BARB WIRE DOLLS / MORGELLONS / CELLBOUND / GASOLINE THRILL – Sunday 12th October 2014, Purple Turtle, Camden
It’s a mark of how far Barb Wire Dolls have come in a year that last time they were in London they were a support band but this time around they’re headlining at a decent sized venue. Whoever chose the line-up for this gig had variety in mind. I arrived too late to catch anything other than part of the last song by Gasoline Thrill. That sounded great in itself, my loss and I hope to see them again sometime soon.
Next up were Morgellons, a band I first saw in a pub in Staines. Tonight they have a proper stage and lighting (albeit a bit too red for decent photographs) and somehow it seemed to suit them better. They effortlessly captured the crowd’s attention with a fine set of slow and mid paced thoughtful songs – no mindless thrashers here. They have a proper stage presence that doesn’t rely on speed or volume. I don’t really see any other bands operating in the same space at the moment and that can only be a good thing.
Cellbound announced themselves next and provided a stark contrast. Rough and ready looking they explained their moniker comes from the fact that everyone in the band had been ‘inside’ at some point in their lives. Their UK82 style of punk was of the heads down, no nonsense variety but unusually for the genre there was quite a bit that the vocalist barked that was easily understood. Three bands down and no complaints from me, this was shaping up to be a great night.
Barb Wire Dolls have a buzz about them right now and there were obviously various music industry figures down here to check them out. The band seem to genuinely love to play and had a lengthy set list in place – certainly well over the hour mark and including over 10 as yet unreleased songs that were not on their debut ‘Slit’ LP. They kick off as they mean to go on, full throttle and in your face. I took out my little camcorder to capture a bit of their performance only to have some woman shout in my ear “WOULD YOU LIKE THEM IF THEY WERE MEN”? – a clear reference to the fact that singer Isis Queen dresses exactly how she wants and that the band now have a bassist to match. I reply “well yeah, I would”. Sure I like BWD because of their very photogenic stage presence but the songs are just such gems too that they could be the ugliest band in the world and I’d still make the effort. The fact that they’re not is hardly their fault. “Would you like them if they were men” is such a dumb comment to make when half the band are men – talk about missing the point. It’s Pyn’s 100% punk rock crunching guitar sound and Krash’s relentless pounding on the drums that have been driving this unit forward over the last few years. Now BWD have recruited a great bassist in JayJay they really have a band where everyone knows exactly what they are doing and it all clicks together wonderfully with the iconic Isis Queen leading things at the front. She’s a charismatic whirlwind, constantly moving, cajoling the crowd and encouraging them to engage with the band, taking herself off the stage to talk to individuals directly and literally grabbing them to get their attention. They’re a force to be reckoned with. Check out set closer Revolution in the video below.
Isis Queen, Barb Wire Dolls