Death Valley Girls live at Aatma

Death Valley Girls live at Aatma


Death Valley Girls are a band who have steadily been attracting more and more attention over the last few years, securing key festival appearances as well as other extensive tour schedules across Europe; their presence in Manchester tonight is therefore much welcomed.

Opening this evening at Aatma, the Northern Quarter’s best kept secret, are local lads The 99 Degree – think Spindrift with a Mancunian swagger. If ever looks were to deceive, it’s with these guys as they break out into psych-enthused spaghetti western surf rock. ‘Dead or Alive’ is a fantastic track all round with its moody guitar riff, drawled vocals and throbbing rhythm section – the crowd lap it up. Another key track which channels the likes of the Allah-Lahs and will always turn heads comes in ‘Bed of Bones’. Definitely one to watch these guys, the possibilities are intriguing.

Death Valley Girls, signed to Burger Records, an American label with tonnes of attitude, are an acid-tripping science experiment that’s been buried alive and resurrected as a sexually liberated dystopian chain-gang. A cosmic scar, if you will, on the hills of Echo Park, where the experiment began in 2013 by proto-punk Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel. Two became four and DVG are the result.

Larry and the ladies take the stage – the latter, clad in matching black cape attire, certainly look the part. They open tonight with a double hit: ‘Glow in the Dark’ swiftly followed by ‘Disco’, the first two tracks of their album Glow in the Dark, which was released last year. The result is a high energy, premium intensity opening which sets the mark of what DVG are all about. The two tracks are ridiculously catchy and the audience is soon dancing merrily.

A song they introduce as 666, but is more commonly known as ‘Seis Seis Seis’ (see what they did there?!) offers a darker edge, with a rolling melody and haunting synth accompaniment. ‘Gettin’ Hard’ has featured in their set for over two years now and it’s no wonder with its bouncy drum beat and high vocal entities which are captivating. ‘Pink Radiation’ is a touchy-feely track with a slower tempo and more focus being placed on harmonies as opposed to blasting the tracks at full speed.

‘I’m a Man Too’ comes following a discussion on sexploitation and how the band’s roots are firmly planted there. The punk energy of its delivery leads to an explosive finale with Bonnie first going into the crowd and thoroughly involving them and then the two girls playing guitar back to back before ending up both lying on the floor – rock and roll are they.

This high-octane performance comes over half way through a 32 date European tour and so you could forgive them for being jaded, but they were anything but. DVG, we salute you.

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Lover of all things psych and shoegaze and the mind behind Astral Elevator; constantly seeking new musical experiences in a world full of noise.