Tuesday, January 30, 2007
COMANECHI, MADAME JO JO'S, LONDON, 23.1.07
As a grunge kid student in Manchester in 1991, I made a weekly pilgrimage to the Boardwalk to see noisy American rock bands. L7, Monster Magnet, Smashing Pumpkins, Babes In Toyland, even Hole, all came and turned us into an excitable and heaving, check-shirted mess. The ceiling oozed sweat. It was great. Of course, it was the bands with girls in that fascinated me the most. The sight of a blonde, baby-faced Kat Bjelland roaring like a harridan "you cunt-hole bitch!" was pretty affecting for a naive 19 year old. I guess it was all about the incongruity of it all.
Which is perhaps where my fondness for Comanechi comes from. This is a two-piece who knock out furiously fast grunge punk, all thundering death chords and apocalyptic drumming. The incongruity with Comanechi is that you've got six foot Simon (in fur coat) on guitar, throwing shapes like a homicidal Suede-era Bernard Butler and a five foot one foul-mouthed beauty called Akiko on drums and vocals. Just like Kat, Courtney and also those other front-queens, she is an intoxicating presence with a mouth like a sailor.
When the pair lock in on such songs as Naked (as in "I wanna get..") and Rude, and Akiko's strangely cute London-via-Japan accent rises above the screaming guitars, Comanechi positively reek of anger, and danger and the promise of filthy sex. Much like watching Babes in Toyland back in 1991, it's hard and it's uncompromising - and you don't quite know whether to blush or go completely mental. To round things off, Akiko leaves the drums to a friend and comes to the front for her rendition of "My Pussy", which she delivers in black bra, knickers and ripped tights, "covered" by a see-through red net negligée. Some lairy blokes shout something rude - she screams at them to "shut the fuck up".
With a clutch of singles under their belt on White Heat Records, this is a band to keep an eye on. See them live and you won't be able to take your eyes off them.