Gig Review - Rosie & The Goldbug

Thursday 26th February 2009 @ The Lanes
Playing alongside: The Sea, Turbowolf, The She Creatures

Whether or not you like Turbowolf and The Sea kinda depends on whether you consider derivative to be a dirty word. If yes, then listening to either group will be about as appealing as having a cue-tip rammed up your urethra. If however, for you, like the mottle-faced longhairs head-banging at the front of the stage, rocking-out simply for rocking-outs sake is a form of transcendentalism, then Turbowolf at least will have you crossing wires with God (the God of rock, that is. Grrr!).

The Sea - a heavy guitar/drums duo - are your average garage-rock fodder, peddling fuzzy, sped-up Led Zep riffs. They’re loud, enthusiastic and other than during a rather pointless (and surprisingly clumsy) drum solo, only fall down when they try a more subtle low-tempo song that sounds like a Shed Seven b-side (yes, that bad!). Stick to the riffs, boys, and you’ll be fine.

Fronted by a shrieking singer with pipes that sound like they could burst at any second, Turbowolf are a more ferocious proposition and have the aforementioned front section of the audience banging their heads and playing along with various air-instruments in an almost quasi-religious scene. Sabbath in parts (the good bits) played at warp speed and punctuated by weird ELO synthesiser bursts; feral front-man scurrying around the stage; obnoxiously loud and soon to be gyrating at a venue near you. Safety warning: stand too near the front at a Turbowolf gig and risk rupturing your pelvic wall.

Book-ended by the boys’ empty (depending on your point of view) bluster, the real stars of the night are the girls (though Pixie, the bassist from Rosie & The Goldbug, is technically a man, he’s androgynous enough to be considered a girl. Which is brilliant).

Rosie & The Goldbug - standing at a combined 5ft 5inches - follow a British tradition of flamboyant pop/theatre that runs right from Oscar Wilde through to Bowie, Bolan, Bat For Lashes and beyond. A pomp of sparkling colours and fronted by the magnificent Rosie – a hot little minx with a voice that belies her diminutive frame - they’re part Siouxsie & The Banshees, part Kate Bush; a tough line to walk. Wow, this is what pop should sound like; penetrable, but with a knife between its teeth.

Note the dearth of vibrant, truly aesthetically pleasing, contemporary British pop groups. Note Rosie & The Goldbug. Next time they hit Bristol see them immediately! They SHOULD be massive, soon!

The She Creatures have been called the best band in Bristol. Rightly so. Forget the Venusian gimmickry - a cul-de-sac in the long run - what makes them really great is the combination of the salaciously voiced and endlessly watchable Nancy Raygun (even without the blue wig, no doubt) and simple, sixties fused garage rock/pop that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The result then, is some magic realism of sweaty sex-determining melodic scuzz-rock that moves your hips without making you feel guilty.

So even those to whom saying the word ‘derivative’ is like saying Macbeth to a thespian, leave floating on a nimbus of euphoric ‘Space-Madness’. Their next gig? Thunderbolt, 12th March. Check it out.

James Davey

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