It is immediately apparent from the smattering of Dream Wife T-shirts in the crowd that the band have fans in the audience who are not just here for Hidden Door generally. The trio from Brighton (plus a touring drummer) have certainly built some buzz since their debut dropped at the end of January this year.
Interestingly the programme for Hidden Door describes them as “worshipping at the twin altars of Madonna and David Bowie”. These influences are hard to detect as they burst on stage with opener Hey, Heartbreaker sounding much more like they have been worshipping at the twin altars of The Runaways and The Ramones.
This opener very much sets the tone of the gig as the band breathlessly runs through a set of high energy effervescent punk rock with hardly any of the songs making it much over the three minute mark. Straight away it is clear that lead singer Rakel Mjöll is very much the focal point and is a sexually charged and provocative performer. Tonight she is dressed like a cheerleader and comes over like a punk rock Lolita (coincidentally one of their songs is called Lolita). Not that this should be taken at face value as this is clearly part of the band’s ironic art-school pose.
Despite the newness of the group it is clear Mjöll is already an expert in audience manipulation in the way she pumps up the crowd for every song as well as using the usual trick of heavily complimenting the crowd, the venue and the city; although she does sound sincere in doing so. Not that Mjöll is the only one to impress here, as guitarist Alice Go manages to almost match the singer in energy and manic stage performance and particularly shines with her guitar solo after Act My Age.
What also impresses are just how tight the band are. They do not put a foot wrong as they rattle through a set they have clearly honed to perfection on the road. Particular highlights include Somebody (which was dedicated to “all the bad bitches”), F.U.U (continuing the bad bitch theme it contains the repeated line of “I spy with my little eye bad bitches”) and the previously mentioned Act My Age, a song made even more entertaining by the band doing extracts of Blondie’s One Way or Another and a punked-up Wannabe from the Spice Girls at the end of it.
By the time we get to set closer Let’s Make Out the crowd are going positively crazy, not a usual occurrence among the frequently more demure Edinburgh gig crowds, which goes to illustrate what a show the band has put on.