New York Dolls/The Loyalties Live @ Thekla, Bristol (UK) - 2nd July 2008


June 2008 was certainly a staggering month for my live music calendar. Firstly I just managed to survive the physical onslaught of "The Sex Pistols" combustible return to the UK live arena in Birmingham, then them dastardly "Quireboys" managed to rescue my failed "Download 2008" weekend by playing a superb "Cardiff Barfly" show whilst getting me shit faced and £50 lighter on their merchandise stand.
So finally, the last place on earth you would ever expect to find the most influential band still alive in the world today namely "The New York Dolls" was on a converted tugboat, in the birthplace of "Trip Hop" on a sultry June evening. But here they very much were, as part of a short 3 date mini tour warming things up nicely for the O2 Festival show with Morrissey later that week.

Landing the support on these shows, were my current fave raves and perfect foils to "Da Noo Yawk Dawls", namely London based punkers "The Loyalties". And didn't they just look ecstatic to be there.
Beaming from ear to ear the fearsome foursome played the best (if not all) of their awesome "So Much For Soho" debut album to a mildly interested crowd. Releasing the sublime melodies of "Sofa Surfing UK" "30nage" on such unsuspecting audiences really should come with a government health warning, "Listening to The Loyalties will make you enjoy yourself". Oh and if any new UK band can come up with a better set opener than "Jimmy Does" I'll eat "Tom Spencer's" trilby.
Not so much stepping out of the shadows, as the bulkhead, the striking silhouette of "Sylvain Sylvain" arm raised high, as if to channel the very gods of glam punk to cut out a so fine intros of "Babylon" and "Puss In Boots" for possibly the coolest musical soundtrack to an evening you will hear this summer.
It's really hard to believe that it's been four years since I last witnessed the band live and even harder to believe that the band managed to create an all-new studio album in-between, the hugely underrated "One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This".
But this was not the "New York Dolls" you think of pictured on the steps of Mercer Arts Centre, all lipstick and cum breathe. No, in 2008 this is a much smarter and wiser band. Still out front, the ringmaster supreme "David Johanson" strutting, and pouting like a 16 year old, albeit one with a 58 year old mans face. Whilst still ably digging out the riffs supreme is the uber-camp "Syl". But credit where credit is due to "Sam Yaffa, Steve Conti and Brian Delaney" for not wanting to replace the irreplaceable and seamlessly adding such tunes as "We're All in Love" and "Gotta Get Away From Tommy" to a set list most bands would die for.

OK, so I didn't get "Frankenstein" but I did get "Jet Boy", "Private World", "Human Being", "Trash" and the obligatory "Personality Crisis" and the list was seemingly never ending. But end it had to, with the aforementioned "Tommy", which in itself seemed a fitting nod to the possible future of the band.

Musical calendar months like this don't come along as good as this too often and on this showing long may the "New York Dolls" live.

………… Oh and get the "Live at The Fillmore" CD… it's a belter.

by Johnny H.

Visit the New York Dolls Website

Visit the Loyalties Website