Friday, September 23, 2005

Dolly Daggers, Asylum

21 September 2005

I’m standing around on Charlotte Street, after a underwhelming set from once-were-hopefuls Jade Fox waiting, with no great expectations, a short set from the all-new Daggers and then the welcome embrace of my duvet. From within suddenly I hear the set start, pacey drums, bass and a Rhodes keyboard being played (complete with wah-wah pedal) to sound like an electric guitar. Straight away, and I mean straight away, I rush downstairs into the seedy basement, awoken from ennui by the definite presence of that all too rare musical commodity – Electricity. Ladies and gentlemen, the Dolly Daggers have got something good.

On paper, and for all I know on vinyl as well, a three-piece playing pretty much a London take on the Strokes doesn’t sound spectacular. But take that template, basically fast, up-beat and most importantly short rock’n’roll pop songs, add a dash of the Beach Boys – mostly harmony singing rather than any sunny disposition – and sprinkle in some Bowie and whoever are the latest effeminate stars to borrow his mantle and you still only have half the Daggers’ recipe. To this concoction you have to add tidy musicianship, in writing and playing, great rock riffs, reminiscent thankfully of sixties rock (before they all forgot about the ‘n’roll bit) and effective, confident vocals. Finally, and essentially, zip it up in the blender with Alexis’ drumming, the first drummer I have seen for a long time (Keith Moon springs to mind) who looks like he’s actually trying to smash the drums up with his sticks, at the same time as trying to attain the world record for speed drumming. Then shake vigorously, which is what you’ll be doing when you hear them.

In a room full of musicians, the only noise louder than the band was the sound of a bar being raised. If I had to criticise, when they slowed down for ballads (showing good sense of the need for variety) the paucity of the lyrics showed through a bit. I won’t be asking any of these kids for advice on nothing soon, but if I want to dose up my evening with a jack of 1000 volts, I could look in a lot of worse places. They will be playing Asylum on Wednesday nights regularly and I advise you to get down there soon, before fame ruins them.