Kiwi rock marauders venture into goth territory and return clutching spoils

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The Datsuns: Camden Underworld, London, Friday, April 28

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The Datsuns: Camden Underworld, London, Friday, April 28

You have to feel just a little bit sorry for The Datsuns. There they were, on the verge of making New Zealand look interesting on a global level, and along come The Darkness to do a massive cack on the doorstep of everything they held dear, speeding up the Retro Rock Revival’s deathrattle and sparking off a chain of events that would start a new era of Day-Glo amazingness. Not so amazing if you’re The Datsuns, always a great live band forever damned with the faint praise of being tagged “a great live band” – rock’s equivalent of having “a great personality”.


But this is unfair, because The Datsuns’ retro racket is sexy in the extreme, and all the more potent for seeing Dolf, Christian and the boys back in the dankly, smokily ‘authentic’ venues and back to having fun after the disastrously stodgy ‘Outta Sight/Outta Mind’ EP. The reason they’re doing this is to plug back-to-basics new EP ‘Stuck Here For Days’ – ten throbbing inches of not-so-stodgy-at-all psych-rock. They may not have gone as far into heroic planes of the unfathomable as fellow Pacific-rocksters Wolfmother, but progress suits The Datsuns, especially as the boozed-up hordes that make up their fanbase are so convinced it’s still 1972 that pushing the envelope a few years hence sounds like the dazzling shock of the new. And anyway, time has also been kind to ‘In Love’ and ‘Harmonic Generator’, not least because it was the first song that Arctic Monkeys ever learnt to play.


The Datsuns wouldn’t have suited total domination – an enormodome wouldn’t allow the sweaty thrills primal screaming like this brings out. As it is, they’re the most fun you can have when expecting not to really. And an amazing live band.


Dan Martin