by / March 28th, 2009 /

Sweet Jane / Talulah Does The Hula – Crawdaddy, Dublin

Take girl-punks the Donnas, add a spattering of Irish charm and a Sex and the City wardrobe and you have a good idea of what to expect from Talulah Does the Hula. On stage the four Dublin girls are all carefully placed flowers, look-at-me attitude and model poses, but musically Talulah Does the Hula never really get going. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with their gentle pop-rock, a slightly dodgy sound set up and the minor vocal clashes that come from four girls singing simultaneously takes the gloss off their performance.

To be fair, Talulah Does the Hula are trying something a little different. They share instruments like they’re experimenting in a music store, and only the solitary lad on drums doesn’t take his turn centre stage. Each member brings something slightly different, with Caoimhe’s voice the musical stand out. The faster tracks give the busy Crawdaddy crowd something to move to and, although Talulah Does the Hula are arguably a victory for style over substance, they’re not an entirely unenjoyable one.

Sweet Jane are also female fronted and play rock, but that’s where the similarities end. Dressed entirely in black and displaying an on stage energy that’s very much all about the music, the well-rounded four piece deliver a highly polished selection of straight up rock – exactly the kind of music you’d expect from a band named after a Velvet Underground track. Singer Lydia is a charismatic front woman, swaying around the stage or gently caressing her mike stand for the duration, leaving her sharp-sounding band to fade into the background and concentrate on producing a clear and clinical musical backdrop.

The band have the misfortune to be competing with Hed Kandi’s DJ set a couple of rooms away, and play to a noticeably diminished crowd, but those who remain prop their lager-filled bodies and lap up the rhythmic energy on offer. There’s something a little sleazy about the show, which consistently hints at 80s rock influences. Their tracks succeed both in being unique and giving a strong sense of nostalgia, and would fit in comfortably alongside bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Raveonettes. They might not be as up-to-the-minute fashionable as Talulah Does the Hula, but the night definitely belonged to Sweet Jane.

Photos: Helena Clarke