katstevens: (justine)
posted by [personal profile] katstevens at 02:15pm on 07/10/2005 under ,
The Rogers Sisters + support, Highbury Garage 5-10-05

"She looks like Marilyn Monroe and rocks like Marilyn Manson!" squeals The Priscillas' singer Jen, decked out in a white-pvc Elvis catsuit. She is referring to bouffanted guitarist Guri, who acknowledges the compliment by hoisting her axe aloft and making that fret-curdling 'eeedle-eeedle' noise that all teenagers miserably attempt to when they first unpack their £25 Argos Squire Nearlycaster. The Priscillas don't muck about. They deliver their hugely entertaining barrage of garage stomp whether you like it or not. Don't be fooled by the simple riffs chugging away underneath - the girls add their spoonfuls of sugar (via some catchy melodies and deftly original harmonies) to turn the garage medicine a pop treat. Cracking.

Performance have missed the boat. Fair enough, they might have been a little young in 1982, but it was poor judgement to have waited until the wheels had fallen off the Electroclash bandwagon before unleashing their clinical angst-pop. Joe Stretch has clearly made his Megabus pilgrimage to Sheffield and paid homage to the shrine of Oakey and Ferry, and returned with a floppy hairdo determined to start a band. As the set progresses the tunes improve, but there's something lacking here. Perhaps one of those microphones that looked like a foot-long silver pencil.

The hype surrounding new Beggars Banquet hopefuls Film School is not only unwarranted but gobsmackingly misguided. Perhaps the infamously murky PA system at The Garage was conspiring against them but I could hear no "infectious synth sounds". Nor did I find their music "infectiously uplifting", although it did start gave me a rash. Performance might have mis-timed their assault, but Film School are attempting to revive an era that should remain firmly locked away in a safe marked "1991" to which only Kevin Shields holds the key. The unmemorable drone seems to go on for hours without so much as a hook. Sadly a "sonic suffused wall-of-sound" will only work in a live setting if the audience has been consuming the right type of intoxicants.

Listening to the first Rogers Sisters album would lead to you believe there are at least six of them hacking away at the grave of 60s Spector-pop with a post-punk pickaxe, and it's amazing to discover that the multi-talented New Yorkers Jennifer (guitar), Miyuki (bass) and Laura (drums) are a three-piece. Cranking out frenetic surf-pop hooks from distorted guitar and booming ESG-esque bass is no mean feat, and combined with those distinctive vocals it makes for a truly unique sound.

Miyuki shares the lead vocal duty for most of the songs, perfectly timing his call and responses with Jen, who spits out opening number Zero Point from beneath a terrifying fringe. How can she see what she's doing under there? The majority of the tracks come from second album Three Fingers, capped with a cover of Captain Beefheart's Zig Zag Wanderer. The new material (songs about Scrabble, daydreams and lifts) is no radical departure from 2003's Purely Evil (maths, bicycles, archaeology), but as they say: if it 'ain't broke, don't fix it.

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