Words & Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
South Africa’s The SoapGirls are regulars on the London music scene. Having decided to head north to the UK a few years ago to push their unique brand of punk rock, the girls have built a solid fanbase, courted controversy at almost every corner of the country they have visited and overcome torrents of abuse from some quarters who simply just don’t get what they do. Behind it all though are two of the nicest people you could ever meet, some killer tunes and an interactive stage show that really needs to be seen up close and personal if you’re ever going to accept the band for who they are.
Currently on the ‘Stinks Like Punk Tour‘ that seems to be running for most of this year, the evening at The Monarch in Camden is an event promoting the Camden Rocks Festival. Camden Rocks Presents..
A host of other bands, kicking off the evening, got the crowd suitably warmed up including The Bongo Club from Sweden and Katalina Kicks who both put on great sets before the girls arrived. The Swedes, playing London for the first time were like enthusiastic puppies who were simply happy to be there and Katalina Kicks delivered a neat dose of attitude, the perfect style needed to give the crowd a kick in the spuds before the lights dimmed once more and the girls, coming back from playing pool at the back of the venue, arrive on stage to deliver the closing show.
Camille and Noemie Debray have that unique approach that only sisters do. Totally in tune with each other musically, personally and mentally, they are at times the perfect double act. Equally as well versed playing as they are delivering one liners and putting down or bigging up members of the crowd, the show rapidly became a family affair with the loyal SoapSuds lapping up every minute.
The banter between the two sisters was definitely priceless. Much laughter was exchanged between the girls, as were the insult to each other but throughout it all it’s clear that the bond between them is timeless and unbreakable. The Gallagher brothers should take note that this is how it should be, not going off and slating your sibling at every opportunity.
From the first time I saw the girls live on stage, they’ve always appears with a bottle of ‘something’ and enticed a member of the audience to drink it in front of the crowd. Recorded instances include trips to the hospital for the unlucky participants, copious vomiting incidents and more yet still, every show has someone stupid enough to take up the challenge. As you’ll see from the pics below, one handsome young lad was chosen to drink and strip and he duly complied. Whether he made it to the following day without hurling his ring all over Camden is unknown!
In addition one willing victim also stripped down to his skivvies, put on an adult nappy and allowed the girls to fill it with chocolate mousse / pudding. A happy chap indeed. Less so his Mum when she has to wash his jeans and asks for an explanation!
Now The Monarch has a unique approach to live music in that the band stand on stage with their backs to the main window to the street. Passers by, wondering what all the fuss was about gathered to look in whilst punters also wandered out to join them for obligatory cigarette breaks. Standing outside also provides the most unique view of the acts performing and afforded the opportunity to get a few shots not normally captured at gigs making the event even more special.
With a couple of people from South Africa being brought up on stage like long lost friends, the sisters arguing as to whether the pair had travelled specifically to see the show or not, the rest of the set was of course about the music. Yes, the antics of the band make for a fun filled night but most of us are there for the songs and punk fuelled attitude that the sisters always bring to a show and on that front they did not disappoint.
Mixing songs about their hometown, apartments they had lived in with other tales of what it has been like growing up provide the perfect backdrop and explanation as to why the girls manage put so much fire into their live performances.
With new songs slotting into the set perfectly, feeling like old favourites before they’d even finished, the future looks great for a truly hard working back like The SoapGirls. Follow them online, their travel exploits are legendary in the sense of ‘if it can go wrong it will’ but sheer perseverance and will power from their pair and their ever vocal manager Sam (sporting at the Monarch a ‘Sam’s on Crack’ leather jacket) will always shine through and shine they did.
When bands like this showcase Camden Rocks Festival it makes it a must see event. Roll on June 2nd.