Dinosaur Pile-Up & Japanese Voyeurs – Live Review

March 20, 2009

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Dinosaur Pile-Up – My Rock \’n\’ Roll 



I wasn’t really into the original grunge scene that burst out of (predominantly) Seattle and elsewhere in the state of Washington in the the mid 80’s, and finding mainstream acceptance in the early to mid 90’s. This is mainly because I was only a toddler when it all kicked off, and as such, very much incapable of supporting the weight of Eddie Vedder‘s infamous ‘crucifix’ pose at the Pearl Jam gig at RKCNDY, Seattle in August 1991.

I wasn’t into grunge then, but like most teenagers growing up in the early 00’s I went out,  jumped on the grunge bandwagon and bought the seminal albums of the era: Nirvana‘s Never Mind, Pearl Jam‘s Ten and Soundgarden‘s Superunknown. Despite the fact that I had no logical, justifiable reason to get on board with lyrics about drug abuse, depression, homelessness and so on, like many kids in the UK I felt strangely drawn to these disillusioned, disenfranchised, accidental rock-stars. It was Nirvana‘s Nevermind  that encouraged me to listen to music, to pick up a guitar and, I guess in some indirect and roundabout way, write this blog, and I’m sure a lot of you can identify.

So even though grunge has been predominantly a bit-part in my life since we ‘second generation grungies’ hung up our Nirvana hoodies in the early 00’s , only to resurface when the mood takes me to stick on a bit of Vitalogy, No Code, Ten, or even less frequently, Nevermind, it is comforting to see a resurgence of busted guitar fuzz, power-chords, riffs that will melt your eyeballs and lyrics that speak for a disenfranchised youth movement.

At the forefront of this resurgence are bands such as Japanese Voyeurs and Dinosaur Pile-Up, and on Monday the 16th of March a packed-out Hoxton Bar and Grill was whipped into a sweaty, moshing, riff-induced frenzy by these two acts.

Japanese Voyeurs, formerly Tinseltown, began as they meant to continue.. Loudly. Lead singer and guitarist Romily took to the stage swinging her guitar around to produce a cacophony of discordance and feedback before the four-piece ripped into a whirlwind performance.

Distorted powerchords, simple minimalist chord progressions, screeching Superunknown-era Soundgarden-esque abstract guitar solos, and driven rhythm and bass provided the platform over which vocalist Romily enchanted with her angst-ridden vocals. Flitting between almost child-like vulnerability and rock-Goddess, Brodie Armstrong-style screaming with ease, Romily displayed a versatility virtually unparalleled in female vocalists today, and it was hard not to be transfixed.

High points of the set included a gut-busting rendition of You’re So Cool: a sadistic ode to playground crushes and seemingly a metaphor for something more, and the riff-tastic Dumb which displays muscular guitar work a la Queens Of The Stone Age.

Japanese Voyeurs worked the crowd up in preparation for a band I have been hearing a lot about in recent months but, until Monday, had not had the pleasure of seeing: Dinosaur Pile-Up. The Leeds three-piece, fronted by Matt Bigland (formerly of Mother Vulpine), did not disappoint. Like Japanese Voyeurs, Bigland and co rocked out some massive, muscular riffs. Meaty basslines; solid 4/4 beats heavy on the crash; chord progressions and riffs doused in distortion; and the disjointed and vaguely disconcerting vocal melodies of tracks such as My Rock ‘n’ Roll displayed an obvious nod to Nevermind-era Nirvana. Meanwhile there is a striking pop-sensibility in the high-tempo, up-beat, catchy, bass-driven freight train of a track Traynor, reminiscent of Q.O.T.S.A. and The Foo Fighters.

Dinosaur Pile-Up‘s flawless blast of Rock ‘n’ Roll induced a mini-moshpit in the packed venue, and left spectators exhausted, dripping with sweat, and minus a few audible frequencies. Perhaps the only downside was the omission of Love is a Boat and We’re Sinking, a favourite among fans.

Throw out your ‘Grunge Is Dead’ T-shirts. It was never funny… and check out:




6 Responses to “Dinosaur Pile-Up & Japanese Voyeurs – Live Review”

  1. Molly said

    For future reference her name is spelt ROMILY.

  2. james said

    I saw this gig, you must be friends with these bands or something.. DPU were alright, I’ve seen them before and this wasnt their best gig.. but your JV review is completely off, their frontwoman was awful. I couldn’t see how that was meant to be grunge. And what about Little Death, did they not play that night? They were worth more of a review than the other support.

    • Asher said

      As far as Little Death goes, I slipped out during the second slot to meet some friends and unfortunately missed their set.

      With JV I don’t blame you for not liking them, I’ve seen a few people mention Romily as ‘love her or hate her’. She definitely is like marmite. Personally, I think she has a great presence and confidence about her, and is a good performer. Her voice is unique, to say the least, and the angst-ridden-fragility in her voice is in keeping with the grunge feel. I was already a fan of this band and knew a few of the songs, which always helps, but I think in general they were well-received. Don’t you?

      I haven’t heard much about Little Death’s performance, how was it?

      Cheers for the comment,

  3. james said

    Yeah Little Death were pretty good, it was the first time I’d seen them live and I was pleasantly suprised. Still not sure about JY. From where I was standing, there was an uneasiness on stage that made it difficult to watch. But each to their own opinion I guess. All of the bands that played that night seemed in early stages, so let’s just wish them luck in their progression and maturity!
    Thanks for the blog. (I work in music, so its always interesting to see another view).

  4. Asher said

    Yeh, I am particularly excited about DPU. Regardless of how well they performed that night I think they’ve got some really good tracks, and well produced too.

    Who do you work for?

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