Dream scenes
Dum Dum Girls - Live At The O2 Academy, Islington

This fair night sees Clash enter the intimate space of Islingon’s academy to be greeted with the sound and sights of a dreamier and disarming nature than your usual gig.

Tonight it’s time for Sub Pop’s Dum Dum Girls to bring their ear-pleasing brand of noise-pop to the capital, and how the four-piece bring it. Masterminded by frontwoman Dee Dee, the Dum Dum brand has been rising in worth over the past two years with a couple of critically applauded, and not to mention heavily blogged about, albums being dropped into the retro loving consciousness. With this stand-alone UK show sitting at the end of a lengthier European tour, it’s safe to say new album ‘Only in Dreams’ is going to make many appearances – and it does.

Casually entering the stage dressed in matching ‘60s white outfits and ruby-red lipstick there is a strong aesthetic quality going on that just helps the whole night glue. Lead track ‘Bedroom Eyes’ gets heads bopping in a hilariously tame fashion, while ‘I Will Be’ from the album of the same name gets the older fans’ attention. Songs are deployed one after another with razor sharp precision, album numbers sounding just as good live. There’s a sense of distance about the whole thing which, in some ways, can make it hard for the paying punters to let loose and feel the noise, while at the same time only adding to the airy, almost lost quality of the music.

Like a gorgeous Ramones with girl group melodies, it’s a relentless but pretty noise that you can’t help but enjoy. ‘Jail La La’ makes a refreshing change from the slower material of ‘Only in Dreams’, the punky tale of waking up covered in your own shit bringing some bite back to proceedings. ‘Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout’ does similar, the odd mix of students, fifty-year-olds and a Warlock complete with cape (where do these people come from?) throwing their arms up in appreciation. It certainly makes a change from the high-octane antics of your usual rock show.

New bass recruit Malia has slotted into the group dynamic perfectly and brings the only bit of real intimacy to the show by giving a shout out to her former music teacher in the crowd. However it is lead guitarist Jules that proves to be the group’s secret weapon. Wearing her influences on her sleeve, the Banshees-meets-pop sparse guitar lines are what help the band stand out from the swarm of other lo-fi lovers. Finale ‘Coming Down’ proves an epic end, Dee Dee finally letting some of the ice queen act go to truly belt out her unique tones while Jules’ accompanying vocals and guitar merge into a truly beautiful whole.

Night over, the band retreat backstage for wine while the audience rush to the merch stand for vinyl. As for Clash and a few others, we stagger away in a haze, slightly baffled but content. We didn’t move much but we were happy in the dream.

Words by Sam Walker-Smart

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