Distillers : Manchester Academy: Wednesday November 12

Californian punk heroes continue to impress with The Brody Dalle show

You know what sucks? Ligging, groupie boyfriends always trying to get a leg

up on the back of their girlfriend’s fame. Take that [a]Queens Of The Stone Age[/a] – would anyone really still be talking about his band in 2003 if it wasn’t for the women in his life? That [a]Queens Of The Stone Age[/a] album wouldn’t have been much cop if it wasn’t for [a]PJ Harvey[/a] helping an ex-snog out of a difficult situation, not to mention the fact he’s only managed to stay a valid name in the world’s gossip pages through his affair with [a]Distillers[/a]. What’s that you say? We’re being offensive, bigoted, sexist and demeaning? No fucking shit! You’ll also note we’re being highly incorrect, but that hasn’t stopped everyone unquestioningly dishing out the same criticisms to Brody for the crime of, ooh, being a woman and having a rather cute and talented boyfriend! And now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll leave that dirty ‘relationship’ word behind, because [a]Distillers[/a], through all her own merits, rocks to high hell.

And no amount of getting intimate with some famous bloke in a band is going to take that away from her.

Take that voice. Knocking you out like a blunted bullet, it comes out of

nowhere, ripping us to shreds as [a]Distillers[/a] launch into the first song of the night, ‘Coral Fang’. It’s the title track of the new album, an album from which all the most well-formed of tonight’s songs sit effortlessly next to the exhilaratingly amateurish three-chord speedpunk of old. ‘The Gallow Is God’and ‘Die On The Rope’ are by far tonight’s highlights – the former revealing a rare change in pace with its stop-start drums, tender decline and deliciously sneering refrain of “oh, what a surprise”. Only breakthrough single, ‘City Of Angels’ and ‘Sing Sing Death House’ – in which singing guitarist, Tony Bevilacqua, successfully struggles to perfect the Brody gut-scream, compete with the newfound

subtleties of [a]Distillers[/a]’ most recent songs. But even with Tony’s help, this is still most definitely the [a]Distillers[/a] show. Every time she steps away from the microphone to catch a word with the others or retune her guitar, a cry goes up of “Bro-dy, Bro-dy, Bro-dy…” Its not that she’s embarrassed, but she knows it ain’t cool; “OK, I’m right here”, she coos like a tired mother to a screaming child. “You should really be screaming ‘Andy’, ‘cos he’s the most sexual one out of all of us!” she finishes, passing the attention to her drummer. But as the final guitar-annihilating bars of encore ‘Deathstar’ ring out, one things for sure: Andy, Tony, and bassist Ryan – like all the other men in her life – have one thing in common. None of them have had their careers hindered in any way by the collected cool, calm and charm of the radiating star that is [a]Distillers[/a].

Krissi Murison