“You are not your job! Work is not your life!” belts lead vocalist Janey from feminist punk band Dream Nails – a validating statement that has their sold out crowd at Old Blue Last shouting back in agreement. Celebrating the release of their new single ‘Corporate Realness’ (from which the lyrics are taken); Janey, guitarist Anya, drummer Lucy, and bassist Mimi lit up the stage with their defiant anthems.
Get In Her Ears have been to many a Dream Nails gig, and we keep returning to see them for the same reasons: empowerment, solidarity, and comfort. Their songs about avoiding creepy grief thieves (‘Tourist’) and getting ghosted (‘Chirpse Degree Burns’) use humour to deflect from the stresses of navigating everyday life, but their ability to switch between the silly and the serious is what makes their live performances so vital.
Delivering their familiar and necessary chant of “women and non-binary people to the front, men to the back” three songs in, the band present an unshakable confidence as they blitz through their 40 minute set. Janey’s voice soars over the perfectly curated noise that Anya, Lucy & Mimi create, and is equally as commanding when she speaks about worthy causes and shameful statistics between songs.
Championing the cause of Solidarity Not Silence, Janey shouts out to the first support act of the night, Nadia Javed of The Tuts. She encourages the crowd to believe and support women who speak out against their abusers, and to follow the campaign that Nadia and other female musicians are a part of.
The band’s collective rage boils over during ‘Joke Choke’, a song that takes down people who think rape jokes are funny in a country where two women a week are killed by a current or former partner. It’s two minutes of frenzied guitar and crashing percussion, and a cathartic burst of righteous energy.
Much like second support act The Baby Seals – whose frontwoman Kerry described her sweat level as “bio-hazard” – Dream Nails know how to get their crowd working out. During their song ‘Jillian’, which is dedicated to cult fitness coach Jillian Michaels, the band ask everyone to squat down for a few moments, before leaping back up to join them in their poppy ode to the health guru.
It wouldn’t be a proper Dream Nails gig without renditions of iconic singles ‘DIY’ and ‘Deep Heat’. The first arrives mid-way through the set, with the crowd screaming back “Do It Yourself!” at all the right intervals. The latter closes the band’s set in furious style, proving that the band’s hex on Donald Trump and his British counterpart Boris Johnson is still as potent as ever.
With their militant mindset and knockout delivery, Dream Nails set at Old Blue Last was a reminder to all to keep fighting in the face of adversity, and to have a fucking good laugh whilst you’re doing it.
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Photo Credit: Chloe Hashemi & Emily Barker