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26TH JULY 2010

Back in my hometown Newcastle I headed to the Cluny to catch the Dum Dum Girls tour following the release of their debut album ‘I Will Be’. I’ve been slightly infatuated with this band for a while, take one look at them and you will understand why. Not normally a fan of all girl bands I have to say these truly impress. Cool, dark, sexy 60s sounding garage pop.

Singer Dee Dee started the band in 2008 recruiting friends in California to help form the all girl gang and turn it from a bedroom project into a live experience. Husband Brandon Welchez from Crocodiles plays guitar and sings on track ‘Yours Alone’ and even guitar genius Nick Zinner had a helping hand on a track which helped create the LP.

Dressed all in black with Ronettes style hair-doos, uniform striped tights, eyeliner and matching guitars DDG’s have a great stage presence. It’s like an uber cool vintage fashion parade with a sound track to match.

Posed for the off DDG’s are still, they glance at each other, their faces serious, no expression. Dee Dee nods then bang! They burst into their opening track. The beats are fast, double snare pops over dirty fuzzy guitars. Dee Dee or Kristin Gundred to mom and dad has an incredible vocal. There are all sorts of influences “Patti Smith, Grace Slick, Siouxsie Sioux, Mary Weiss, Billie Holiday, Ronnie Spector, Hope Sandoval, Nico, Madonna. “Courtney Love was a big deal to me when I was 12” she says. Her voices bellows over the slower ballads and really is something to show off, reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane.

Like Shangri-Las and The Ronettes on speed the Dum Dum Girls bring punked up dirty lo-fi pop and blast their way through the demos I’d heard on the net. ‘Longhair’ and ‘Jail la la’ sound amazing. The only criticisms I have from the gig is out of the band’s control. The vocal is too low and after a few attempts to signal to the sound guy Dee Dee eventually rises above Bambi and Jules.

A few tracks in there’s a crackle and a bang. Things stop for a moment and a guy runs onto the stage. A pop echoes and rings out and we’re back in business. I have noticed they haven’t cracked a smile, maybe it’s part of the act. Only a slight curl of the lip from Bambi as she forgets to play the bass intro to the next song. Even the interruption it doesn’t affect the energy on stage.

‘Bhang Bhang im burnt out’ is an instant classic that is one of the highlights of the night. Each song is drenched in its own identity of dark and brooding undertones of love, death, insecurities and other notions from Dee Dee‘s world. The lo-fi grainy sounds that comes out live makes you think of the old 45’s you find In your parents record collections. It’s authentic and adorable. There is a real balance between the fast paced garage songs and the more melodic which adds a cool dynamic.

There seems to be an air of mystery throughout the set as the band exchange serious looks, but there is no banter, laughs or jokes, it’s no nonsense and strictly business. The set draws to an end with Dee Dee’s vocal ringing out over feedback as the sound slowly drains away. An impressive set that lives up to the surrounding hype and the attention isn‘t just for their look, the music is worthy on its own. Absolutely cracking!