Dream Nails, The Victoria, 20 June
For those who are unfamiliar with London’s burgeoning women-led DIY music scene, a spell was cast during the summer of 2015 where women realised we could do it all ourselves.
DREAM NAILS, describing themselves as “feminist punk witches from hell”, embody everything this movement stands for; a DIY attitude, an unapologetically angry voice to shout about injustices women face, and an inspiring support for fellow artists by being a fearless beacon for future bands who might wish to follow suit.
In true riot grrrl tradition, DREAM NAILS demand “girls to the front” before their set at The Victoria in Dalston with a pounding chant. Their music is fast, driving, energetic, catchy, sparkly, fun, fabulous, furious, dangerous and awesome. Former NME scribe, Ngaire Ruth once described their sound as “Ramones meets Bikini Kill”, which is as apt as you like. If punk music stands for counter-culture against the mainstream, you better believe DREAM NAILS are doing a mighty fine job of it.
Politically-charged and resoundingly empowering, DREAM NAILS are not afraid to shout about the issues affecting women today – with songs such as ‘Vagina Police’ and ‘Joke Choke’ addressing body ownership and rape jokes respectively.‘Fascism Is Coming’ encourages us to “get out of bed” and be active in the face of oppressive politics. A hooky af guitar riff kicks in as we hear ‘Deep Heat’ – a fiery ditty these witches used as a hex on Donald Trump during the American Presidential election. As its iconic words: “Nobody cares if your dick is on fire”, stream out during the chorus, I can’t help but feel a warm appreciation for this band.
‘DIY’ is an absolutely outstanding tune not only musically, as one of the band’s more upbeat, poppy tracks, but in that it is a stand-out foundation for everything this band is about (the record is the first track on their first release, DIY). It is a joyful celebration about any number of things women are great at – or, put simply, can do – whether it’s putting shelves up, fighting your own corner, making peanut butter, or making yourself come. The entire track is marked throughout by encouraging gang vocals screaming DO IT YOURSELF, and I defy anyone who can refuse to join in and feel the affirmation.
Lead singer Janey edited the track’s music video, which is comprised of submitted clips from friends and fans being active, handy and creative in all sorts of wonderful ways. DREAM NAILS have never had a manager, and will be crowdfunding their next EP. DREAM NAILS want you to know – “You are good enough / You are smart enough”.
Definitely ones to watch, the band supported Cherry Glazerr on their European tour earlier this year and LA-based band Bleached to a sold-out venue tonight. The band played Glastonbury 2017 and will appear at Tramlines and Loud Women festivals this summer, keeping the spirit of DIY bands well and truly alive during this particularly active period of women in music necessarily carving out their own space in London’s grassroots music scene.
Words: Beth White
Photo credit: Jon Mo Photography
Beth White is a singer/songwriter from north west London and founder of Who Run The World.