Deap Vally and Skaters: Leadmill, Sheffield

As I stood there, relatively nonplussed at Skaters’ atypical American indie rock performance, I wondered, would I think any different of them if they were made up of feisty women instead?

Their pacey bass, wailing choruses, apathetic lyrics (“I wanna dance but I don’t know how” / “Guess I’ll never change your mind”) and trashy yet melodic nature were all well and good, but there was nothing ground-breaking or game-changing or particularly memorable about their music. But had the shaggy mops and unnecessary coats been replaced by luscious locks and power shoulders, would I be hailing them as the female Strokes?

My trail of thought is cut short, as chants of “Deap-deap-deap Vally!” break into applause and Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards take a stride of pride on stage. Pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll ensues.

The power shouldered powerhouses fire up like The White Stripes with extra balls, from the hip-grindingly good ‘Woman of Intention’ to righteous stomp of ‘Bad For My Body’. Lindsey’s Cali-drawl slides into a squawk and she makes her way to the front and centre, moshing into front row, who hungrily cop of feel – of her dirty blonde tresses.

Album closer ‘Six Feet Closer’ replaces the raucous, sumptuously jagged riffs with chords which sound like impending doom, then turn hypnotic as the girls croon the hazy dirge: “You moved through my veins like a drug…”

I think it’s safe to assume that, even if Skaters were a female-fronted scuzz-fest, they’d still be lacking that punch, that edge, which Deap Vally have in boundless supply. Take the track like ‘Lies’ – it covers the well tread ground of betrayal, but they do it with gusto, verve; without lying down and playing the victim, as so many other female artists tend to do.

Then there’s the ridiculously fun ‘Walk of Shame’, which strips away the guilt of a one-night stand and replaces it with self-respect, because, let’s face it: “I got better things to do / than get breakfast with you.”

Despite still being able to feel ‘End of the World’ parading and stumbling around in my gut, their set is over all too soon. To top it off, the duo’s fitting cover of ‘I Put a Spell on You’ is given a beastly, mental injection, and I’m left completely intoxicated.

Deap Vally are able to take on rock, a predominantly masculine genre, without softening it up or putting a “girly” spin on it –  and they completely own it’s ass.

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