Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Review | Wet Dog + Viv Albertine

by Little Miss B, 10 May 2010. All photography by Gerard Rada Nedich for The Girls Are.

Wet Dog + Viv Albertine @ Girls Girls Girls, Old Blue Last
1 May 2010

Writing an entirely objective review of Viv Albertine's headlining set at the Old Blue Last earlier this month was never going to be easy. Being a mere arms length from a musician one has genuinely revered since teen-hood is an experience destined to render one giddy, not analytical. Throw in the consummately and consistently brilliant Wet Dog as support, and one finds oneself in a bit of a pickle. Fortuitously, I run this website and can do whatever the dickens I like, so LATERS objectivity: spaff-fest here I come.

Wet Dog

Armed with trademark hand-crafted instruments and brittle wit, Wet Dog course through a solid and energetic set. Relentless, marching bass mounts blunt, elemental drums; tempo-changes quicken the heart, teasing the audience into a state of contained frenzy (save the somewhat over-excited middle-aged chap to my right whose girlish screams reach fever pitch during Womens Final). Shrieked and whooped backing vocals fight their way through ramshackle guitar riffs, as main vocalist Rivka idly dead pans her way through the set. Lower Leg showcases the band's talent for crafting ridiculously infectious songs from rudimentary ingredients, and once again Wet Dog prove themselves to be queens of the lo-fi pile.

Viv Albertine

Viv Albertine is the omniawesome, and there is little point in attempting to refute this. Not only was she a member of seminal punk band The Slits, but she also happens to have a blisteringly caustic, dry sense of humour that instantaneously renders this entire audience utterly and consummately in love with her. A group of forty-something men bounce feverishly on their feet when she takes to the stage, unable to contain their excitement as she at once states she does not "believe in love". Within moments she has referred to herself as a "milf" and has declared marriage an "unnatural state". *swoon*

After a 25 year hiatus from the music industry, it is testament to Albertine's lasting impact that the venue is packed to the rafters. As soon as she starts to play, the room becomes deathly quiet as her raw, eerie guitar creeps through the crowd. With refreshing honesty, Viv sings candidly about love, sex (Never Come being a brilliantly sarcastic account of a man who would, quite simply, never come: "he was a withholder") and the trappings of married, domestic life (Couples are Creepy a perfect example of her sardonic new material). She recounts tales of a heady youth, surrounded by now iconic musicians, and at this point we are reminded that we are in the presence of such an icon: Albertine's personable, self-deprecating humour belying the achingly cool person beneath.

Once the giddiness subsides, we are left with a talented and strangely bewitching songwriter, and an arsenal of brilliant and brutally honest songs.

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