If you despise bands like the Oblivians, the Mummies, and the New Bomb Turks, then stay away from the Little Killers ’cause you’re gonna fuckin’ hate ’em. Two girls, a guy, and more rock’n’roll attitude than a roomful of Jerry Lee Lewis impersonators. Their self-titled debut album is so scorching it threatens to sear needle to record, or cause a CD player to spontaneously combust. Critical acclaim from punk and rock’n’roll enthusiasts alike ensured that the hype surrounding the band leading up to the London shows meant for a packed house full of cynics and skeptics. They might have brought Crypt back from the dead, but could they deliver the goods live?
I arrived at the show and, on my way to the bar, bumped into a guy wearing a shirt with the slogan “Green Piece” and an emerald outline of a firearm emblazoned on it. He was the size of a giant hot rod and looked like he could bench press 400 pounds with one arm. I immediately found east, fell to my knees, and told Allah that I’d forego the planet full of virgins in the afterlife if He would please keep Green Piece off the stage this night. The Metro Riots were winding down their set and the singer was doing a great Jam-era Paul Weller impression (especially his hair). He had his eyes closed and his mouth hung open and slack, the expression a guy wears just before receiving oral sex. I elbowed my way to the front expecting a real show, but the guy wasn’t even getting a blow job – BORING!!!! The guitarist looked like the longer-haired dude in the Exploding Hearts (RIP) and played a couple smokin’ guitar solos, but was overshadowed by the grandstanding, spotlight-hogging bass player. He was the type of guy you want to pin to the floor and stuff fistfulls of Quaaludes down his throat. Showboating aside, the music they played was… shit, all I remember is the damn showboating. Save yourselves, fellas, and drop the bass player! Back to the bar for another beer, and I realized that Allah had seen through my hasty conversion to Islam ’cause Green Piece was onstage tuning his guitar. I thought redemption might come in the form of the two Betty Page lookalikes on vocal and bass duties, but decided to take a piss before the set started to clear my head. And there they were in the bathroom, all four members of Dragster snorting lines of Nashville Pussy, chasing it with watered down Kid Rock. Dually relieved and horrified, I stood by the bar and watched as Betty Page Number One introduced the band as “country cousins from Coventry.” Apparently, there is a thriving white trash community living in the English countryside. It was precious, hilarious, and slightly embarrassing to hear songs such as “Redneck,” “Trailer Park,” and, naturally, “Dragster,” introduced in a gentle English accent. And the music? Think of a castrated version of the Peepshows (or Supagroup exactly as they are, though the chicks in Supagroup are hotter) and you’ve got a pretty good idea of Dragster’s sound. All hot rod posturing and about as tough and threatening as Sum 41.
The bar was packed with people by the time the Little Killers took the stage, confidence oozing from every pore. An anonymous heckler in the back of the room shouted, “Show us how cool you are!” and was ignored with the graceful nonchalance that comes with knowing this same jackarse forked over his hard-earned four quids for a chance to be in the same room with the band. Once properly tuned, they rocketed into their set, Andy a floppy haired mess of blistering guitar work, Kari laying down beats soaked in sex, Sara pounding out basslines and looking like the illegitimate daughter of Joan Jett and Joey Ramone. The audience, staid and disinterested during the opening acts, caught fire and danced through truly incendiary numbers like “Messin’ Around” and “Volume” (“I’m so high I’m bulletproof/I think I’m gonna jump off the roof” gets my vote for best opening lyric for an album EVER), and the place was all smiles for “Happy” and “Pucker Up.” As for the matter of “cool,” Sara gave an expert lesson, knees bent, leaning back, not bothered to sing any backing vocals until “How Do You Do It?” By that time the set was nearly finished and the crowd was going buck fucking wild – fists were thrown in time with the music, guys and girls were dancing with each other, and one overzealous, clumsy mosher was threatened with “a poke in the eye” (you gotta love these Brits!). This was dirty, sweaty rock’n’roll the way it was meant to be played. Ike Turner and Chuck Berry would be proud. I think I even saw Allah cruise by on his flying carpet. But, considering how much I hate the Mummies, Oblivians, etc., I knew I was gonna loathe the Little Killers. And loathe them I did, over and again about fifteen times at home after the show, CD on repeat, smelling like a bar, grinning like an idiot the entire time.