Dum Dum Girls @ Cargo, London 30.07.10

Girl band paint-by-numbers, the Dum Dums play an almost immaculate set for Upset The Rhythm on Friday night.

Jul 30th, 2010 at Cargo, London / By Francesca Ronai
Dum Dum Girls My compadre for this evening is probably the only person in the room hoping for Kirsten Gundred to play some tracks from her last band, Grand Ole Party’s Humanimals album. At one point I look at his dejected little face and I'm convinced, that like a hungry child, he's gonna start chanting 'Grand Ole Party, Grand Ole Party.’

I shout back to him in the crowd, ‘Hey fartface*, y’know you’re not gonna get to hear ‘Turn On, Burn On’, ok?’

His bottom lip looks wobbly, but that might be a side effect of the three ginger beers I’ve drunk today. (This is a new obsession of mine and I haven’t quite established what its effects are yet…)

See, Gundred, or Dee Dee as she goes by these days, dressed in tiny black hot pants, striped stockings and glittering shoulder pads, really does not look like she’s here to give the heads a Grand Ole Party medley, not even for ol’ times sake. And considering how hush hush she’s been about her past identity…well, GOP appears to be bit of a skeleton in her closet full of black, leather fringe jackets.

Dum Dum Girls, her current all-female set up is for now, far superior. And every last kitten-heeled one of them knows it. Dressed up to the nines, perfectly aligned, their stage presence is ferocious, and the opening bars of ‘Playing With Fire’ sits unsure on the fence between sexy and menacing. But possibly not for the hairy-backed creep standing next to me though. He's intent on filming every last bit (probably for some sordid, private collection of his at home…shudder), he's got over-active zoom button syndrome and it's been directed at Sandy Vu for the last five minutes, their current drummer who is giving her kit a mighty hard time.

Despite the tear drop eyeliner and flamboyant stage get-up, it takes Dee Dee a while to get into her stride - I’ve heard rumours that she suffers from stage fright but there also seems to be a few sound issues in Cargo tonight. All the girls could do with having their mics turned up to break through the fuzz of their own guitars. But as soon as the Dum Dums hit ‘Oh Mein M’, technical difficulties and nerves go up in smoke. This is also the bit where I turn round to my friend again and shout, ‘She’s singing in German!’ – German! I can speak German, I grew up there, I feel wildly patriotic, which is silly because it’s just one song. But I can sing along, ha ha! She makes it sound ‘cool’ and of course, that makes me ‘cool’ too. I don’t know how I’ve worked that out but I have, do not wake me from this misguided daydream.

Ignore me.

This is the perfect girl band. Dee Dee looks timelessly rock n’ roll – she sneers while her voice growls and purrs on stand out tracks ‘I Will Be and ‘It Only Takes One Night’. And she gives an appreciative nod to the 60s, with her guitar-strumming shoulder shimmy. ‘Bhang, Bhang’ and ‘Jail La La’ are expected crowd-pleasers but the highlight has to be the glorious encore of ‘Everybody’s Out’. Three badass girls roaring ‘My baby’s better than you’ to a bellowing crowd is the final proof that chicks rule. Double devil horn hands to you.

*all names have been changed.