Review of their gig in Whelan's, Dublin 20 May 2000
It has been so long since I last saw Chicks play they've actually gotten taller. And cleverer too by the sound of things.
Maybe the last time (in Doran's about two years ago when Huey from the Fun Loving Criminals was trying to cadge my spliff) I was too cruel. Of course they couldn't play their instruments, why should they have been able to? I didn't realise at the time that that was how it should be, and they were only 12 or something anyway.
Perhaps I was a bit shocked by their sudden success and how other bands I'd seen would never have as big a crowd as this at their second gig. At the time it was as if Chicks were the only band in town after a couple of songs. That annoyed me. I've re-evaluated my opinion of them since.
In fact at a couple of stages during this gig in 2000, I kind of wished they had sounded the way they did back at that first gig. But, they don't. Now I'm not going to start making sick jokes about maturity here - I already have. But Chicks played a number of songs resembling actual songs, mellow numbers that could possibly have been love songs that could actually have been about boys and were kind of wistful and sweet. Oh my God. I thought these were the girls who only did Manga and Star Wars lyrics - Tomboyish sounding stuff. But Isabel (very tall) is singing 'I wrote this for you', in a low voice at a slow tempo...and there are harmonies.
There is still that ramshackle vibe - a couple of the songs are started twice. The girls look slightly embarrassed about it, scratch their sides and fix their hair awkwardly. But I've seen Pavement do that too.
At least it's not dangerous like it used to be, where you felt that at any moment the whole thing could just stutter into silence and that the band were just praying that the guitars wouldn't get too badly out of tune. I mean who can actually tune a guitar? Musos that's who and nobody could accuse Chicks of being musos.
Of course, it is still Punk. One song, Which I'm assuming is called 'Liar' which is screamed through, high pitched and ear-splitting, like a hen party in Busker's, only angrier.
What they still do well, no matter the pace of the songs, is simplicity and rock'n'roll stoopidity; that Ramones thing they so obviously admire. Why use three chords when one will do, and don't ever, ever get over two syllables in a lyric, both great rules to abide by.
I had half expected to hear their cover version of 'I Love, You Love' the Gary Glitter number they did for one of those US albums of strange cover versions, but they didn't play it. What sicko decided to cover that? Well, I suppose they're old enough to make their own decisions now.
Chicks - finally old enough for Tattoos.