Brighton and Hove News » In the Valley of the ‘Dolls’ with Blondie drummer
NANCY AND THE DOLLS + CLEM BURKE AND THE SPLIT SQUAD – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 8.7.22
Tonight we headed to Concorde 2 in Brighton to enjoy the joys of The Divided Team self-proclaimed as “America’s Least Famous Supergroup” and Nancy and the dolls, which used to be called The Sex Pissed Dolls.
The Split Squad was founded ten years ago and includes Keith Streng (vocals, guitar) co-founder of The Fleshtones, Eddie Munoz (guitar) lead guitarist of The Plimsouls, Clem Burke (drums) founding member of Blondie, Michael Giblin (bass, vocals, keyboards) member of Cherry Twister. Boston Red Sox organist Josh Kantor (organ) was absent tonight.
The game opener is “Hey DJ” from their latest album ‘Another Cinderella‘, and it’s a full slice of pop and roll. Hidden within are captivating hypnotic guitar riffs and a chance to let it rip with a brief guitar solo. The group then took us to ‘Superman says‘ and followed it with ‘Put the’, from their debut album.
With referrals like that, you just know these guys are going to hit you hard. And they did not disappoint. Loud, snapping rock and roll.
Clem Burke, who has to be one of rock’s finest drummers, lays down an intoxicating drum beat full of powerful patterns and fills, but what he does allows that powerful layer of wonderfully resonant guitar riffs to die out. and, also leaves the vocals and harmonies to reach out and dazzle.
A great cover of ‘Sadness’ was overall. I’ve heard a few versions of this song, including the original The Merseybeats and of course the Bowie cover, but The Split Squad made it their own. A powerful interpretation, almost original and fresh. I loved that one and the crowd joined in. We got another cover in the form of The Small Faces “Sorry, she’s mine.”
Right from the new album, we were struck by the distortion, buzzing for the power of the almost glam rock sound of ‘Showstopper’. A brutally fine display with fantastic guitars and percussion. The song ended with a powerful vocal from Giblin.
We were served a heady mix of punk, a little soul, a little glam, and when Clem stepped up to the mic to tell the crowd to liven it up after flying in from the States, we had a lot of attitude!
Towards the end of the set, we had ‘stop me’, from an earlier EP. The set ended with another older title, the perfectly executed “Now listen to this”.
The guitarist, Mr. Keith Streng, displaying this attitude, which I mentioned earlier, was bouncing around the stage, jumping, kicking, singing, playing guitars and throwing himself into the crowd. A careful deflection prevented his foot from touching my goal!
The collective genius and musical talent on display here was tremendous. A damn fine racquet. The group was joyful to listen to and watch. We had some great guitar hops, hot guitars and bass, and the man in the back kicked the hell out of the kit.
Too bad I didn’t see any merchandise – I definitely would have picked up a copy of “Another Cinderella”. Well, maybe next time. If you get the chance you really should see these guys live, I promise it will be time well spent.
After the usual musical interlude, it was time for Nancy and the dolls to grace the stage. The group was formerly known as The Sex Pissed Dolls. The queens of noise will shock you and they will grab you, shake you and make you love rock and roll. They will mess you up leaving your ears ringing and your feet sore.
The Dolls were back and were here to prove that punk is still alive and kicking and tonight it was loaded down with long hair, lipstick, leather, ripped fishnets and a bucketful of great songs , all washed down with a good dose of attitude!
The all-female, action-packed rock band known at the time as The Sex Pissed Dolls exploded onto the scene in late 2014 and wowed audiences and festivals with their edgy, high-octane performance. of classic rock and punk mixed with their own original material. A name change saw them evolve into Nancy And The Dolls.
The Dolls themselves are indeed, overall, a tribute, but not just a tribute to the Pistols, what they do is grab a handful of great punk and rock songs, twist them a bit and throw into the crowd.
Their new guitarist’s opening riff kicked off – “Pretty empty”straight into “Teen Girl Kicks” and without stopping to breathe ‘I fought the law’. It’s a hell of a way to open your set! Some four Sex Pistols songs in the set.*9+
So many songs on the set list tonight, some of the old favorites are here, some are gone. is coming ‘Basket‘ and show the final ‘Body’. Great to see The Dolls again. I’ve really lost count of how many times this concert has been postponed due to the pandemic. However, now they were back, finally.
Nancy will set your ears on fire and burn your brain with her performance. She prowls the stage scanning the faces of the crowd, she stalks the crowd engaging with anyone who catches her eye. Love the dolls or hate them, you can’t deny they’re undeniably entertaining, they have a magnetic appeal all their own, they’re all fabulous, and boy, can they play their instruments! Every time I’ve seen a show from these guys, they rip it up like their life depended on it.
They had undergone some changes since we last met. A new guitarist and drummer who was lost, for most of the set, in the smoke billowing from the Concorde 2’s smoke machine. Jilly was there, a huge bass guitar slung around her neck with a t Vicious printed t-shirt. Oh yes! There was also a lot of Tartan tonight!
Going through their set list for tonight, there aren’t many punk bands left on the list. They take it to 10 iconic tracks from, say, Led Zep, The Damned, Sham 69, Talking Heads, Pulp, Nirvana and The Cult, plus the anthems you might find on a fantastic Punk Anthems album. There are no fillers from these guys, they don’t waste a second. We get a bit of conversation from Nancy and a plea for a drink! It was damn hot in the Concorde 2 tonight!
Always good to catch up after a set. Nancy asked me if I enjoyed the concert, sweat still streaming down my face and a smile from ear to ear, I said ” You do not know ? Oh yeah, that was great!” Thank you “Nancy” for your time and the photo! To like. And here’s to the next time we all meet.