Two jewel encrusted mermaid-esque women slide their way on stage at the dark and sticky pub venue. They are two sisters, Camille and Noemie Debray, hailing from South Africa, and have been touring for the last couple of years.
These two glittery aliens introduce themselves in heavily effected robot voices, announcing that this was the last of their London shows. It is clear from the get-go that they don’t care what we think of them – “If you’re easily offended then why the fuck are you here?”
Society’s Rejects, their first song, which they have previously described as a celebration of “being rejected by a society that frowns upon the unusual and the liberated” is an anthem for everything they believe in.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” Camille asks, “I get diahorrea on stage?” – this throwaway comment seems all too familiar and leaves us feeling that perhaps the worst has indeed happened
They run headlong into the first song of the night barely stopping for air, as they lunge and kick their way through, both of them grinning as they do so.
Their drummer, long ginger hair flailing, smashes his way through their next song Johnny Rotten. With a catchy chorus and a call and response harmony, it is a memorable pop punk crowd pleaser, despite being written about a jailed axe murderer that the girls seem to admire as a sort of morbid antihero.
In a quick interlude, they start a dialogue in which they stress the importance of living every day as their last. They thrust and shriek as if it is the last performance they’ll ever do. Their massive glitzy carnival headdresses wobble around as they lunge and jerk their guitars high in the air with practised precision.
As they introduce Step Outside they look almost disgusted with themselves for the fact that they may have created a song that might even be considered popular. Camille wrinkles her nose as says “apparently some radio stations like it – eurgh!”. Quick fire and pounding, they race through the track leaning over each other in a back and forth exchange as they rock out with power riffs and snarling vocals.
These girls are gutsy and sure know how to stand up for themselves, as one audience member dares to give them some cheek, in a shot Noemie defiantly fires back “in the name of God shut the fuck up or I’ll ring your neck”. They’re not aiming to win new fans with their abrasiveness and clearly they do and say whatever they want, however their long rants mid-set and attempts at abusive repartee start to become comical and at points almost endearing.
The remainder of their set, including Chains and Original Sin are songs about their dislike of authority figures and those who try to put others down. As if to prove their point, they tell with great disdain an anecdote about a woman who approached them at the end of one of their previous gigs and told them that she loved their music but thought that they would “sound a lot better if they put on more clothes”.
The audience stand bemused as they are both centerstage nearly naked in sheer, glittery bikinis. They make a good point – their music is audacious and their clothing should have no bearing on this, but it is undeniable that the majority of the audience are generally of a similar age and…erm…gender. I am a little disappointed that there aren’t more young females there who could be inspired by the confidence they exude.
The sisters have been accused of damaging feminism and have been unfairly attacked for doing so, presumably down to their choice of aesthetic, however their freedom and faith in themselves only goes to bolster the feminist movement.
They would probably sneer at the thought of being admired, but they successfully combine a new style of punk aesthetic with old style nihilism and one thing’s for sure – we could do with more fearless women like them kicking down the doors of the music industry with their gemstoned boots.
Words Charlotte Evans
Photo’s Jeff Moh