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The Orwells play new songs and cover The Stooges in Birmingham

21 February 2014, 10:37 | Written by Dan Owens

Even after The Orwells’ incendiary Letterman appearance garnered an online response as unforgiving as that of an enraged Caligula – the cynics deriding a performance riddled with Strokes footnotes – the Hare and Hounds, Birmingham’s premier squalid boozer-cum-venue, nevertheless plays host to a sold-out and expectant crowd.

And this dingy cubby-hole, scented with the stench of moshers past, proves the perfect theatre for the band’s grimy rock; their filtering of adolescent excess and ennui through bluesy templates. Neglecting most of their underwhelming debut, it’s certainly their newer cuts that really cook tonight; sexual hymns “Other Voices” and “Dirty Sheets” embossed by Mario Cuomo’s ungratified and potent howl before homage is paid to Iggy and The Stooges’ primitivism in a rollicking cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”.

Cuomo’s stage craft matches the chaotic intensity of his charges. In between songs, he toasts Kurt Cobain’s birthday with a rambunctious wine bottle swig, sheds his clothing and even finds time for a gentle Arctic Monkeys swipe, making it clear that he cares not for the decorum to which we’re so accustomed, opting for apathy over affability.

Indeed, even when this apathy begins to overwhelm on tracks such as “Mallrats” and “Bathroom Tile Blues”, the band manage to transcend their lyrical shortcomings with a seething rendition of “Who Needs You”; an eloquent, politically-charged fuck you to America’s World Police-ism.

A bratty, sweat-sodden orgy of caustic riffage and precocious showmanship.

Set list
Other Voices
The Righteous One
Dirty Sheets
Halloween All Year
Gotta Get Down
In My Bed
Let It Down
Not A Problem
Blood Bubbles
Bathroom Tile Blues
Who Needs You
I Wanna Be Your Dog
Southern Comfort

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