Brody Dalle - Electric Ballroom, Camden
We think we might have seen a couple on the way in, but they might have just been working on the door. There's possibly another standing behind us, but it's hard to call it behind the mop of dyed fringe and uniform black drainpipes. Rock 'n' roll's very own First Lady is the reason behind the air of oestrogen tonight, and it seems the blokes brave enough to enter all seem to be cowering in the shadows at the back.
Warming up the sisterhood is Toronto based The Beaches, their adrenaline-fuelled scuzz rock setting the pace for the night's proceedings. The all female four piece probably lack the years to join us at the bar tonight, but their cohesion on stage sounds as though they have decades of rehearsals under their belts. New single 'Little Pieces' is three minutes of angst-ridden rock, with a tarnished pop vein muddying the waters between sugary choruses and heavy-as-fuck riffery.
Doused in bright backing lights, Brody Dalle cuts an iconic silhouette in front of a crowd who have waited ten years for her return (synth-heavy side project Spinnerette was probably too abstract for the pierced lips and mohicans present tonight). Tearing into 'Rat Race' from new album Diploid Love, it's clear that Dalle has rediscovered the aggression and passion which elevated her to become poster girl for bad ass rock chicks everywhere back in the late 1990s. Hurling across the stage like a tornado, she spits, swears, and causes general chaos in the pit, the snarling "You don't wanna mess with me" becoming a mantra for the next 60 minutes.
Just when you thought that the hysteria had reached a peak, Dalle whips up the frenzy with a trio of back-to-back Distillers cuts: fan favourite 'I Am A Revenant' then gives way to a double helping from their final album Coral Fang. Her signature guttural growl hasn't mellowed in her years away from these shores, spitting venom during 'Sick Of It All' and pounding straight on through to 'Sing Sing Death House'. She might be a mother now, but the angst-ridden lyrics are as vital as they ever were.
"Do you want to get sexy?", Dalle purrs from behind her peroxide mane, before taking the speed down a notch with 'Ghetto Love', the only airing from the Spinnerette project. It's a perfect gateway to the more mature sound of the new album; standout track 'Parties for Prostitutes' showcases Dalles husky tones over an awkwardly angular bass line.
Closer 'Underworld' has an intro that sounds incredibly familiar to Sing Sing Death House anthem 'City of Angels', causing mass hysteria/confusion for a few seconds, but makes for a fitting ending to the anarchy we've just endured. The crowd are a hot, sweaty mess, thoroughly ruined by the riotous Dalle, but by the looks on their faces, they took great delight in the battering. She might have been preaching to the choir, but tonight Brody Dalle has retained her punk rock crown.
Setlist:Rat Race / Don't Mess With Me / I Am A Revenant / Die On A Rope / Dismantle Me / Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy / Sick Of It All / Sing Sing Death House / Bullet And The Bullseye / Ghetto Love / Blood In Gutters / Hybrid Moments / Parties for Prostitutes / Coral Fang / The Blackest Years / Underworld