The Anvil, Bournemouth

Barb Wire Dolls

On a school night with some music legends playing a show a couple of miles down the road, it was always going be a tough ask for a touring live Punk act to pull the numbers. Anglo-American Punks Barb Wire Dolls are in town and the early omens are good.

The venue is at least half full with a 3 strong supporting cast. First up are Kickin’ Bambi, a Punk band with a slight political edge. Despite playing the “graveyard shift” they seem comfortable playing to the early punters who have made the effort. They open with “War”, followed by “Bigot” and “Insane”. There’s something of the minimal I like about this band. One word song titles and a short, sharp delivery coupled to an almost ranting vocal. Big E (vox) doesn’t waste too much energy on banter tonight, just aiming the odd aside at his trusty guitarist now and again. “Apocalypse” has a slight Ska beat and changes up the sound somewhat before set highlight “Whiskey” which doesn’t disappoint. Once again though “Maggie” does nothing for me – in fact the whole argument tonight centre’s more on the current Tory leader and all that goes with that. Anyway, they confidently end on a high with “This Is” and leave to good applause.

Next up are Rock quintet, the interestingly monikered Kung Fu Chicken Fighters. Their brand of deafening heavy Rock is totally lost on me and my curiosity would be why they are on this bill? Nothing personal; they can seriously play and vocalist Robbie really digs deep from his lung capacity, coupled with their huge riffs. That said they have pulled a large portion of this audience and the room seems somewhat fuller. I do my own “3 song rule” and retreat to the bar!

Kung Fu Chicken Fighters
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Next up are Poole’s finest Punk export The Mistakes. Keeping with their commitment to the live scene they continue to take every gig offered to them. Tonight they have slimmed down to a quartet due to James (lead guitar) suffering a recent biking accident. However, Shane (guitar) uses this opportunity well to show off a little more with noodling aplenty. After opening with their intro tune it’s straight into “Set in Stone”. Ross (vox) is in fine voice and they sound just as coherent as ever as a 4-piece. “Together” gets a few moving down the front while “Nation” up the ante. Ross sings it with real snarl before the politically aware “Destined for the Dole” shows their true colours. Tonight Ross is promoting fellow Dorset Punks “Kill the Colossi”; adorning one of their T-shirts, before inviting their drummer Adam on additional vocals for their penultimate song “Never Be Quiet”. They end with “Self Control” and take the plaudits. A Mistakes show is never just routine, these guys are on an upward trajectory and it won’t be long before they are headlining their own shows.

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And so to the headliners. Remington (rhythm) and Krash (drums) keep the beat to opener Heart Attack before Isis Queen (vox) takes her place at the front and starts to feel her way in. It’s big, bold and brash and there’s no half measures here, these guys (and gals) are out to have fun while giving it large. “Blind To You…” follows and there’s no let-up. Iriel (bass) wears it low slung and shapeshifts in equal measure. Yet Isis is the star of the show. “Call Me” sees her sing with real energy and emotion, acting out every part of the song. She has confidence, swagger and above all a great voice. One could make any number of comparisons, I will make 3; The harmonies of early Hazel O’Connor, the angst of Courtney Love and the sleazyness of one Wendy Williams. Mixed together though and it’s a thing of beauty. On “Take Me Home” she encourages crowd interaction, one young man takes the call and proceeds to pogo the entire night.

Barb Wire Dolls
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“Surreal” has more than a passing nod to Nirvana’s “In Bloom”, but they make it their own with a strong, coherent vocal. “I Will Sail” brings the tempo down somewhat, showing another side to their sound before speeding up. A mixture of new and old material completes the set which is largely culled from their 2016 LP “Desperate”. As the band grow in confidence they just get harder and faster towards the finish. “Darby Crash” is an angsty, bass-heavy Punk/Grunge stomper and for me their set highlight. Penultimate track “Revolution” precedes the almost celebratory “We Are Champions”. It’s another big singalong and Isis is at pains to encourage the singalongs. Just when we think the bridge is bringing the song to a close they fire it up again for another big chorus. And seemingly that is that. Almost en masse half the crowd head for the exit. Remington casts a quizzical eye to the soundman and says “can we do another?”. Those of us left in the room get a rip-roaring “World on Fire” which doesn’t disappoint. It’s loud, anthemic and the perfect ending. And with that, this time they leave the stage.

Another big shout out to local promoter Choff, who took a big risk the same night The Mission were in town. A two-thirds full Anvil would suggest it was the right choice as everyone seems to leave happy. Another great show in Bournemouth’s ever improving Punk scene-long may that continue.

Set Lists
Kickin’ Bambi
This Is

The Mistakes
Set In Stone
Bi Polar (Bear)
Never Be Quiet

Barb Wire Dolls
Heart Attack
Blind to Your Misery
Call Me
If I Fall
Take Me Home
Walking Dead
I Will Sail
Where Mountains Drink the Wine
Back in the USSA
Darby Crash
We Are Champions
World on Fire



Words & Videos by Ross A. Ferrone.
Pictures by Dan O’Gara.