LIVE: Death Valley Girls – The Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne, 02/03/2023 1

LIVE: Death Valley Girls – The Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne, 02/03/2023

As you would somehow suspect it always does, the weekend arrives early here in the Toon. It may only be a Thursday evening, but it is already promising to be one helluva varied musical night out in the city. Over at the Arena you have got the dubious delights of The Matt Goss Experience, featuring one half of 80’s boyband, Bros. The City Hall is playing host to superstar DJ, Fatboy Slim whilst just about a mile east of the city centre, The Cluny has maverick cult folk musician Beans On Toast appearing in its main function room. Downstairs at this most iconic of live music venues, though, in the smaller capacity Cluny 2 is undoubtedly the best of them all, Los Angeles’ cosmic garage-rockers, Death Valley Girls, a band once described by no less an authority on the subject than Iggy Pop as “a gift to the world.”

Death Valley Girls are now almost 10 years and five albums into their recording career, a decade that has seen them evolve from their proto-punk origins into something that is altogether more transcendental. They are over here on this side of the Atlantic to promote their latest album, Islands in the Sky which was only released just last week. This is their third, and penultimate show in the UK before they head across the English Channel to France, eventually returning to their homeland before the end of the month for an appearance at the annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

Bonnie Bloomgarden of Death Valley Girls

Death Valley Girls may well have a new record – and pretty special it is too – but such is their belief in a strong back catalogue they wait five songs before unleashing the first track from Islands in the Sky. By the time they play ‘What Are The Odds’, the three musicians – founding member and supremely charismatic frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden, drummer Rikki Styxx, and guitarist Larry Schemel – are already deep into an interplanetary groove that embraces muscular pop, psychedelia, oodles of soulful spirituality, and plenty uncompromising punk attitude.

The music that Death Valley Girls produces is a positive affirmation of what it means to be alive, no more so than on the euphoric ‘Disco’. The good vibes and party atmosphere continues apace as Angie joins the band on stage for some suitably supple gyrations, whilst simultaneously demonstrating a strong tambourine technique.

Having rattled through a baker’s dozen of top tunes, the last of which ‘Electric High’ is taken from their debut album, Street Venom, Bonnie Bloomgarden then holds true to her promise to a chap who quickly darts off to use the facilities that they won’t play any more songs until such time as he returns. To while away the time, she invites onto the stage a fellow Californian – I’m sure she wasn’t there as a plant – to tell a couple of jokes. You can now add humour and integrity to the band’s long list of positive characteristics.

A couple of cracking encores care of ‘Watch The Sky’ and ‘Seis, Seis, Seis’ quickly ensue and then it’s off to Manchester for Death Valley Girls leaving behind them a vapour trail of some very happy people indeed.

Death Valley Girls

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos of Death Valley Girls at The Cluny 2

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.