So we are here to see The SoapGirls. Brash, brazen, beautiful in equal measure and not shy when it comes to courting controversy. For a band that can best be described as being clad in a minimal (not minimalist) fashion, flagrantly touting their sexuality, it seems almost ironic that the ‘intimate’ venue is found on the corner of Pentonville Road and Cumming Street. It’s moments like this that make me appreciate our wonderful British sense of humour as it took me a full five minutes to stop sniggering after the realisation kicked in. [Grow up Hextall! :Ed]
An interview with Ca(Mille) and Noe(MIE) Debray before their set meant I didn’t get to see The Freakouts open the evening but, thanks to the wonders of modern tech and a large video screen in the bar where the interview was being conducted, we were able to catch a glimpse or five. The verdict would suggest the band are worth consideration at the next venue they play and that their brand of energised alt punk rock will appeal to many brought up on a mix of Green Day, Bad Religion and (yes) Blur.
50 Foot Woman
Now, 50ft Woman are new to me but having seen their lead guitarist Dave Winkler perform with Bordello Rose before, there was a sense of excitement in the same way Bob Ross knows a bit about painting, Dave knows his way around a guitar. It’s only when looking at the band’s list of influences on their Facebook page that their musical style makes perfect sense. Aerosmith, Debbie Harry, The Ramones, The New York Dolls , all get a mention but when you factor in Adam Ant, Blondie and AC/DC it suddenly becomes obvious why I like this band so much.
They divided opinion for sure. People around me seemed to be scratching their heads whilst others got into the groove and stuck with the band for the wonderful set. Their songs contain quirky lyrics, again playing to the sort of things that appeal to the quintessential Brit in me. Add to that catchy choruses and you have a band that warrant an album, more gigs and the chance to go far.
Front women Minka, has been described as ‘Blondie’s forgotten love child’, and a better title could not be more appropriate. You don’t get many 6 feet tall front women dressed in burlesque outfits so for me at 6′ 4″ it was a joy to watch someone on stage at eye level for once. As she sang, every song told a story with my favourite, (Strictly) Only Swinging a highlight. Check out the video below from the show:
If you hear of a genre rockpunkpop, it will apply to this lot. Great fun.
Controversial? The SoapGirls? Articles of outrage in The Daily Mail? Pfffft !!!! So what!!! Everything about the duo is done with the view to get you to listen to their music. Yes the outfits offer titillation to a predominantly male audience but it also offers a sense of “you know what, wear what you want and be proud of it” to all of the females that come to watch the show. Fiercely loyal to each other, the girls have an amazing knack of finishing each other’s sentences whilst managing to constantly rip the piss out of one another on stage. It’s all done, however, in the best possible taste!
It’s a bond that speaks volumes in their music and their lyrical content is equally powerful. Combining it with a live show that smacks of classic New York punk from the early 1970s and you realise that the girls have a hit format on their hands. Sure, there are bands out there that can do the pop, the punk and the alt-rock, post grunge feel but none of them really manage to combine it all into the melting pot that is a SoapGirls performance.
They appear like a modern ZZ Top, two at the front and one at the back, thankfully the front two minus the beards! The one at the back on drums, looking nothing like the two on guitar and bass. Thankfully the drummer is not required to dress in a similar fashion to the girls and is allowed to simply hold it all together. Whilst Mie and Millie keep the crowds entertained, it’s left to the chap on the drums (who sadly doesn’t get a mention but does get to stare at the girls from behind every set! [Hextall!! See me after class; Ed]) to hammer out the beat for the duration of the set.
Why does their set work so well? I think because the musical influences that each of the girls reference in their performance. The mixture of glam, punk with the grunge crossover will keep fans of all genres happy and bouncing. The bouncing (very noticeable on stage thanks to the minimal outfits) was maintained on the floor of the venue with many sweaty fans barrelling into each other with the odd one going the whole hog and whipping their t-shirt off for good old sweaty mosh.
What has now become a routine at The SoapGirls gigs sees a hapless volunteer (read “fool”) convinced to come up on stage by the band’s manager to drink from a strange bottle adorned with a large purple penis.
The concoction looks awful, smells f*ckin’ terrible yet the end result (which has before resulted in several people leaving the gigs in an ambulance) has our hero still standing, donning a pair of shades and dancing away with the girls on stage. The phrase “Ledge” has never been more appropriate.
Fan favourites like ‘Sam’s On Crack’ (for which there is now a t-shirt) and ‘Party In Hell’ sees the room power through a chaotic performance to a wonderful messy ending. What more could we expect or hope for.
With the right gigs and the right promotion, The SoapGirls will go far.