DREAM NAILS live at The Victoria, Hackney, London, July 20th 2017 – “You’ve got to come see Dream Nails” she said, it was more of a demand than an option, she was right of course, what a gig! More than a gig really, an energy, an event, a brilliantly joyous event. “Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front….” she forcibly shouts. There’s massive smiles everywhere, people are dancing like mad, the room is alive with attitude and energy, the positive spirit of DIY punk rock, of Bikini Kill and 90’s Riot Grrrl carried forward in such a powerfully natural way.
“DIY punk witches from London” is how Dream Nails describe themselves, “it was moving and affecting and yes, it was great” she said the next day. I know she was rather affected in a very (very) positive way, it would almost be impossible not to be, that was more than just another band playing anoher great gig. It was more than just “great”, it was brilliant and everyone who was there damn well knows it was brilliant! It was a brilliant gig!
It was a brilliant gig! And no, it isn’t really going to be possible to explain it armed with nothing but a keyboard and words and a handful of blurry pictures. The bits that people filmed on their phones really won’t tell you, listening to Dream Nails on-line will give you a clue but that really won’t tell you either, you really really really had to be there, you had to be there down the front (or somewhere near to the front). You had to be there to soak it all up, to drink in that joyous We are family, I’ve got all my sisters with me energy that the four of them were orchestrating so brilliantly. You had tobe there to get it, a fractured review on these pagesreally can’t convey the punk rock delight of it all….
“Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front! Girls to the front….” she forcibly shouts before they kick in to yet another impressive song, she’s a brilliant frontwoman (they don’t seem to have thier names anywhere on line, sorry!). Joyous is the word, joyously positive DIY punk rock, four girls just going for it in a really really (really) positive way. Empowering, they’re full of Bikini Kill attitude, they really are the spirit of that brilliantly positive 90’s Riot Grrrl thing, but this is different, this is a little less confrontational and a little more joyous, not that those early Bikini kill gigs weren’t joyous. Back then it was confronting, brilliantly so, tonight was more about defiance and unity and inclusion and just damn well doing it and not needing anyone’s permission to do so. Everything about Dream Nail in this East London backroom tonight is possitive – the songs, the smiles, the joy, the chemisty the four of them share, the feeling in the audience, the feeling around the toom. Over the top? Maybe, hey, I get to a lot of gigs, I see a lot of bands, this wasn’t the first venue we’d been to that night, I don’t write about every gig I go to or about every band I see or hear, saw another not bad band in a different venue bofore the demand to jump on the bus and rush up the Kingsland Road to the Victoria, but now and again you go to a gig or you see a band and something very special happens and and a really not than much of an over the top review is needed to try and convey it all
“Your two fav queer DIY punk bands unite for an evening of powerful, political, joyful dancing! Supported by new punx Jellie Rolls (sweet radicals whose best known song is “Punch your local fascist”)”, and damn, we got there just in time to catch the last song from from what was clearly an excellent set from Screaming Toenail (lot of nails in here tonight).
Maybe it was the perfect storm? Maybe Screaming Toenails (and Jellie Rolls) warmed things up perfectly? Maybe things will never come together to make a Dream Nails gig this good ever again (although I did see some footage from a gig at the the 1 in 12 Club Bradford, that sugested they might just always be this good!). Hey look, the DIY punk ethos, the positive things said between songs, their pop song energy, their hardcore punk energy, the dancing, the playing, the excellent version of We Are Family, the powerful chanting of the Bikini Kill cry “Girls To The Front”, the smiles exchanged, the sense of community, everything was right about tonight,. DIY zine powered punk rock is alive and well , Dream Nails tonight were very very special indeed, brilliant gig! (sw)
Here’s what a Dream Nail said after the show via their instgram account – “Tonight was the most beautiful show ever. A few months ago we decided we wanted to play together, so we organised it ourselves & it was PERFECT with the best vibes and a sense of community that’s a lifeline. We love you @rollsjellie & @screamingtoenail 💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖 queer DIY punks for life”