Dick Venom & The Terrortones - Nottingham, Tantra - 10th February 2012 Print E-mail
Written by Steve Beebee   
Friday, 24 February 2012 05:00

 

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Walking into Tantra tonight is a little like stumbling into a David Lynch movie, or Philip 'The Singing Detective' Marlowe's vision of a sexualised 1950s. On its website the venue feels the need to prominently state that Nottingham has "the prettiest girls in the UK", and its odd visual melting of a strange synth pop support act with what appear to be lap dancing poles and what are - without any shadow of doubt - beds, adds to the sense of the unreal. But being in here is no bad thing - for a start, its -5 outside.

 

Tonight's cocktail supping collective are here in healthy numbers and mostly dressed to impress. Eyes only swerve from the clientele to admire the bevy of burlesque dancers that strut and slink to fill the gaps between bands. It's a sight more captivating than watching roadies shout random numbers and flash torches at each other, but it's a sideshow to the main event. Every soul here has paid to witness the live launch of Dick Venom & The Terrortones' double A-side single and video for 'StickyPants Trance'. The latter, a quite brilliant comedy horror pastiche, is shown on big screens prior to the band's entrance.

 

This fiery but accessible psychobilly punk band are a dish best served live. Venom himself, barking maniacally into a Fifties-style rock 'n' roll microphone, does not believe in staying on stage, which is fortunate given that it's barely larger than a coffee table. As the double header of signature tune 'Rockin' Rollin' Vampire Man' and 'StickyPants Trance' kicks things off, the dick240stupendously-quiffed frontman launches himself into the crowded audience, into people's arms, then crawls on the floor still clutching the mic before reappearing on the bar. Writhing, sweat-streaked and with sockets straining to contain his eyeballs, he is a man engulfed in these hedonistic, three-minute hotrod anthems. You can almost smell the gasoline.

 

Dick's parents are apparently seeing their offspring in action for the first time, and to mark the occasion he's opted to wear black pants, stockings and suspenders, and - once his jacket's come off - nothing else. 'Attack Of The 50ft Frankenbride' sums up this camp, scarily silly assault, an orgiastic glut of riffs driven with sleazy intent by guitarist Vicky Twist and a propulsive rhythm section. Think of old school rock 'n' roll played by the inmates of an asylum after a Gok Wan makeover, and you'll get the gist.

 

'Cadillac Twist' is the type of tune that might have featured in 'Grease' had John Travolta's character been played by Sid Vicious, and the T-Birds been exchanged for The Misfits. 'Lilly & The Killers' is more noir-ish, character-led foreplay before 'Get Fucked Up Good' rams their Eddie Cochran meets Rob Zombie point home. And that point is that new music doesn't have to be about identikit hairstyles and stylised, tuneless, trend-pleasing angst - it can be about such old-fashioned concepts as actually entertaining the feckin' audience in front of you.

 

When Dick Venom & The Terrortones bow out with a raucous take on Electric Six's camp crowd pleaser 'Gay Bar', there isn't a soul inside Tantra, be they punk, rockabilly, burlesque dancer or surprised parent, that doesn't have a smile on their face. Worth a trip to Nottingham. Worth a trip down a lost highway.

 

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Check out Dick Venom & The Terrortones' video for 'StickyPants Trance' here: http://bit.ly/wShdPk

 

[Photo kudos to Ed Jasion]

 

Get your copy of 'Rockinrollin' Vampireman/StickyPants Trance' by clicking here