Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Kinney Report

Sleater-Kinney/The Priscillas, The Cockpit, Leeds, Tuesday May 30 2006.

This is your correspondent's first furtive venture in Leeds, the West Yorkshire city recently revealed as the second most likely area in Britain to be on the receiving end of the seven most-feared crimes. So Dead Kenny refrains from telling anyone where he's going and runs in zig-zag patterns from his hotel to the venue in case of being strafed by sniperfire or seduced into a life of drugs and prostitution.

Now celebrated Leeds band Gang of Four may have once moaned that 'outside the trains don't run on time', but The Cockpit certainly isn't tardy in getting things started as support band The Priscillas have already got their Phill Jupitus-endorsed glam-goth rockabilly mojo up and running by the time your correspondent has negotiated his way past the security staff and started on his first bottled lager. Dead Kenny is never averse to a band fronted by an attractive woman wearing PVC hotpants and fishnets, and indeed they put on an entertainingly frisky and tuneful show. Like The Pipettes, they're the sort of band who have such an innate visual flair and an infectious sense of fun that it would have pretty much guaranteed them success in the days of peak-time TOTP (RIP) yet in these days of 24/7 music TV, they're just as likely to be drowned out by dullards whose lack of charisma is salvaged by judicious use of bling, bikinis and the drug-fuelled imaginations of promo directors. Which, all in all, is a shame.

It's only a short period of time before headliners Sleater-Kinney make the stage, during which time several heavily-built, loud-mouthed and crop-scalped lesbians barge their way past your hapless correspondent, nearly causing him to chip a tooth on his bottle of Grolsch in the process. If Dead Kenny's learnt nothing else from his short trip oop north it's that not all Yorkshire lesbians look or act like they do on Emmerdale. Which, all in all, is a shame.

Tonight's gig is a rescheduled affair from last November, and if there's a faint feeling of after the Lord Mayor's Show given that their last album 'The Woods' came out over twelve months ago now, this sense of apprehension is blown away pretty much instantly with an impressive display of high-octane top-volume rock dynamics that beats any other live experience we've had thus far this year. Dead Kenny wasn't entirely convinced about 'The Woods' on early listenings (over time it won over) but even during those dark hours your correspondent was pretty sure the new hard-riffing heavy-rawk approach would make for a stunning live show, and so it proves, with the three girls unashamedly putting on an air-punching stadium performance in front of a crazed and fanatical audience in an intimate setting. The bulk of the set is from 'The Woods' with a brilliant rendition of 'Jumpers' setting the goalposts for all subsequent live acts to aim for this year, and Carrie Brownstein deserves special mention, if not for her rock-god demeanour then her early 90s shoegazing fringe making her the Johnny Marr it's OK to want to fuck.

There are not one, not two, not three, but four songs for the encore, culminating in an effervescent run-through of their most well-known song 'You're No Rock'n'Roll Fun' which clearly is far from autobiographical. Then, despite many protestations, it really is time for the girls to go and leave us merely with memories of a brilliant show in a fantastic atmosphere. Which, all in all, is a shame. But double Jack and Cokes for £2 a pop in the bar next door ably assists your correspondent in retaining that rock'n'roll glow.


Blogger Ben said...

Coincidence - I was writing about 'You're No Rock 'N' Roll Fun' just the other day...

Hope Germany / Belgium was cool.

2:24 AM  

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