Hoping to hear The Von Bondies' intriguing new stuff? Hard lines: here's some they recorded earlier
“Anger”, sang squiff-faced punk icon John Lydon back in the ’80s, “is an energy”. Detroit garage quartet [a]Von Bondies[/a] have a different creative motor spurring them on. However, [a]Von Bondies[/a], you see, are a band powered almost entirely by a forward-thinking combination of thrift-store riffs and spite. Or so you’d think if you surreptitiously downloaded a copy of their excellent new major label debut ‘Pawn Shoppe Heart'(out early next year) off the Internet: apparently they’ve got everyone in Detroit’s backs up with their super-bitchy new set of songs, each one a shot of vitriol directed at a specific member of their home city’s garage-blues axis. They’ve even fallen out with their former mentor [a]White Stripes[/a], who used to date VB’s guitarist Marcie Bolen and allegedly wrote ‘Elephant’ about her.
All of which is possibly only of interest if you have a thorough knowledge of the geography of the 8 Mile and take a keen interest in Billy Childish B-sides. But, on the first of two celeb-heavy ([a]Jet[/a], [a]The Kills[/a], [a]Graham Coxon[/a] and various assorted London garage scenester types are all in attendance) sold-out nights at the 100 Club, a little bit of backstory is a good thing. This is, after all, one of the gigs of the year and expectation for the ‘Pawn Shoppe Heart’ stuff is high. Which makes it all the more frustrating when the band play a set that’s so heavy on material from 2001’s ‘Lack Of Communication’. While songs like former single ‘It Came From Japan’ are serviceable garage belters, tonight is a bit like having an itch you can’t scratch: we know that the band have written a set of genuinely chart-worthy sassy garage-glam-pop, but instead we get anaemic covers of Bo Diddley’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nurse’ and some wonky guitar solos. Which is a shame. The good news, however, is that they’ll be back to tour properly in the New Year. Hopefully they’ll remember to bring a little of their energy.