Since Baddies debut album Do The Job landed in my hands, it’s been on constant spin. With the catchy, anthemic choruses bolstered by fast and furious post-punk attitude, the debut affirmed why Baddies are increasingly one of the most talked about bands of the moment. Despite coming up with the goods on record, the live stage can make or break a band. So do the Baddies land on their feet with their live show? The answer is thankfully yes.
Despite the critical acclaim Baddies have received of late, for some reason there was tumbleweed floating through the Academy. Whether this was down to the gig clashing with Dublin’s usual Thursday night social scene, the Pixies gig taking place in the nearby Olympia or sparse publicity around the show, who knows. It was up to Belfast rockers Panama Kings to face the unenviable task of warming up the crowd and although I wasn’t pushed on them on record, I was more than pleasantly surprised at how much better they are live. There was no sign of the band being worse for wear after the trek from Belfast for the show as they kicked off a set loaded with heavy drum beats and boasting a seamless marriage of guitars and synths. The only real lull in the foursome’s set was the disappointing ‘world exclusive’ track -You’re On My Side’ which bordered on rock-lite territory and failed to hit the funky force of the Kings previous efforts. Kudos for sheer enthusiasm nonetheless.
For their first gig in Ireland the slickly uniformed Baddies took to the stage in Dublin’s Academy 2 and instantly launched into an aural attack with material from the acclaimed debut. While Do The Job can sound derivative at times, the energy of the band onstage pumps their material full of the necessary juice to make it much more than the usual alt-rock lark, the simply thumping live versions of -At The Party’ and -Open One Eye’ are prime examples. Meanwhile, the single -Battleships’ sounds amplified and doubly infectious in the flesh. Baddies are still relatively young contenders in the music scene and yet their tightknit, super-efficient onstage presence on tracks like the kooky bass-laden -Who Are You?’ belies this fact.
Despite the meagre crowd size, the Southend natives admirably attempt to strike up a connection with the audience and reveal themselves to be a more amiable bunch than the rather glum looking promo shots of the band would suggest. Frontman Webster at one point quips ‘We’re the Pixies. I’m Frank – I’ve lost a few pounds’ and declares love for Fight Like Apes. The night is wrapped up with the post-punk number -Holler for my Holiday’ and as Webster takes his microphone into the audience to end things in rock style, the realisation dawns that, despite the sweat-inducing effort of all involved, sadly this gig is unlikely to raise the profile of either band on these shores. There is a sense of lost opportunity because there were so few present to witness both acts give it their all – which is a pity because it really was excellent stuff.