Token Rose video now on YouTube

We’ve put Token Rose, from our Token Rose EP (available on Spotify, iTunes and bandcamp) now on YouTube. It’s not a “new” video proper, just assembling live footage from other videos… all very lo-fi! We don’t have a budget nor friends who can do cool videos for us haha.

We just wanted to put the song out there… you know… we’re still here, still trying to do something better and with more personality than the boring indie music most bands seem to do these days, in Liverpool as much as elsewhere. If you know any other band who’d do a song like Token Rose, with its alternate guitar tuning no-one else has ever used, rhythm track created with circuit-bent kids’ keyboard, moody vocals and which is heavy and rock’n’roll, do let us know! We’re not trying to sound like anything or anyone else – we’re just us and it’s fuckin’ good enough!

You get the picture.

Enjoy the darkness, anyway! And play it LOUD, mofos!


Halloween in Liverpool: Songs About Death @ Tabac, 30th Oct

Ivan will be launching a one-off side project next Tuesday 30th October, with an special event at Tabac (Bold st) that’ll be perfect for this Halloween season: Songs About Death

Songs About Death will be performed by psych acoustic duo Ivan Hell and his sidekick Denis Shiel (ex- The Little Flames). The hour long performance will feature a wide range of, well, songs about death! No covers – just new songs that feature diverse musical influences from pastoral folk to Portuguese music, to Blues and psychedelic singalong freakouts and droney buddhist mantras!

This will be a very unique acoustic performance, because it’ll be full of weird experimental noises, with the occasional help of ipod apps for droning synthesizer, birdsong, tenori-on and theremin sounds!!!


Songs About Death
Tuesday 30th Oct @ Tabac

Starts 6pm with summoning of the spirits, followed by musical performance of Songs About Death.

After the live music, there’ll be a screening of rare 1920s film “Haxan – Witchcraft Through The Ages”.

Mello Mello Liverpool Faces Closure!

Oh, shameful news. The Liverpool City Council strikes again… just a few days after we put a night there (coincidence of course, ha!)

Dirtblonde live at Mello Mello, Liverpool

Dirtblonde live at Mello Mello, Liverpool

Today’s post was supposed to be just a quick round up of Dirtblonde’s latest gig, which took place at Mello Mello in Liverpool, last Wednesday. But just last night, news came in that the popular venue is now facing closure, thanks to the Liverpool City Council, who once again seems hell-bent on destroying all that’s fun, bohemian and non-corporate in Liverpool.

Just a few days ago, we had a great time there, putting the latest Dirtblonde gig. We were supported by two ace bands – Beach Skulls, and SeaWitches (who just keep getting better and better!). We had some cool film projections, psychedelic lights and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Afterwards, an influx of happy drunk students flooded Mello Mello, all dancing to the “Dirtblonde Sound System” DJ playlist, which included Azaelia Banks’ ‘212’ (we just GOT to always play it!!!), Wugazi (‘Sleep Rules All Over Me’), Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd (‘Candy And A Currant Bun’), Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra (‘Some Velvet Morning’) and lots of the usual (for us) obscure 60’s French psych, which I’m obssessed with at the moment!

In short – it was great, cheap fun, that could only have happened in Mello Mello, a place that was cheap for us to hire, with good sound and a friendly staff.

We had many good times there (usually at Pete Bentham’s Free Rock & Roll…) and it’s a shame that now it’s seriously facing closure. We hope that the artistic community in Liverpool will once again fight – and beat – the Liverpool City Council! As  the Keep Streets Live campaign showed, when people get together for a good cause, we can fight the law and win!

 We urge anyone reading this to sign the Mello Mello petition, to stop Liverpool City Council from closing the venue!

Finally, here’s a statement from Mello Mello: ‘Liverpool City Council is set to force MelloMello CIC out of business. We will NOT let this happen.

We will fight Liverpool City Council’s unjustified and unexpected decision to slash our business rates relief from 80% to 0%, to demand £30,000.00 a year and force MelloMello into administration. We intend to explore every possible avenue available to us as Liverpool City Council have left MelloMello CIC, its employees, its customers, its users, its local community with nothing left to lose other than everything.

MelloMello was founded, run and staffed by volunteers who have turned a previously derelict building into a vibrant artistic hub of activity and business. The closure of MelloMello will result not only in the loss of facilities for grassroots artistic endeavours but also the loss of over 20 jobs, the loss of trade for other local independent businesses, and the loss of income of ANY business rates for the Council.

MelloMello has never received funding, grants, sponsorship or investment in order to grow. The success of MelloMello is that it has grown out of, quite literally, nothing into one of the city’s favourite bars/restaurants/venues.

‘For the Council to force MelloMello out of business by taking away the only charity it has ever relied upon sends out a clear message of cultural indifference, a blatant lack of acknowledgement for the people who have managed to build a sustainable not-for-profit business out of nothing, and serves as yet another affront to Liverpool’s musical, artistic and creative communities.

MelloMello is worth saving, because once it is gone you will never see anything like it again.

We must ACT NOW to SAVE MELLOMELLO, we must let Liverpool City Council know that MelloMello WILL NOT CLOSE DOWN without a FIGHT.


Dirtblonde Archives #5: Playing at Leeds Festival

One of our most memorable early gigs, was when we landed a slot at a new bands stage at the Carling Weekend Leeds Festival. Of course, our gig wasn’t quite the Kasabian-style crowd pleasing set most festival goers like, haha…

dirtblonde live at leeds festival

Dirtblonde live at Leeds Festival

It was our biggest gig up until that point, so it was quite an exciting time. We were invited to come to the Leeds Festival press conference launch, a few months ahead of the gig, which was pretty cool. By pretty cool, I mean the usual – free booze and nibbles, of course! A few (shitty) bands were around, such as Pigeon Detectives, and festival organiser Melvyn Benn gave a little speech to the press. The NME were there  too, and it was the only time they ever mentioned Dirtblonde on an article (the fuckers, haha.)

One thing I remember, was chattting to some Hall Or Nothing PR lady, and thinking oh, that’s the kinda people big bands deal with – nice. I mean, I’m sure the music industry is full of assholes, but the toilet circuit has even more of them! I just thought how easy it must be for all those big signed bands, who can afford proper PR people etc… money can’t buy you love or happiness, but can certainly make the life of a rock’n’roll band easier. Being DIY ain’t a stroll in the park… So, it was interesting to see all the very professional people who grease up the music bizz machine… and they all seemed quite friendly and nice to be honest, as far as I remember.

Anyway, ahead of the gig itself, one of the coolest things was that we were given lots of free one-day Leeds Festival tickets to give away, so we got family and friends to come along… it was just great to be able to offer that to our mates!

Lula playing at Leeds festival

Lula playing at Leeds festival

On the day of the gig, in true rock’n’roll style, we got two friends to be our roadies, and crammed all our gear and camping stuff in a tiny old car (NOT very rock’n’roll… but a tour bus was a bit over our budget) and headed to Leeds!

Arriving at Braham Park, the site of Leeds Festival, was quite surreal. The first view we had was of the Main Stage, from behind, where at first we briefly parked our little car… right next to the big tour buses, because we were not quite sure where to go!

But still, even being just a little band, the overall festival experience was much, much better than if we went just as punters: smaller & more exclusive camping site, exclusive backstage hanging out area, cleaner toilets, exclusive bar where you could get your pissy Carling without facing huge queues. All told, pretty cool. It’s definitely better attending a festival as a performing artist, than as “the public!” Plus – we got to see many cool bands for free, such as Franz Ferdinand, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Long Blondes, Primal Scream, Serena Maneesh, Morning After Girls…

Lula rocking at Leeds Festival

Lula rocking at Leeds Festival

As for our gig itself. It was messy, loud, classic Dirtblonde – ie. some people loved, lots of people hated hahaha! No soundcheck, quite hard to get a good sound… but we just went for it, as we do. I had something written on my chest, don’t remember what, but started with “Fuck…”. I think it was “Fuck the Kooks”, the popular indie band that year.

During the last song – messy and improvised as always – I picked up a can of Carling beer and hit my guitar strings with it. So strongly that the can split open on the side, making the beer shower everywhere, as told on the previous Dirt Archives (guitar #5).

Ivan abusing a beer can at Leeds Festival

Ivan abusing a beer can at Leeds Festival

Some people loved our set, some people hated us (usually the “lads” who think bands like Kasabian are so “rock’n’roll” but can’t handle NOISE, haha).

We got some cool reviews. One reviewer even said that we were the 2nd most rock’n’roll thing to hit Leeds that weekend, after Peaches!:

“Liverpool’s DIRTBLONDE are the most enigmatic of the bands on this stage. They’re a punk duo with a spitting and snarling Ivan Hell on guitar and a gentle bass playing vocalist in Lula Blue… DIRTBLONDE achieve the wonderful result of driving a lot of bored people away while a small but fierce cluster of disaffected and wonderful looking kids are drawn like bruised moths to a rather guttering candle of venomous wax. Hell savages the security rails with his guitar in the finale and the new fans are in raptures… for the kids who love it this is the real thing, and probably the only dose they’re going to get all weekend.”

“Dirtblonde on the Topman Unsigned Stage are far more divisive, attracting looks of adoration or disgust from passers-by with their scuzzy rock’n’roll. Arrogant (one fan offering them a CD is knocked back with the words “I don’t want it if I’m not on it”), bolshy, rough around more than just the edges, it’s the second most rock’n’roll thing to hit Leeds today.”

And that’s how it should be done, really, in the gospel according to Dirtblonde – fuck joe public! Some people will inevitably love what you do, and some people will inevitably hate what you do – so  there’s nothing worse than trying to be a crowd pleaser, like so many cheesy indie bands do at festivals.

Lula during the Dirtblonde set at Leeds Festival

Lula during the Dirtblonde set at Leeds Festival

Some people were/are impressed that we played at such a major festival as Leeds Festival. To be honest, it’s no big deal, it was just a gig, and we played better ones in tiny venues such as The Castle Hotel in Manchester, to be honest. It was a memorable gig that, to me, just showed that nothing’s really impossible and even a little band such as Dirtblonde could land on one of UK’s biggest music festivals. But I wouldn’t call it a “career highlight”… that’d be depressing! The way I think is – my band is fucking good, so of course we had to eventually end up playing at a major festival… no big fucking deal. I don’t think any band should really brag, be proud or be surprised about any such “achievement”. If you think you’re good, whatever things you end up doing should come as something you expected, as the due course of things. If you don’t think you’re good enough to do these things, then don’t fucking be in a band in the first place!!!

Whenever we mention that we played in New York, Leeds Festival, SXSW… it’s never ever bragging about it, it’s just something we feel we need to mention to some promoters etc to show them that even though we’re not famous, people thought we were good enough to play at those places.

(Ironically enough, even though Dirtblonde are one of the few Liverpool bands who’ve played at Leeds Festival and SXSW, local festivals such as Liverpool Sound City tend to ignore us!)

Ivan at Leeds Festival.

Ivan at Leeds Festival.

The only surprising thing to me (or should I say disappointing)  is that we don’t play big festivals more often – we’re certainly good enough, but most promoters are idiots, of course.

It’s quite depressing that so many, forgettable indie bands get to regularly play at festivals just because they got a deal/PR/ managers… even though no one actually comes to those festivals specifically to see any of those bands lower in the bill or on the smaller stages!

At the end of the day, most music  festivals are shit anyway. Since that time we played at Leeds Festival, I never felt the urge to spend my money to attend another Leeds Festival again. To paraphrase Lula: If I’m not playing on it, I’m not interested in attending it!

Dirtblonde Gig at Liverpool Fringe Festival 2012!

August is shaping up to be a fun month for us, after all! It started with Ivan’s ace DJ set at the Kazimier Garden, and will end with a Dirtblonde gig at Mathew Street Festival’s more interesting fringe event, the Liverpool Fringe Festival 2012.

Dirtblonde are set to rock Liverpool Fringe Festival, during Mathew Street Festival 2012

At the Kazimier Garden earlier this month, Ivan made the crowd get up and dance like rarely seen there before… by playing a really fun DJ set that included anything from Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees, to Brigitte Bardot, Rolling Stones and newer songs from the likes of Santigold and Azealia Banks. Even John Maus got a nod. That’s how cool it was, haha!

Next, Dirtblonde are going to shake up things a bit at Baa Bar (7 Myrtle Street, near the Liverpool Comunity College) on August Bank Holiday Monday, 27th – a date Mathew Street Festival decide to celebrate as “Merseybeat Monday”!!! Well, there’ll be no old men wearing wigs at the Baa Bar, baby.

liverpool fringe festival 2012 poster

Despite Dirtblonde being one of the few Liverpool bands who have ever played at some of the most prestigious festivals in the world such as Leeds Festival and South By Southwest (in Austin, Texas), Mathew Street Festival has never been interested in booking us… so it’s great to finally be able to play during that busy weekend, as part of the increasingly popular Liverpool Fringe Festival!

Punters not interested in tribute acts such as Blurasis, Amy Housewine and Viva Santana will be in for a treat, because for the first time Dirtblonde will be sharing the bill with the excellent The Temps (signed to Liverpool’s Antipop records) so this should be a pretty ace rock’n’roll night, and the popular Liverpool site Sevenstreets has already mentioned Dirtblonde as one of the gigs to watch, cool!

Dirtblonde plays Liverpool Fringe 2012 @ Baa Bar (7 Myrtle St.) on Monday 27th August (Merseybeat Monday). Doors 8pm. FREE ENTRY! View Facebook event page