Sex Pissed Dolls | Review
Limelight 2, Belfast • Saturday 14 May ’16
By Melanie Brehaut | Photography Darren Mcveigh
Depending on your age and level of world weary cynicism, punk is either a) dead, or b) not dead. For those of you in the former category, it’s time you dragged your pessimistic arse down to a Sex Pissed Dolls gig. Having formed less than two years ago, the band have already amassed quite a following – their fans called themselves the Dolls Barmy Army (or DBA for short) – and have toured extensively all over the UK. This weekend saw them finally make it over the water to Ireland, and having performed on Friday in Dublin, they arrived on Saturday to see exactly what Belfast’s punks were made of.
With no support act, the pre gig music was a selection of punk, ska and rockabilly tunes courtesy of DJ Joe Greene. As the room filled up, the excitement – and curiosity, it has to be said – began rising. Finally, the stage lights went up and the five young women who make up the Sex Pissed Dolls – Kitty Vacant, Connie Rotter, Jilly Idol, Anna Key and frontwoman Nancy Doll – set a frenetic pace, launching into a frantic ninety minute set with The Cult’s ‘She Sells Sanctuary’.
Sexy and confident, Doll, dressed rather like a demonic bride, struts the stage belting out her ballsy, throaty voice, while her fishnets ‘n’ leather clad bandmates bust out some serious riffs – they may be young but goodness me can they play.
Their set covers the length and breadth of punk, from the obvious Sex Pistols (‘Pretty Vacant’, ‘God Save the Queen’, ‘Holidays In the Sun’ and set closer ‘Anarchy In the UK’) to The Clash (‘I Fought the Law’), The Damned (‘New Rose’) and The Members (a sneering ‘Sound of the Suburbs’). Doll expertly recaptures the snotty attitude and snarling dismissal of Messrs Rotten and Strummer yet maintains her ‘feisty woman’ vibe. In fact, they all do – there’s nothing ‘girly-girly’ or ‘delicate little flower’ about this lot.
In a move that forever endears them to Northern Ireland, they blast out spirited covers of both ‘Teenage Kicks’ and ‘My Perfect Cousin’ by local heroes The Undertones, as well as a blistering ‘Alternative Ulster’ during their encore, which earns the loudest applause by a considerable stretch (not to mention the highest concentration of bouncing bodies).
In true ‘don’t give a fuck’ fashion, they also throw in a few of their original songs: the classic punk of ‘Shitty Old Town’, the Blondie-ish ‘Maniac’, which tells the (hopefully) tongue in cheek tale of watching a friend kiss a potential serial killer, and ‘You’re So Sci Fi’, with its hooky riff that’s vaguely reminiscent of ‘I Fought the Law’.
And if that wasn’t punk (and cool) enough for you…how about some distinctly un-punk covers? Like, say, Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, or a fist pumping ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’? Yes, it was that kind of gig – ‘anything goes’, or maybe even ‘fuck it, throw it out there and see what happens!’. Whatever the thinking was behind the bold move (The Beastie Boys at a punk gig!), it works like a charm, with the crowd duly going nuts – half in ecstacy, half in surprised delight, one imagines.
Throughout their set, the band are absolute consummate professionals, playing like seasoned champs rather than a recently formed entity. Doll in particular plays the crowd expertly, switching between cajoling and insulting them with a twinkle in her (multicoloured) eye.
As the last notes of ‘Anarchy In the UK’ ring out, the crowd almost raise the roof with their applause. The beams on every single face point to this being a runaway success – there was certainly a lot of reliving misspent youth in the room tonight, at any rate. So if you are of the belief that punk is dead – lighten up, check out the very, very punk Sex Pissed Dolls and join in: I AM AN ANTICHRIST! AND I AM AN ANARCHIST!…
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