Nancy And The Dolls / Clem Burke – The Split Squad. Brighton Concorde 2 08/07/2022
Nancy and The Dolls, formerly The Sex Pissed Dolls, The Queens of Noise, will shock you, they will grab you, shake you and make you rock and roll. They will mess you up leaving your ears buzzing and feet aching. The Sex Pissed Dolls now known as Nancy and The Dolls were back and in our faces! But first on the bill tonight….
The Split Squad:
The opening slot tonight was for The Split Squad, featuring Blondie drummer Clem Burke.
The Split Squad, self-proclaimed as “America’s Least Famous Supergroup,”
The Split Squad were founded a decade ago and comprise of Keith Streng (vocals, guitar) co-founder of The Fleshtones, Eddie Munoz (guitar) lead guitarist of The Plimsouls, Clem Burke (drums) Blondie founding member, Michael Giblin (bass, vocals, keys) a member of Cherry Twister. Absent tonight was Josh Kantor (organ) organist for the Boston Red Sox.
The set opener is Hey DJ from their latest album Another Cinderella, and it`s a full on slice of pop and roll. Tucked away in there are some captivating hypnotic guitar riffs and a chance to let it rip with a brief guitar solo. The band then took us into Superman Says and followed it with Put It Down, from their first album.
With such credentials, you just know that these guys are going to hit you hard. And they did not disappoint. Loud and banging rock and roll.
Clem Burke, who has to be one of the best rock drummers out there, lays down an intoxicating drumbeat full of powerful patterns and fills, but what he does allows that powerful layer of some wonderfully resonating guitar riffs to power out and, also lets the vocals and harmonies to reach out and dazzle.
A wonderful cover of Sorrow was in the set. I have heard a few versions of this song including The Merseybeats original and of course, the Bowie cover, but The Split Squad made this their own. A powerful, almost original and fresh rendition. Loved that one and had the crowd joining in. We had another cover in the shape of The Small Faces Sorry She’s Mine.
From the new album we were hit with distorted, buzzing for the power of the almost glam rock sound of Showstopper. A brutally fine display with fantastic guitars and drumming. The song topped off with a powerful vocal by Giblin.
We were served up with a heady mix of punk, a little soul, a little glam, and when Clem stepped up to the mic to tell the crowd to liven it up after flying in from the states, we got a lot of attitude!
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Great to bump into my pals from Bootleg Blondie backstage. Great to see them there, Clem has drummed for them in the past. They have some shows coming up. We last met at the Jordan Mooney memorial gig. Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated.
Anyway, I digress, heading towards the end of the set we had Stop Me, from an earlier EP release. The set ended with another older track, the perfectly executed Now Hear This.
Guitarist, Mr. Keith Streng, displaying that attitude, I mentioned before, was bouncing around the stage, jumps, kicks, vocals, guitars and launching into the crowd. A careful swerve avoided his foot connecting with my lens!
The collective genius and musical talent on display here was terrific. A damn fine racket. The band were joyful to listen to and watch. We had some fine guitar leaps, some hot guitars and bass, and the man at the back kicking the hell out of the kit.
A shame I did not see any merch – I would have definitely grabbed a copy of Another Cinderella. Oh well, maybe next time. If you get the chance you really should see these guys live, I promise you, it will be time well spent.
Split Squad are on the WWW here: https://www.thesplitsquad.com
Nancy and The Dolls
The Dolls were back! Nancy and the Dolls are here to prove punk is alive, its kicking and tonight it was loaded up with long hair, lipstick, Tartan, leather, ripped fishnets and a bucket load of great songs all washed down with a healthy slice of attitude!
All-female, all-action rock band known then as The Sex Pissed Dolls exploded onto the scene late 2014 and have been wowing audiences and festivals with their edgy, high octane performance of classic rock and punk mixed in with their own original material. A rebrand has seen them evolve into Nancy And The Dolls.
The Dolls themselves are indeed, in the main a tribute act, but not just a Pistols tribute, what they do is grab a handful of just great punk and rock songs, twist them about a bit and fire them into the crowd.
The opening riff from their new guitarist heralded the start – Pretty Vacant, straight into Teenage Kicks and without pausing for breath I Fought The Law. Now that’s one helluva way to open up your set! Some four songs from the Sex Pistols in the set.
So many songs on the set list tonight, some of the old favourites are there, some have gone. In comes Basket Case and show finale Bodies. Great to see The Dolls again. I truly lost count of the number of times this gig had been rescheduled due to the pandemic. However, now they were back, at last.
Nancy will set your ears on fire and sear your brain with her performance. She prowls that stage peering into the faces in the crowd, she stalks the crowd engaging with anyone who catches her eye. Love the Dolls or hate ‘em, you cannot deny they are undeniably entertaining, they have a magnetic appeal that is all their own, they are all fabulous, and boy, they can play their instruments! Every time I have seen a show from these guys their tear it up as if their very lives depended on it.
They had undergone a few changes since we last met up. A new guitarist and a drummer who was lost, for most of the set, in the smoke chugging out from the Concorde 2 smoke machine. Jilly was there, a massive bass guitar slung around her neck with a Sid Vicious print T Shirt. Oh yes! There was also a lot of Tartan tonight!
Looking through their set list for tonight there are not many punk bands left off the list. They ramp it up to 10 covering iconic tunes from, for example, Led Zep, The Damned, Sham 69 , Talking Heads, Nirvana and The Cult, as well as the anthems you might find on a fantasy album of Punk Anthems.
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There are no fillers from these guys, they do not waste a second. We do get a bit of chat from Nancy and a plea for a drink! It was damn hot in Concorde 2 tonight!
Some 25 songs on the set-list, but a couple of songs were dropped due to time constraints. The Dolls took a collective deep breath and launched into God Save The Queen and Bodies. Heel fire, that was loud and fast and the Dolls must be given credit for their performance. 90 Minutes of pure energy. The crowd in Concorde 2 loved every sweat soaked second. I think we could all have kept going for another 90 minutes!
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Always great to catch up after a set. Nancy asked if I had enjoyed the gig, with sweat still dripping down our faces and both grinning from ear to ear I said “Can’t you tell? Oh yes, that was a blast!” Thanks “Nancy” for your time and the photo! Love it. And here’s to the next time we all meet up.
Nancy and The Dolls are on the WWW here.
Thanks to Nancy, Nancy and The Dolls
Thanks to the wonderful Split Squad
Thanks to the staff and crew at Concorde 2
Words and Pictures: Ian Bourn
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