Barb Wire Dolls – Craufurd arms, Milton Keynes – 18th May 2017

First up tonight was a band that wasn’t part of the tour and weren’t announced till a couple of hours before the show.  The Treatment were playing here tonight as a warm-up before their shows at Hellfest and supporting the Scorpions.  Despite the fact that the venue was almost empty when they started their set, they didn’t let that bother them and still gave it 100% – a sign of a professional band.  Despite not having played a gig for a while they don’t appear rusty and they decide that as there’s plenty of space in the venue they might as well use it, so Mitchel Emms takes his microphone and heads out into the audience followed soon after by Tao and Tagore Grey, the guitarist brothers, although with their wireless setups they had a bit more freedom to roam than Mitchel Emms who was limited by the length of the cable on his mic.  It’s a great set and if they’d been announced at the same time as Barb Wire Dolls they would have pulled in a much bigger crowd.

The Treatment setlist:
Let it begin
The doctor
The devil
I bleed rock and roll
We are beautiful
Generation me
Drink, fuck, fight
Shake the mountain

Next up was Johnny & the mental breakdowns.  A four piece punk band, they put in a good set in front of a steadily growing crowd.  A nice touch was when they dedicated “Last chance to dance” to Chris Cornell whose death had been announced that morning.

The first time I saw Barb Wire Dolls I wasn’t impressed – something just didn’t quite click.  They’d come on late – 2 hours after doors opened, with no support act, so the audience wasn’t really up for it, and the band didn’t seem in the right mood either.  Despite that I decided to give them a second chance (after all, no matter how good they are, every band has the occasional bad day) and I’m very glad I did as tonight’s gig was infinitely better.
For a start the two support acts had got the crowd warmed up nicely, and more importantly it was clear right from the start that the band were firing on all cylinders and were set to deliver the best performance they could.
Isis Queen is a fantastic frontwoman – she can sing beautifully when the song calls for it or she can snarl the lyrics out like a true old-school punk, and just as important she knows how to interact with the crowd to keep them engaged.  She’s constantly on the move – one minute at the front of the stage with a foot up on the monitors, the next she’s further back and a blur of flying hair as she headbangs.
The rest of the band aren’t taking it easy either and all are putting in extremely energetic performances.  Despite being shirtless, the male guitarist is dripping with sweat fairly early on in the show but still doesn’t slow down.
As well as the songs that the fans knew they threw in some songs from their new (unreleased) album which sounded great.

This really was a fantastic set from Barb Wire Dolls and guarantees I’ll be trying to catch more of their shows in future.

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.