review archive

The Dolly Rocker Movement – Hopetoun Hotel, Sydney 3rd March 2007

Check us out, we’re on t’other side of the world! What better way to celebrate our second night in Sydney than by doing exactly what we’d do in London, i.e. trundling along to a scruffy, venue, clutching a pint and watching some bands. Only here the hard drinkin’ Sydneyites don’t seem to have pint glasses, they have schooners, i.e. smaller than a pint, bah! The hand-stamp we receive on the door has a reassuring Aussie charm though, the black ink smudged across my skin reads “Get in ya bastard!”

Halfway through the evening we get hit by waves of jet-lag which means we’re in no fit state to stay for headliner David Kilgour of legendary Flying Nun types The Clean and we have to leave before we drop like stones to the floor and fall into a deep slumber. Never mind, it’s The Dolly Rocker Movement we’re here for. Like The Lovetones and The Black Angels, they were brought to my attention by Northern Star Records’ excellent ‘Psychedelica Volume 1’ compilation, and as it’s not likely that we’ll be seeing the band in London anytime soon it’s a happy coincidence that they’re playing during our flying visit to Sydney.

The Dollyrocker Movement
Dandelion Daniel / Simon Love The Dolly Rocker Movement join Baby Lemonade, The Gigolo Aunts and, er probably some others that don’t immediately spring to mind, in the proud tradition of naming themselves after a Syd Barrett song. Taking things a step further, lead Dolly Rocker Daniel/Dandelion (hurrah for dippy names!) seems to have taken a few sartorial hints from the late great Mr B, luckily opting for the tousled curls and groovy shirt of the pre-bonkers Syd rather than his infamous melting Mandrax head look. Plus, we decide he reminds us of Simon Love, only with extra posin’ ‘n’ poutin’. And boy, can Dandelion Dan pose ‘n’ pout, throwing in cute little hip-swivelling flicks of the guitar that have got to be the result of some serious mirror time. Luckily he can also play the guitar (with a cool insouciance), sing (in a tone reminiscent of a more catty Sal Valentino of The Beau Brummels), and write some great pie eyed psychedelic pop.
He’s joined by, and I quote, “some other cool cats” on guitar, drums and keyboards (no bass tonight), plus two girlie backing singers/percussion players who add a touch of Anadin Brothers style hippy chick glamour to the occasion, despite the fact that they initially look mortified to be on stage.
The band starts with a slow-burn, hazily drone-tinged number that sounds like incense smoke drifting in front of deep red velvet curtains and recalls ‘Methadrone’ era BJM. Then we’re off on a trip that takes us through a range of psychedelic sounds that stretch from cute beat pop jangle to flower-child folkiness to fuzzily rumbling garagey rummagings. ‘Steam Train Blues’ (?) is a bluesy chug - complete with bottle-necked slide guitar action and “choo-choo” backing vocals. The dewy ‘On A June Morning’ is thoroughly steeped in free-wheelin’ west coastin’ vibes and sounds exactly like, well, a June morning, circa 1967. Some other cool cats, yesterday
The Dolly Rocker Movement are clearly deeply in love with all things psych and have the threads, the graphics (check-out the swirling purpleness of their myspace) and the, you know, songs to prove it. For sure it’s a niche scene, but hey! get hip to it.
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