This was the last show on Smalltown Tigers first Uk tour and the posters titles the show as "No Sleep 'til Biddle's!" Smalltown Tigers are an all-female trio from the mean beaches of Rimini who are obsessed by The Runaways and The Ramones and who were touring to promote the bands debut single Just Friends.
On first were long running London band The Dublo who I haven't seen in a good while but who as ever provide some good old fashioned Estuarine bluesy pub rock and made clear there intent by opening with I Just Want To Dance to Rock & Roll that had just enough swagger to it and some great harmonica played through a valve microphone from Leo Smith.
As with most of the songs in this review I'm guessing at the titles and the next song seemed to be One Man's luck a real bluesy tale of how things don't go how you want them with a really good strident bassline from Lala Padula while Pete O'Dublo rattled out the lyrics at a fair place.
They then did a long instrumental blues that eventually broke down for Pete to sing In My Time Of Dying almost acapella he did a decent job of it but as a fan of Diamanda Galas treatment of this Blind Willie Johnson classic he had some way to go to really nailing it, but still it was miles better than Led Zeppelin murdering it.
They got a good chug going on Close the Door and let's hope it doesn't hit you on the way out as your history, as Wayne Worrels rimshots made clear. They clearly love the Feelgood sound and Don't Stop My Baby ripped along like they needed to get somewhere fast.
Lying and Crying was a good bluesy break up song that was followed by the final word on the break up, I'm Leaving Now Babe Goodbye and he was gone and not coming back that just left them time to close with Hard Working Girl a song I'm sure I have heard before and wonder if it was the old Clarence Daniels song, either way a good way to close a good fun set.
After the break Smalltown Tigers came on clad in black leather shorts and short Black boots and tights classic girl gang Ramones styled punk band young and full of energy they opened with what I'm guessing at the song titles was Another Bad Case a good and angry slap in the face of the loser Valli was singing about her voice really sounded like a young Kim Shattuck circa the first time I saw her in The Pandoras in about 1990 at Rodney's in LA a venue they would sound perfect in.
Then they were going full pelt chasing after Runaway Joe and hoping to catch and save him with Monty shaking her hair all over the place while singing backing vocals and this wasn't her fault but also while standing on Valli's microphone cable causing the vocals to cut out a bit which was why Valli couldn't hear herself a lot of the time. Sadly, on this small a stage getting the cables out the way didn't happen.
Girl was a full-on assault of the girls on a mission to go on a full scale rock and roll rampage while having an absolute blast doing it.
They then took us back to way before they were born to 1976 the year I won a copy of The Runaways debut album in a radio competition and first heard Cherry Bomb a song I didn't really understand for a good few years. They play it brash and full on with Castel pummeling the hell out of the drums with a big grin on her face.
Falling sounded a lot like Maid Of Ace with plenty of anger in it. I Want It Now is a good list of the things they want to get from being in a great girl punk band and if they tour and work hard enough should get but I'd add a slot on the introducing stage at Rebellion to that list if I was them.
They then joined the long list of bands to breeze through Let's Dance and no not the Bowie song thank god. Stand My Ground had enough anger in it and could have been a bit more forceful but by this time they were having too much fun even as the vocals dropped in and out regularly.
They did a good full on cover of The Saints I'm Stranded and were certainly more coherent than Chris Bailey was the last time I saw him play. I think this was the point that Valli and Monty switched places so that Valli could sing into the fully working microphone for the rest of the set, That made hitting the effects and tuner pedals interesting and no they didn't look Like A fool that they were signing about.
They then did a grinning from ear to ear version of the bands current and only single so far Just friends and by this time they had certainly gained some more friends and closed the set with a fast but not as fast as the Ramones cover of R.A.M.O.N.E.S. as they seemingly haven't written their own theme tune yet.
They easily got an encore but still being very new they didn't have any more material and so played Cherry Bomb a second time, this time a bit ballsier than the first version that left everyone happy but they have time to learn lots more song to play once the debut album comes out early next year.