Von Bondies justify their hype at Dingwalls

Review by Roland Stanbridge-Miles


This review, concerning one of the emerging bands of the moment, was kindly submitted to the pages of Indielondon by Roland Stanbridge-Miles. Feel free to do the same, whether gigs inspire, disappoint, or simply bring out the wordsmith in you. We look forward to receiving your views....

Von Bondies, Dingwalls, September 17, '02

DINGWALLS is packed to the proverbial rafters tonight for an eagerly-anticipated show from the hotly-tipped Von Bondies. Hailing from Detroit, friends of Motor City's finest, The White Stripes, and purveyors of garage rock, this month's genre of choice, hype and expectation were almost inevitable.

Support act, The Greenhornes, are from Cincinnati. While I'd struggle, or actually fail, to name another band from their hometown, they do fall into a similar musical niche.

Slightly more tuneful and sedate than most sharing their genre, yet still able to bash out a tune capable of moving a cool London crowd to a semi-decent response, they carve out a set of pleasing retro garage rock until about halfway through, when they slow things down and seem to lose their way a bit. Their momentum's gone, along with my interest.

A special mention for their bassist, however, whose floppy fringe and stripy shirt would make him seen at home on a 60s black and white music TV show.

Pleasant then, but not particularly memorable, as borne out by the fact that, less than a week after seeing them, I'm struggling to recall enough about them to cobble a few words together for this review. But I have.

The anticipation in the air is palpable as we wait for the Von Bondies to justify their press. They do not disappoint. We're blown away by their spiky garage-punk two-minute pop classics, even more so with the apparent ease and nonchalance with which they are produced.

Their set seems to fly by in next to no time, and before we know it they're announcing their final song, which they somehow raise themselves a level for and features excellent vocals from drummer, Donald Joseph Blum, before disappearing offstage to the exhaltation of their thrilled fans to return with no delay.

They submit to this unrefusable request (demand), and are joined by two members of excellent Kiwi punksters, The Datsuns, for an elongated yet frantic finale which leaves us reeling, staggering bewildered into the late evening Camden air, yet satisfied at having seen such a great band in a relatively intimate venue.