Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Needles @ Notting Hill Arts Club, London

9 September 2003

Hear ye! Hear ye! Get thy asses to the floor and shake! Because it’s The Needles, because they love music and because they love playing it for you. As a member of the audience so succinctly put it, they “rule”. Everyone in the band is so enigmatic and passionate you could hardly try to stop yourself.

They have the spit and spunk guitar of the good early ’80s punk while the drum crashes and many of the melodies recall English ’60s garage bands and the excellent surf bands of the ’50s. And at the same time, but to a lesser extent, they draw wonderful keys from the psychedelica of the ’70s. Think raucously dancing around a fire at a beach party in California in the middle of the night while Link Wray and The Centurians have a fight with The Ramones as The Yardbirds play referee.

She Only Listens To The Radio calls you to dance the Turkey Stretch and throw yourself into your nearest neighbour, while Johnny Victory (my personal favourite about a ’40s Music Hall comedian) makes you want to go find yourself a board and learn to surf. Both tracks are on their debut single. The other songs I hadn’t heard before but all had the same impact on a salivating audience. And even though the PA wasn’t completely up to scratch and the lead singer’s vocals weren’t totally clear it seemed to make no difference – everybody loved them without question.

It’s hard to find fault with a band whose sheer exuberance is so refreshing. So many bands try to emulate Iggy Pop or Mick Jagger on stage that sometimes they forget they’re playing for anybody but themselves.

Not so The Needles. They’re playing for you, and don’t you forget it.

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The Needles @ Notting Hill Arts Club, London