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Time to Kiss Off


It's a largely Generation X crowd at the Tivoli tonight; although Generation Y are surprisingly well represented, along with a handful of greying Baby Boomers trying to keep the dream alive. Whatever the demographic – stonewash or black hipsters - everyone's here for one thing: to see 80's (and early 90's) alternate-rock heroes Violent Femmes. The Femmes are out here for the Big Day Out, and are doing a spate of extra shows across the country at the same time.

  

First up though are locals The Granite Lakes. Starting awkwardly, the crowd slowly warms to their sloppy Velvet Underground styled set, although they never do really settle in comfortably on stage.

  

Appearing to rapturous applause, the Femmes launch head-on into their impressive list of pseudo-hits, with 'Blister in the Sun' making a relatively early appearance. The band mix up the set with performances backed by their usual rag-tag antics and semi-permanent brass section the Horns of Dilemma.

  

Of course the band plays well, very well in fact. It's just that, while the music of the Violent Femmes may have been edgy and relevant in their heyday, there's something about the adolescent themes of the early hits that come across quite dated. Especially as they're now sung by a bunch of guys dressed and styled like they're out for a night at Broncos Leagues Club. 'Why can't you get just one fuck?' Because you look like you stepped out of 1995, fix that and you'll a least have half a chance!

  

Undoubtedly for this reviewer, the highlight of the set was 'Gone Daddy Gone'; as recently covered by studio supergroup Gnarls Barkley. Their live rendition demonstrating just what a fine piece of pop writing Danger Mouse and Cee-Low had to work with.

  

The Femmes finish with solid renditions of 'Add it Up' and 'Kiss Off' for the encore, briefly capturing the vibe that must have once electrified earlier performances. Then, waving, they exit stage left.

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