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The Pipettes + The Hot Puppies at Brighton Corn Exchange, 22 September 2006

The Corn Exchange is the second biggest audience The Pipettes have played to, and this is a good place as any to host their homecoming. The audience is made up of very cool looking sixties dressed girls and boys. The room was awash with hairspray and eyeliner.

The room filled up and the support band The Hot Puppies took to the stage. The lead singer Becky Newman commands attention with her sultry looks and soft warm vocals. The band are a five piece originally from Aberystwyth and are fronted by the two girls in the band, Beth Gibson plays the keyboard and lends vocal support. The three lads in the band take a back seat providing a decent sound, which is an interesting combination of hard rock and mellow guitar, the drummer Bert Wood keeps the rhythm and tempo well. After the first tune Becky tells the crowd of her shopping trip in Brighton were she purchased a pair of new shoes. What is it with shoes and girls; there is an obsession girls have with shoes, which can often leave men bewildered. There are girls I know who can never have too many shoes, literally boxes upon boxes of them. The Corn Exchange is a large room and unfortunately for The Hot Puppies the sound was flat with very little resonance. The room offered very little in atmosphere, which was a pity, as this band would have sounded great in a better venue. The sound was lost in the vast chasm of the room, which seemed to devour all the noise being produced on stage. It was at times hard to hear the vocals, but the band put in a great performance and provided a great support to The Pipettes. This band is worth checking out as they have a very cool sound and are also signed to Fierce Panda records, which is a good barometer for stylish indie. The Hot Puppies will undoubtedly have many more opportunities to impress and if their debut album 'Under the Crooked Moon' is anything to go by they are no flash in the pan.

The Pipettes entered the stage to rapturous applause, this is their main home coming gig and the audience were pleased to welcome them back into town. The Pipettes are a manufactured band, although don't let that put you off as The Sex Pistols were formed in much the same way, as an experiment (hence the name The Pipettes!). The Pipettes are an all girl-fronted band with an all male backing band. Much like Phil Spectors Ronettes the band borrows a lot of their style from the sixties, the girls are dressed in matching polka dot dresses and have choreographed dance routines. The chaotic clappy sound is very similar to the Go Team so it should come as no surprise that their producer is the brother of Ian Parton the Go Teams creator and guitarist. The sound is still a bit disappointing but The Pipettes make up for that with their sheer enthusiasm and stage presence, the formula works really well and the audience lap it up with pure adolescent vigour. After the first three songs they play their recent hit 'Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me' and the crowd go hyper, the audience are mainly teenagers and this is fitting for a fifties/sixties style band when you consider that was when the term teenager was established. The singing is very edgy and the girls take it in turns leading, Gwenna has a very strong voice and the other two follow her lead more often than not. The music reminds me in some ways of The Ramones in the way they perform short snappy and loud songs and yet maintain an eclectic sound. The song 'One Night Stand' is a tell tale story of short-lived attraction and the bittersweet memories of what might have been. This song is dedicated to a friend in the audience who apparently hadn't been getting any for a while; I bet she loved the sentiment. The girls take time out occasionally to towel themselves dry due to the heat inside the building. 'I feel like I've just had a shower' Gwenna informs the audience casting the vast army of adolescent males into a moment of contemplation at the image now undoubtedly set in their minds. 'I Like A boy In Uniform' is a fiery number and by now the crowd have relaxed and are taking in the set. The lighting is cast in a way that slightly obscures the lads playing behind them making the focal point on stage the three girls in near identical dresses, this works well and the three girls Gwenna, Becki and Rose look comfortable in their roles. Judy is song, which tells a story of playground misadventure, and its simplicity is infectious and leaves you smiling. The Pipettes leave the stage to great applause and no sooner are they gone, they return for a two-song encore (they could have teased the crowd a little bit, you know sent on a roadie to pretend he was setting down the equipment perhaps). The crowd leave the Corn Exchange very happy, the sound may not have been too hot but these kids really don't care 'that was the most amazing gig I have ever seen' I heard someone say, ahh the naivety of youth you can't beat it. Tonight The Pipettes gave the kids exactly what they wanted.

Words: Neil McLennan
Photos: Justin Evans
More The Pipettes photos at Brighton Corn Exchange, 22 September 2006
More The Hot Puppies photos at Brighton Corn Exchange, 22 September 2006

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