13th November 2011
FAC251 The Factory
There’s an old, corny idea that ‘music brings the people together’. Tonight’s performance from Dum Dum Girls lends it a little credence. After all, what else would bring four ladies from all corners of the United States – New York, Texas and California included – to Manchester on a damp November evening?
As foreign as the band’s background might be, sonically they’re rooted pretty deeply in the sort of sound that, in the eighties and nineties, made Manchester the centre of the music universe. Opener ‘He Gets Me High’ is dominated by the same kind of wailing guitar that underscored The Verve’s A Storm in Heaven, and the slew of tracks that follow from last year’s debut LP I Will Be, all full of scuzzy guitars and lo-fi vocals, achieve the rare feat of recalling Joy Division in a manner that isn’t jarringly obvious.
Tonight’s real highlight, however, is a first UK airing of material from September’s Only in Dreams, the first full record recorded by the band (previous efforts were all the doing of frontwoman Dee Dee Penny). It’s possibly 2011’s most perfect pop record; the gorgeous harmonies of ‘Bedroom Eyes’ and bouncy melodies of ‘Heartbeat’ strike an ideal balance between Britpop guitar work and 60s girl-group vocals.
Mid-set, Dee Dee professes that “Manchester’s our favourite place to play in the UK”; there’s certainly a north-western influence, when you consider the recurring blend of simple guitar parts that come out of the speakers sounding huge – a la Stone Roses – and the Beatles-esque lyrical simplicity on tracks like ‘Hold Your Hand’. Fittingly, the main set closes with a stirring cover of ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’, before the yearning ‘Coming Down’ comprises the encore; tonight, the ‘Factory’ finally shows a bit of respect for its heritage.