LIVE: Tokyo Taboo @ Jumpin’ Jacks, Newcastle, 09.02.18

The Toon was alive with the sound of Pussy Power last Friday night as cyberpunk-fuckery-on acid-with-a-load-of-glitter, Tokyo Taboo, took the stage at Newcastle’s Jumpin’ Jacks.

Sandwiched between a multitude of talented guys, the resounding message of the evening was brought up on stage by singer, Dolly Daggerz, early on in the set: “Are there any girls here?” She cried out as an opening to ‘Pussy Power’ — one of many tracks with a to-die-for riff – “There’s like four of us!” There weren’t many. But those who were there, well, we made it known.

Jumpin’ Jacks is a venue based upstairs from one of Newcastle’s best pubs, indie-rock haven the Dog & Parrot. It was my first time there, but as I rebelliously strolled towards the Centre for Life, cigarette in hand, seeing David Bowie and Prince staring at me from across the street was a sign from the universe. It was gonna be a good night.

Age-wise, the crowd was mixed. Flower crowns I hadn’t seen since the Evolution fest a few years ago have made a return and it touched my heart to see. Everything comes in circles, and thankfully, the return of bum bags didn’t last all that long.

Tokyo Taboo are Dolly Daggerz — Bowie and Wendy O. Williams blended with a clitterball — and guitarist, Mike. Dolly’s vocals hit the crowd from the back as Mike, dressed head-to-toe in the kind of astronaut garb the obnoxious Tim Peake could only wish to own, kicked off the set with a riff reminiscent of a young Jack White (if Jack White had dived head-first into a Manga and come out of the other side with a Telecaster and a reason for it to scream).

I’ve missed punk rock, and Tokyo Taboo have it in spades. Dolly Daggerz owns the stage more than anyone that night. She also owns the floor. And Mike’s guitar. At one point, she takes her place in the crowd, instructing everybody to sit and hold hands with each other as they play one of the more low-key tracks. Low-key, that is, as Tokyo Taboo get.

Inside, I feel the swell of joy in the four-other-girls’ hearts, remembering how fucking badass it is to be a girl, even in the days when the world seems against us… All right, it’s always seemed against us. You get it.

From the first second, the energy Dolly and the band bring to the stage is palpable. Though, regrettably, holding a camera prevents one of the most revered parts of a punk rock show: moshing. As I sit in the pit at one point, I dream of being kicked in the face with vintage silver knee-high platform boots (like the ones I covet in a shop on Portobello Road) and covered in water or vodka or the power of women.

Dolly Daggerz has show(wo)manship. She owns the stage, her songs, and the women that approach her after the show, tearfully, to tell her how much she rocked. She did. They did. Even the session bassist has a gold fucking blazer I’d chop off a leg for and, at times, I found myself moshing of my own accord, on the floor, beside the amp on the side I’ve already blown the hearing out of.

She brings a sense of pride, of femininity, of non-conformity; the energy of a big cat stalking its prey except the prey was already hypnotised by her ultra-violent eye makeup and notes half of us couldn’t reach if we stubbed our toes. It could have been easy to slay, but she gave her entire self anyway. That, if you ask me, is a fucking artist.

One last thing: Being the only person offstage to hear ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’ was trippy. But then maybe that was the cider, too. Or was it just Tokyo Taboo?

Do yourselves a favour and check out Tokyo Taboo as soon as you can, and in the meantime, give their latest record 6th Street Psychosis a listen.

Em Burfitt
@fenderqueer

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