Monday, 21 March 2011


I had the pleasure of visiting the Helter Skelter Boutique’s private view of their polaroid photography exhibition “A Portrait of Margate Now” on Friday evening. Bringing the night to a fantastic close, Margate indie surf rockers Two Wounded Birds played a set of '50s-inspired lo-fi power pop that certainly got me bopping my head.

There was a bit of a problem with the PA system which meant that the vocals weren’t perhaps as clear as they could’ve been, but the musicianship was top class and I can totally see what Krissi Murison, the editor of NME magazine, sees in them. It’s just pure rock 'n' roll, but not in a leery trad rock neanderthal sense, more in a Dick Dale & His Del Tones-meets-Buddy Holly kind of way. It’s a type of music that’s certainly ripe for modernizing, especially now bands like The Vaccines are making big waves on the indie circuit, namechecking the likes of Eddie Cochran or making nods to early-'60s Phil Spector-esque pop music. The main difference is Two Wounded Birds play surf rock with more energy, more reverb, and a more punky gusto in their embrace of distortion, and I love it.

I have to say, I also love the vibe of Helter Skelter. I’ve always been a sucker for mod fashion and retro designs, and a lot of the movie trailer posters (for The Italian Job, Blow Up, etc.) were pretty wicked too. They even had Trojan Reggae CD collections and Fred Perry shirts. It’s practically my idea of heaven. However, being as skint as I am, it’s also my idea of hell, since I don’t have any money to buy the stuff in there, so it felt like I was taunting myself by staring at all the stuff I couldn’t afford. Plus, once a besuited Andy Warhol-lookalike was thrown into the mix, it kind of felt like I was mingling with arty types in The Factory, New York, circa 1965. Very surreal.

At least the music offered some distraction from my unemployed status and I, for one, enjoyed Two Wounded Birds's live performance. It would’ve been nice to hear some of the vocal melodies, but they still put on a bloody good show. In fact, they’ve recently been featured on Steve Lamacq’s 6 Music Roundtable in a podcast for the BBC, in which they discuss the release of Two Wounded Birds’s new single “All We Wanna Do” for Moshi Moshi Singles Club. I’m just pleased a local band like them is doing so well. Best of luck to ‘em. Who knows? If that Andy Warhol lookalike has his way, Two Wounded Birds could end up being Margate’s answer to The Velvet Underground!

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