Haymakers, Cambridge 5/3/2011

It makes me wonder if Kerry Davis- frontwoman of tonight’s support, Two Tears- ever gets fed up of playing tiny venues to a smattering of rather static people midweek in places like Cambridge. After all, she has been making music since the mid-90’s with underground favourites, Red Aunts, and hails from the slightly more exciting NYC. For those in attendance, as in all good rock and roll, her attitude is one of not really giving a damn, which fortunately makes for a classic punk performance. Strutting and stamping her way through a set that shows even more balls than her two male bandmates (incidentally, very cute bassist), Ms Davis clutches her guitar like a serial strangler, her bright red lips screaming and snarling a persuasive message of great noisy songwriting, her stance as defiant as Iggy Pop in transparent trouserage.

Reminiscent of the best garage rock, whilst tracks like ‘Eat People’ have the energy of The Sonics, ‘I’m so out of it, I can’t get into it’ and ‘I like your face’ are more typical riot grrl, familiar crunching of guitars and thumping beats that Nikki and The Corvettes or Le Tigre would be happy with. Should Ms Davis be heading the revival? It’s hard to tell what she thinks. Potentially giggling at the situation in front of her, while she seems restless on stage, this serves to command the audience meaning there were more than a few converts when she exited stage left, though they could have shown their appreciation in a less subtle way.

Dan Sartain:Pic Andy Cook

Dan Sartain from Birmingham, Alabama, is also one of those artists that deserves a better platform, not least because he is fairly impossible to ignore. Potentially born with a greased-back duck’s tail and toothpick-chomping, razor sharp cheek-boned surly expression, his reputation precedes him as a bit of a cult sensation on the alternative circuit, a stylish package that has earned him exposure via acts as diverse as White Stripes and The Hives. From his show this evening, it is easy to see why Sartain crosses the boundary between earthy blues maestro and scissor-kicking punk rock. Beginning solo with only a guitar as choice of weapon, his sense of melody is true to rockabilly in its unimitable beauty, so well illustrated during the pretty mariarchi of ‘Flight of the finch’ and the brooding new single ‘Atheist Funeral’. Though playing with concentrated panache, technically he isn’t perfect and his raw edge makes it all the more interesting, apparent in some Ramones-style rebellion when the rest of Two Tears join him for a finale. With an angry inaccessibility, tracks like ‘Walk among the cobras’ have a dark thrill accompanying them, and as the chugging riff of ‘Fuck Friday, Fuck Saturday, Fuck Sunday’ begins, so too does it become an anthem for anyone that’s ever loathed their ex-boss, having been treated like crap for six months for the sheer fun of insecurity. Oh. This must be the taste of freedom. His new album is called ‘Dan Sartain Lives’. The voice of a disgruntled, reckless breed of music fans? He should be.

Anna C

Thanks to Ash from One Little Indian for sorting out the gig.