Finding Tomorrow’s Female Headliners – Birthdays Dalston 09/09/15

5 stars (out of 5)

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Georgia and Amy TitleIt’s been a couple of years since we last visited Birthdays in Dalston, so it was good to get an invite for the monthly Amazing Radio/Robomagic F.T.F.H. (Finding the Female Headliners) night. It’s a simple concept; all of the bands playing are either female-fronted or completely female, and if this is a typical line-up, then it’s worth making the effort to get the Overground out to Dalston Kingsland once a month. If you don’t live in London, don’t worry; I suspect this particular franchise might be making its way around the country soon. This month’s bill featured bands from Leeds, Stockholm and London, so it’s not just a parochial London thing.

Opening the bill, Actor (from Leeds) featured the stunning voice of Louisa Osborn against a backdrop of shimmering guitars and big drums. The songs are strong and the smallish audience warmed immediately to Louisa’s warm stage presence, but her incredibly powerful voice is the focal point of the set. A great start to the night and the bar was already pretty high for the remaining bands.

Dolores Haze (from Stockholm) brought along their own very vocal and very lively fans (probably not from Stockholm) and added another dimension to the evening with a slightly shambolic, spiky set of songs that alternated between thrash, angular and atonal guitar parts and faux-naif B52s style pop. If you threw The Cardigans, Television and Fuzzbox into a blender, then it might sound something like Dolores Haze. Music or performance art; you decide. Their fans certainly loved it and you definitely couldn’t ignore it.

So, on to the headliners, Nova Twins. Amy Love (guitar/vocal) and Georgia South (bass/backing vocals) have just released their first single, “Bassline Bitch” on Rob Hallett’s Robomagic label (reviewed by MusicRiot a couple of weeks ago) and we couldn’t wait for the chance to see them live; it’s fair to say they didn’t disappoint.

In a live setting, Amy and Georgia are the real deal. This isn’t some manufactured image backed up by session musicians; they can both play live and with the addition of drums, they have a huge sound. Georgia’s raw, visceral and melodic basslines are a thumping backdrop for Amy’s guitar, vocals and raps. It’s a fusion of metal, hip-hop and melody that’s almost impossible to resist and it’s delivered with style and assurance. They’ve got the material as well; the set included “Dirty Stop Out”, “Kiss”, Play Fair” and “Hit List” as well as the obligatory “Bassline Bitch” and they all sounded the business. Even the inevitable technical difficulties didn’t faze them; a failed bass lead was just a chance to have a bit of chat with the audience before blasting back into the set again. I think we might be hearing a lot more of Nova Twins.

So it’s a big thumbs up to Amazing Radio and Robomagic for the concept and an even bigger thumbs up to the bands for three great sets.