Talia Kraines

14:12 24th May 2006

Morningwood playing their very first UK gig at KOKO was an unexpected mental monster. As vocalist Chantal Claret bounds onto the stage with a mass of curls, crutches and violently shaking her boobs, those hipsters who've heard their glossy pop sound on-record seem taken aback by the stadium-rock intro. But as soon as Chantal announces this London audience had ‘some of the sexiest bitches she’d ever seen’ in a squeaky NY accent, there was no doubt this is them, and at the very least, this is going to be deviate from expectations wildly.

Within moments a party atmosphere has been created as the crutches are cast aside (later to be swung round menacingly) and some shapes are being thrown with a serious sense of insanity.  This is a band who aren’t afraid to talk about sex, and during the dance rock ‘NY Girls’ Chantal gets a girl up on stage to dance with her. This is evidently staged though, as they dance with more familiarity or intimacy than any strangers should.  In any case, this display of girl on girl groping certainly wakes up any Camden boys sulking in the corner.

From now on, the band have the audience totally on their side with the lower floor of KOKO shaking with hundreds of teenagers moshing like this is greatest gig they’ve ever seen.   Chantal straddles a horse head, they cheer.  Chantal eats a banana, they cheer.  She can do absolutely no wrong, and launching herself into the crowd during ‘Body 21’, hands flail everywhere. Grabbing a boy’s digital camera and taking photos of herself for him, everyone struggles to have a piece of the Chantal pie and the crowd get so manic that the band themselves have to ask them to calm down.  The height of insanity comes during ‘Take Off Your Clothes’ when a random boy from the audience is brought onto the stage to be handcuffed and stripped.  And by striped, we really do mean it, with even his boxers coming off, via Chantal’s teeth.

Getting a reaction most bands only dream of, Morningwood rocked London – an audience who had primarily never heard of them – like they’d never been rocked before.  Next time round, make sure you’re there too as these live shows are destined to become legendary.