Live review: Furious, El Toro, Doktor Combover @ The Magnet

Posted on 24 May 2010
By Peter Charles
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In inimitable Sound City style, no-one has the foggiest idea what’s going on. It’s 10:30pm, there’s still no sign of any bands and a mildly sozzled crowd is growing increasingly restless. It’s a relief when the video screen is reeled up to reveal the suited and booted Doktor Combover.

This is largely instrumental sleaze-rock, an amalgam of sexy, dirty cabaret music, garage with the glorious sound of a Hammond organ popping up every now and then.

Despite only a mere smattering of lyrics, the songs do have names, most notably ‘Kebab Hand‘ which, explains superbly-monikered saxophonist George Benson Hedges, is about the kebab juice smell that lingers on your hand for days after procurement of said kebab. Chortle.

As if trying to outdo Doktor Combover in the style stakes, El Toro have their own uniform in the shape of dark-tinted shades which singer Jimmy later confesses are having a detrimental effect on his harmonica playing. Come off it. Not even Bono makes that excuse. We’re kidding of course, Jimmy is actually pretty handy on the old gob iron.

The songs are dark, sinister surf gems, sounding like cartoon heroes being chased by a pack of mangy hounds at four in the morning. It’s all doused in ghostly reverb and thoroughly danceable. Having dispensed with inter-song chit-chat, El Toro have matured as a live act and their dour collective persona radiates around the Magnet as people start to find their jiving feet.

A lengthy intermission gives the foxy go-go dancers chance to shake some ass in the cage that has been erected at the side of the stage.

It’s past midnight by the time local Teds Furious grace the stage. It’s a relatively pedestrian performance; nothing flashy, just standard rockabilly grooving fodder with a couple of covers (‘My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean’ and ‘You Are My Sunshine’ – rather unusual choices, kind of halfway between tribute and irony) thrown in for good measure. In our estimation, El Toro are winners by a nose. Not that it’s a fight or anything – Furious would probably batter them.