The Datsuns – 14/09/13 – ReFuel, Dunedin

Yay! It’s Datsun time again!

The visits are less frequent these days, but they come nonetheless. The albums aren’t quite so good as they used to be, but they’re still worth a listen and guaranteed to contain at least a couple of stormers. Latest offering no exception. I mean, if they’re going to call it Death Rattle Boogie, you’re not going to expect them to have gone all left field and experimental, are you.

The Datsuns
ReFuel loves The Datsuns

I don’t especially like ReFuel, it’s acoustically quite pants and usually way too loud, but such has The Datsuns’ stock fallen over the years that it’s about the right size these days. It reminds me of The Garage in Highbury Corner though, so it’s not all bad. But without Stella on tap, and no kebab shop over the road.

There was a support act, the last ten minutes of whose set I caught as I wandered in, but I have no idea who they were. Floppy fringed Tom Morello wannabe on guitar, and wailing Josh Homme-alike on singing duty is all I can really remember. Sounded a bit like Tool meets QotSA – quite avant-garde really, but without the requisite skill level to carry it off. A little ambitious maybe, but at least a few out of ten for effort.

Probably the biggest crowd I’ve seen in Refuel for a good few gigs, upwards of 100 people I’d say. Woo, Dunedin, you’ve really pulled out the stops again, innit. On come Cambridge’s finest, and collectively they’re looking a little older and a little paunchier than they once did, it has to be said. Fair do’s though, it’s over 11 years since I first saw them at the Astoria, and I can’t pretend that I haven’t got a little more er, thickset in the intervening years. Dolf is now sporting a Dirty Sanchez ‘tache that makes him look like a pimp from the 1970s, and it’s not even Movember. Perhaps it’s because he lives in Sweden these days.

aka Dirty Sanchez
Dolf Datsun

They open with something newish, following it up with something newish and then something oldish. Let’s not get bogged down with details, I can’t give you names. The Datsuns are one of my favourite bands ever, I’ve got all their LPs, I’ve seen them at least half a dozen times but I can only name a couple of tracks.

Dang, they still sound good though. Really fucking good. The sound is just brilliant, mixed to perfection. Don’t think I’ve ever said that about ReFuel. And these boys can play – it’s simple, unadorned RAWK, and nobody does it better than The Datsuns. Most of the albums after the eponymous début just sort of blur into one, I can’t really place more than a couple on each, but when Dolph puts down his bass and struts Jagger-like up to the mike stand, you know what’s coming next. Harmonic Generator, which I always think is my favourite track, and the one I’m hanging out for. It’s always good. Then they belt out an utterly blinding rendition of Motherfucker From Hell and I remember that actually that song is my favourite. The crowd is totally up for it – the mosh pit is at least a third of the crowd and the sweat is dripping off the ceiling like someone in the room upstairs has let the bath overflow. There’s even a few attempts at crowd-surfing, surely not the easiest of activities in a room with no stage to launch off, and only a couple of feet gap between the audience and the ceiling.

They flit about from recent album to recent album, barely touching Smoke & Mirrors or Outta Sight… and all of a sudden we’re at the end. Ninety minutes of hard-edged bliss and they’re back in the dressing room. The ReFuel crowd is in good voice though, and has them back out on stage in no time – luckily for us, this is the last night of the tour, and them Datsuns are keen to sign it off with a bang. They play another 3 or 4, including Blacken My Thumb off Outta Sight… and it’s clear from the odd fuck up that there isn’t even a set list – now, they’re just pulling oldies from the vault, oldies that they don’t play very often. Dolf doesn’t remember all the words, and they have to have a couple of goes at ending it, but who cares? They still manage to make it sound fantastic, and as always, they put in the performance of consummate professionals.

nb Images brought to you by the Nokia Lumia 720, possibly the worst smartphone camera on the market. Soz.

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