The Datsuns - Melkweg, Amsterdam 11/10/2004

Eat some pies gentlemen, please. Your mothers must be worried sick.

 

Back in 2002 a group of hairy arsed kids from New Zealand flew over the equator and into the modern age armed only with a few guitars, a drum kit and The Beginner's Guide to Rock Riffs. The contents of that book read as follows : Page 1, Rainbow. Page 2, Led Zeppelin. Page 3, Black Sabbath. Page 4, AC/DC.

 

Page 5 lists the 1975 Beginner's Guide To Becoming A Rock Band and the Datsuns have followed it to the letter. First of all, grow your hair. Long. Second; learn a few power chords (see pages 1-4). Third; insert a few twiddly guitar solos and finally, have your singer yell about something utterly incomprehensible and ridiculous (Harmonic Generators anyone?). PS. Wear tight clothes.

 

You see, it's that simple. Now I haven't got much time for The Datsuns on cd because if I want to listen to some AC/DC style rock outfit I'll go and listen to AC/DC. But seeing The Datsuns live is another matter because it's there that it all makes sense. Especially if you're in a field. If you've got 40 000 pissed up people looking for an excuse to throw their hands in the air and clap along with something then the Datsuns are the festival band of choice. Tonight however, they're playing the Melkweg, where there's only about 1000 of us. But we're all pissed up and we're all looking to throw our hands in the air and clap along to something. Hoorah!

 

The Datsuns are hilarious, and I mean that in a good way. They look strange, for a start. Singer and bass player Dolf de Datsun's eyes are far too close together to be trustworthy, but he has the coolest rock star haircut I've seen in donkeys. Guitarist Christian looks like the youngest 49 year old in history and on the other side of the stage you have Phil, who's the oldest 12 year old in history. At the back of the stage you have Matt on drums, and he even looks like a drummer – wild eyes and hair that won't behave. On top of that, they all wear the tightest trousers seen outside of Steven Tyler's wardrobe and they're the skinniest band I've seen in ages. Eat some pies gentlemen, please. Your mothers must be worried sick.

 

I suppose we could blame them for The Darkness (in which case they should be shot!) but watching this bunch of matchstick thin gonzo rock enthusiasts is an absolute hoot. They kick off with Get Up (Don't Fight It!) and before the third chord is thrashed the crowd are bouncing up and down. That Sure Ain't Right follows before we get a chance to draw breath and so the bouncing continues. Lady (which is still as ridiculous as it ever was) blasts out at a hundred miles an hour and brings the first full on mosh pit action. What fun! The band finally pause to say "hello" and to play with their hair for a bit before they carry on, playing everything at a ridiculous speed. When Harmonic Generator appears a few songs further in, the room just goes bananas. There are girls sitting on shoulders,  sweat is dripping from every brow in the place and there are even young lads trying to feel Christian's guitar strings. How rude. There are people falling over, clothes being ripped and plastic beer glasses flying everywhere. Woo and indeed hoo! It must be said that Christian's favourite guitar pose happens to be the Brian May one – you know, guitar neck held vertically and the screwed up face alongside it - and yet it doesn't matter. The kids LOVE IT!

 

The whole show is so ridiculously old fashioned. The play, they scream, they say Yeah Yeah at any given opportunity and the fact that it's all a bunch of bollocks doesn't make any difference. It's childish, it's brainless and it's a lot of fun. MF From Hell reminds everyone of the pleasure you used to get from swearing as a child whilst I Got No Words closes the main set and allows Christian enough room to pay tribute to those ridiculous guitar solos of old a couple more times before the band retreat into the wings for a quick breather.

 

 

Returning to the kind of cheers reserved for conquering heroes only, the band race through Blacken My Thumb, In Love, Where Eagles Dare and finally a ridiculously overblown Freeze Sucker, which is the worst song played this evening, but is rescued by the single most hilarious thing I've seen at a gig in years.

 

Just picture this. The oldest 12 year old in history is leaning over the front of the stage, milking the audience's affection for all he's worth. He may only be playing rhythm guitar but in the pit below him are a bunch of young Dutch lads, all eager to grab a hold of his guitar strings. He teases them, hanging his strings out, just above arms reach. Their arms raise up, as if in worship to him. He tests their faith. He turns around and lets himself fall backwards, hoping to enjoy a bit of crowd surfing. Sadly for Matt, the worshipping Nederlanders do a runner and instead of being held aloft like a hero, he's left to plummet from the stage and land on the floor. Flat on his back. As I let out a hearty guffaw and accidentally spray my beer all over the back of some poor lass' head a roadie runs to the front of the stage pointing and shouting furiously at the group of cowering young Dutchmen. They eventually raise Matt's winded body up from the floor, pass him across the front of the stage as if to say, "Oh. Now we get it!" and then drop him back on the stage like a wet cloth. Matt can only lie on his back, desperately trying to catch a breath whilst I've got tears streaming down my face from laughing too hard. Truly marvelous. You should have been there.