The Soap Girls - Hard Rock Cafe - 22 June - George Houstoun

Mention the Soap Girls and you’re either met with a blank stare or a comment about their (lack of) clothes. So let’s get the clothes out of the way (groan!). The Soap Girls look fantastic! Theirs is exoticism not eroticism. Two sisters dressed outrageously but curiously asexually. It’s striking, it’s fabulous and it works. They’re not being manipulated or exploited, you’re not being manipulated or exploited (well maybe a wee bit!) and behind it all is the music. Actually behind it all is The Drummer whose bloke-next-door ordinariness only serves to highlight the other-worldliness of the front two.

Sneaky drummer shot...

Sneaky drummer shot...

They kicked off with the title track from their new album Society’s Rejects in their guise as alter-egos Granny’s Terror replete with grotesque aged face masks and old woman overdresses. Like most of their songs, it’s punchy, catchy and memorable. These guys are good and they know they’re good. No false modesty but no arrogance either. Self-belief shines through. The old dresses come off Buck’s Fizz style (showing my age here) and they’re into Johnny Rotten also from the album. The set is a mix of songs from Society’Rejects and its predecessor Calls For Rebellion. Spiky, memorable tunes. What’s not to like?

Mille plays bass and handles most of the vocals, Mie plays guitar and sings and The Drummer drums. They’re a tight outfit. If you like harmony laden, bass driven punky, grunge with plenty of vocal interplay this lot will float your boat. Mille’s voice shifts from spoken word tolight, airy pop phrasing to blues growling to blood-curdling metal screaming andall in two lines of just one song!

Unfortunately a guitar mishap resulted in an interlude with blokes on stage having leg and chestwaxes (I kid you not! That’s your next challenge McDermid!). It was slightly surreal but it had a bit of end-of-pier about it. As the props were a bit too handyit may bepart of the show. It probably shouldn’t be! It breaks up the pace and not in a good way. For the last couple of songs Mie’s guitar had given up the ghost so we got drum’n’bass versions with a guitarless Mie helping with the singing. Even that worked !

The Soap Girls are fun. Go see them. Go buy the albums. Go wear the T-shirts. Go wear bigger versions than they do!

Finally a little anecdote. Three weeks ago I had never heard of the Soap Girls. I was at Camden Rocks, an all-dayer with 250 bands spread across 25 venues. You buy a single ticket and wander into whatever shows take your fancy (space permitting) and bands play a 30 minute set. I wanted to see two specific bands at the Black Heart so went very early to make sure I got in. That’s when I saw the Soap Girls play at 5pm to about 300 people in a venue with a capacity half that. It was like a sauna. The Soap Girls choice of clothes that day couldn’t have been more appropriate! But what particularly struck me and stuck in my mind was that the Soap Girls were in the audience for the band before them and they were also in the audience for the band after them. That impressed me. Most bands at these things arrive, plug in, play and fuck off out of the venue before the next band have even set up. Learn to love the Soap Girls. Dance to the Soap Girls.