Showcase nights that throw together different groups of musicians spanning a mix of styles are always fun to go along to, opening your ears to a range of talent. And so tonight we bounced from the rocking tones of Doctor Da Vinci to the growling screams of metalers Rank Outsiders and onto the delicate, dulcet tones of solo keyboardist/vocalist Conrad before bouncing London duo Dirty Sister grace the Water Rats’ stage.
The indistinguishable tones of a Bouzouki, a Greek stringed instrument for the uninitiated, kick off the duo’s set, the instrument’s imposing form and intricate detailing ensuring Tom Bridle and Lorenzo Poulloura’s Dirty Sister set themselves apart from any contemporaries. The single tone is added to with beats, guitar and heavy breathing before taking the shape of familiar John Williams’ Imperial March from the Star Wars films, the theme itself melding into first song Kiss, Poulloura taking on lead vocal duties for the rock number.
“A big shout out to everyone who played before us” yells Poulloura over a beat, taking the time to recognise their penultimate slot on tonight’s schedule before Bridle takes on lead vocal duties for Filthy Grip. The initially sombre tones turn towards the Hard-Fi school of fun next, the boys’ strong London accents deliberately present: “listen mate, she’s got you in her filthy grip” they sing, Tom rounding out the tune with an outing of his harmonica, which is greeted with an extra round of applause from the crowd.
The duo trade stage sides once again as Lorenzo takes on lead vocals for Now You Turn Your Back On Me, Tom’s early synth solo slightly stunted as Lorenzo explains “that thing is usually a lot closer to Tom in the rehearsal room!”, a comment eliciting whistles from the crowd as a grinning Tom switches relatively effortlessly between his Telecaster and the synth for the duration of the track.
Encouraging his audience to get closer to the stage, Bridle kicks off another rock movie theme rendition, with Poulloura’s Bouzouki adding that traditional Greek vibe to John Williams’ theme from the Harry Potter films ahead of another original, Lorenzo encouraging the crowd to sing and clap along to Reality TV with Tom’s guitar doubling nicely to add weight with bass guitar parts to another fun, foot-stomping tune. “Bouzouki solo!” yells Tom, encouraging Lorenzo partway through the tune.
“This is a newer song, it’s a bit calmer than the last one” Bridle says, introducing Middle Class Busker, the song’s story quickly evoking thoughts of Ed Sheeran “he’s got working class swagger but he’s really just a middle class busker” he sings. “At Maida Value studios he’s playing on live lounge, he’s a busker” the duo continue to chuckles from the audience.
“People that know us, thanks for coming. People that don’t, thanks for being nice” Bridle says before the duo kick off their last song with another cover intro, this time in the form of the intro to Queen classic We Will Rock You. But it’s last song Knocking On My Door that makes the audience listen up once more, singing along with its infectious chorus.
Live review and photos of Dirty Sister @ Water Rats by Kalpesh Patel on 24th January 2018.
Kalpesh has more music photography up on his flickr stream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate