All photos by: Imelda
Camden’s legendary Electric Ballroom is busy having an identity crisis on this rainy summer evening. If you had to guess who was playing here tonight you’d have a tough job. The crowd is a diverse criss-cross of girls in stilettos, scruffy punks, casually dressed middle-aged folk and teenage indie kids. I have no idea what to expect and this feeling of ambiguity turns out to be the theme for the night.
I’m unfamiliar with support act Freeland, a three-piece electronic/rock/dance act. They put on an upbeat if slightly samey show, which is somewhat brightened by the appearance of Spinnerette’s front woman Brody Dalle, who joins them to sing on one song in a relatively short set.
When she reappears for Spinnerette’s headline turn, it’s quickly clear that this is Brody’s show, as the rest of her band – four black-clad men – barely speak and are often shrouded in cloudy lighting, keeping the main lady firmly at the centre of attention.
Unsurprisingly, the ghost of The Distillers hangs over the night’s proceedings – even down to some of the stage equipment still featuring the name of Brody’s former band.
The audience is certainly attentive and even near the back, where the crowd thins out considerably, there is little chatting going on or attention diverted from the band. That said, not much of the crowd is really moving. There’s a bit of jumping and swaying right at the front and even the odd person being pulled out of the crowd by security staff but over all there is a very mellow, hazy, trance-like interest in Spinnerette.
Brody’s performance is suitably moody and husky and the music is heavy, dense and sweeping, with enough melodic twists and hooks to avoid becoming too self-indulgent. However, whilst Spinnerette’s songs do seem to shimmer promisingly on the horizon, I’m not sure they ever really arrive. Better known tracks such as ‘Valium Knights’ and ‘Sex Bomb’ all too seamlessly merge with songs I’ve never heard before, leaving me with a feeling that it was overall quite good but not really gripping.
The set keeps to pretty much the same speed and nature all the way through and with no encore and precious little between song conversation, Spinnerette paint themselves as relatively aloof – more of a band to experience than feel you interact with. It will be interesting to see how Spinnerette develop, but for now they haven’t left me dizzy with excitement.