- 19 May 10
No one in The Academy can complain about being shortchanged
It was an epiphanal moment – the New York Dolls looking like five hookers from hell crash-landing on an unsuspecting Old Grey Whistle Test in November 1973 and providing a peak into the punk future.
With a combination of heroin and Malcolm McLaren ensuring that the Mk. 1 Dolls imploded shortly after, surviving members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain (so good they named him twice) have had to wait ‘til now to bask in the acclaim they so richly deserve.
Despite Inter vs Barca on the telly resulting in a disappointingly small crowd, the Dolls are well up for the show with the opening ‘Looking For A Kiss’ as deliciously decadent as it was when Johnansen and the late Johnny Thunders (namechecked tonight in ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’) gave joint birth to it. With ‘Who Are The Mystery Girls?’, ‘Lonely Planet Boy’, ‘Pills’, ‘Trash’ and ‘Jet Boy’ also getting an airing, no one in The Academy can complain about being shortchanged in the greatest hits – or more accurately misses – department.
What gives the Dolls reformation currency though is the quality of new songs like ‘Cause I Sez So’ and ‘Gotta Get Away From Tommy’, which manage to compliment rather than pastiche their ‘70s output.
They’ve also recruited well, with former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sammi Yaffa and guitar for hire Steve Conte doing an excellent job of filling Killer Kane and Thunders’ stackheels.
With Johansen preferring to let his sandpaper vocals do the talking, it’s left to Sylvain Sylvain – or O’Kelly O’Kelly as he rechristens himself tonight in honour of his Irish roots – to banter with the front-rows who love his court jester shtick.
There’s only one song they can possibly encore with and, sure enough, ‘Personality Crisis’ gets blasted out with the same gusto as it did all those years ago on the Whistle Test. For everyone involved, it was worth the 37-year wait.