Live Review: Dream Wife – Manchester

Dream Wife

Gorilla, Manchester 26th October 2018

Words & Photos: Gary Lambert

It is right to start this review with some honesty…. Dream Wife and Queen Zee are amongst my favourite bands around – and I know from experience that both of them off an incendiary live experience. To say I was excited for this gig would be an understated understatement. I was parked up outside the venue two hours before the doors opened to make sure I didn’t miss a minute of it.

Dream Wife had provided the opportunity on this tour to give a shot to female or non-binary gendered acts. They explained during their set that they had over 400 applicants for it which took them a few weeks to get through, but it was important that when you have the chance to offer someone a platform you make sure you do. This was a fantastic move, and Manchester’s Dollie Demi were the beneficiaries at this gig. I had not heard of Dollie Demi before, and with their three tracks on Spotify showing with less than 1,000 plays each, there is a good chance that you haven’t heard of them either.

Was it worth turning up two hours early to make sure that I heard Dollie Demi? Too right it was. They blew me away with their pop-tinged punk reminiscent of X-Ray Spex. They were aggressive, tuneful, and the audience took great delight in their tracks such as Boys Suck. It was such a good performance that I had to text our editor at Popped Music to tell them about it – and add their tracks to a playlist straight away. Give them a listen, follow them on social media, and make sure that you catch them live.

Queen Zee are led by the dominant, charismatic Zee, and you cannot take your eyes off her when she is on stage or when she is in the audience as happened halfway through their set. This meant we had a punk rock version of Strictly Come Dancing as Zee decided to waltz with some of their fans. Apparently a history of getting knocked about for being small in the pit of hardcore gigs was the motivation for this unique approach to interaction. Whilst they are a proudly political act, Queen Zee get their message across with such fun, pleasure and gusto.

It is also noticeable how much all of the band get involved in the performance. Four out of the five band members provide vocals at some stage or other through the set, and their mic-less drummer is energetic and yet another person to watch with your Sissy Fists in the air.

Whilst the efforts of Dollie Demi and Queen Zee were highly appreciated by the crowd, it was nothing compared with how the arrival of Dream Wife was taken by them. By the second song it was impossible for me to keep my photographer hat on such was the level of moshing making it far too fun to keep snapping. The atmosphere was incredible as Rakel took the audience in the palm of her hand and raised their heart rates and voices.

Prior to the brilliant Somebody, Dream Wife asked for anybody who identifies as a bad bitch to come forward. To clarify, a bad bitch can be anybody who chooses to be nice to their fellow bad bitches. Examples were given on how you can be nice including the brilliantly helpful “if you see someone smaller than you behind you, let them get in front”.

Dream Wife are a band on the cusp of doing something special. They are able to rock, to entertain, to create singalong anthems, and to make people think about what they are doing. It’s obvious why American audiences have taken so well to them over the last few months as their Transatlantic style creates a universality and familiarity. As they finished the performance with Let’s Make Out, they invited Dollie Demi and Queen Zee back on stage with them. By allowing their finale to shared it truly showed the ethos of these bad bitches.

After this gig, I can happily say that I will forever identify as a bad bitch. Dream Wife for life.

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