Sleater Kinney / Mary Timony ULU, London 28th July 2000
5 Girls 4 Hairslides
A brunette Shirley Manson taking off John Shuttleworth is not something you see every day (and neither should you want to), but that’s my first impression of Mary Timony as she hovers behind her keyboard bashing out a, um, quirky tune. Happily, she straps on a guitar and proceeds to rock in a sparse, whiney-voiced way, driven along by a (female) drummer who looks like a cross between Donna Matthews and creepy Michael Doyle off ‘Grange Hill’ (early years) argh!
By the stoppy-starty atonal fourth song Mary has progressed to being Kim Gordon, which has gotta be a step up from Shirl Shuttleworth. Next, just to keep us on our toes, she whips out a violin and although this is getting increasingly precocious-child-at-a-talent-showesque ( yes that is a word) we settle down for a bit of instrumental string action, when, Yow! she starts singing in a screechy cat way, presumably in sympathy with the feline guts being scraped.
her to break out the full one-man band rig, including cymbals between the knees,
it comes as something of a relief when ‘special guest’ Carrie from SK joins
Mary T. onstage. Mary & Carrie do that face to face duelling geetars thang.
Sort of. Rock! The chiming guitars hint at what could be if there was a full
band up there to fill out some of the songs and to give that droney petulant
prozac schoolgirl whine something to get lost in.
The place gets sweatier and Sleater Kinney appear. I pretty much know nowt and have heard even less of this lot, so I’m pleased to come out at the end with a big positive ‘Yes! I love this band’. They sound like the best 60s garage girl band that never was, the songs a lot warmer and less spiky than I was expecting. Carrie and Corin’s guitars entwining in a pealing Television tumble.
Looking cool (which is more than we’re feeling right now) in pink halter-neck and sparkly silver guitar strap (sorry couldn’t see any more) Corin has an amazing, powerful, womanly holler of a voice which reminds me of the Hangmans Beautiful Daughters (lateish ‘80s, LP produced by Dan Treacy of Television Personalities non-fame. Check out ‘Darkside’ & ‘Pushing Me Too Far’).
Trading harmonies and shrieks is Carrie, who manages to look like the grooviest rockingest gurl ever to play guitar whilst pulling Iron Maiden (so I’m told) ‘axe-neck swung high’ poses.
They seem to play about 60 squintillion songs, lots from new LP ‘All Hands on the Bad One’, and I realise I do know one song ie. ‘You’re No Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun’, which is a great title and a great insult. Another stand out is ‘Was It A Lie’ mainly as it has a softer, more wistful sound and seems like a bit of a departure from the rocking rest, coming across as some kind of low rent punkgrrl Pat Benatar (ohmigod!), but with a redeeming bitterness.
We squirm our way out of the middle of the melting crowd to watch the encores (no names, no idea) in an oxygenated zone at the back where a few of the kids are feverishly getting on down on the beer-washed boards.
As we leave, we find a big splashy rainstorm outside.
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