightingales / Manic Cough / Theoretical Girl / Poppy & The Jezebels /
Look Look (Dancing Boys) – Guided Missile at The Buffalo Bar 8th June 2006

Hurrah! It’s a Guided Missile night and that means fun for all the dysfunctional family down the Buff Bar.

First, the out-of-hand teenage daughters who won’t stop showing off, Look Look (Dancing Boys). They are great. Dressed in matching gob-stopper coloured shorts ‘n’ tights ’n’ teeshirts ‘n’ visors ‘n’ big old Deirdre glasss with the lenses punched out, fizzing about cheekily, squawking tantrummy songs full of funny sweary bits, their watchword is infantilism. Dancing like spackers, cranking away on a long-suffering guitar and a tiny tinny keyboard, the pair of ‘em start with a song that’s possibly called ‘Back To my Childhood’ about eating sweets and jumping on bouncy castles. They do the greatest ever version of Julian Cope’s ‘World Shut Your Mouth’ making it sound sooo petulant and squawky. And of course they play those Look Look top pop hits and audience faves ‘Arse Road’ and ‘Tit Wank’. Altogether now “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you” “Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me” etc. Rahh.

Arse Road, yeah!
Two Jezebels, Poppy not pictured

Next, the teenage daughters you can be proud of. Aah what sweeties Poppy and the Jezebels are, 14ish and 15ish year old girls in groovy dresses and beads knocking out a set of twisted pop songs. The singer has a pleasing slightly flat-in-a-good-way girl voice. Poppy herself looks well cool in stripy trousers and a funny little veiled ladies hat balancing precariously on her peroxide mob as she batters the drum-kit. They do a slightly iffy cover of ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ (watch the grown-ups cringe when it gets to the “giving head” line). Much better is their own elegantly constructed pop, like the plinkily wistful ‘Painting New York On My Shoes’ and the quiet, reflective ‘Gracelin’. The set ends with the snotty, buzzy ‘Electro Bitch’, a slice of squirmy beep pop of which Miss Pain would be proud.

I don’t actually see weirdo cousin Theoretical Girl as I’m over in the corner marvelling at dance combo Hott 2 Trott’s moves. They’re certainly cooking tonight, apparently having found the perfect foil for their avant-disco slamdown in Theoretical Girl’s indie-techno snap crackle hop racket. Flipping like pancakes. Bobbing like corks. Oh yes.

Manic Cough are your groovy, slightly squiffy aunties (and uncle) and are getting more and more ace, especially as they kick off with my fave, the high-kicking, grin-inducing, rattle thump punk of ’There U R’. Then there’s the juddery, scratchy ska-y lope-athon of ‘Eggs and Chips’ and the whispery, wibble up and down like you’re dissolving into a dream scoot of ‘Ocean’ and a whole basket full of happy hoppy, shouty gloriousness.

Buffalo Bar Beach Party wiv the Coff.
Today’s onstage dress code is ‘beachwear’, a frilly bathing cap neatly setting off singer Annie’s sinuous dance moves. The girl’s got presence, winding her body back and forth as she sings, cheery and fearless. The band make a stupendously exuberant pop racket that’s irresistible for feet, so I hop about gleefully. Drummer Karl announces he is going to award a prize for the most energetic audience member during Purr-release single ‘Lips and Hips’ and almost starts a riot at the end of the song when there is some dispute over whether the prize should go to a LL Dancing Boy who tempered her boisterous moves with ‘hello trees hello sky’ shapes during the quiet bits, or to a tall bloke who just jumped up and down all the way through. Oi oi saveloy!
A commanding dash is cut So, to your surprisingly cool dad and his band, The Nightingales. I’m expecting a disjointed, scritchy Ron Johnson-ish cacophony, which is obv no bad thing, but Nightingales turn out to be bleedin’ mesmerising. Theirs is a driving force of sound full of threatening rumbles and fearsome glints, it feels intense and unstoppable. Rob Lloyd cuts a commanding dash, looming across the squiddly stage, growling out the words, staring out the room. Hawking out ‘Lickspittle’ with sneering disgust, they show up today’s runty excuses of art rockers for the soiled bags of old washing that they are. We marvel at the ominous, loose-limbed, chant-along ‘Company Man’ and shimmy merrily to the swingingly raucous thumpabilly of ‘Let’s Think About Living’. Also, they have a song called ‘UK Randy Mom Epidemic’ which is sort of like The Birthday Party in a bizarre hedge-trimming accident, with added Ron Jon-jangling. Sweet.
This is the kind of band that brings the old blokes out of the woodwork - indeed Stewart Lee is lurking about in a dodgy jacket - but right at the front (not that there’s much difference between the front and the back in the tiny old Buff Bar) Poppy and the Jezebels dance fably with teenage girl elan, cheering on the old geezers (and boy-wonder guitarist Matt). Oh, and the nice lady perched smilingly on a stool beside me is Gina Birch! Of The Raincoats! And she gets up and does stuff onstage!! Only I don’t know what she does ‘cos I’ve had to get the bus home!!!
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