April 12, 2024

The Courettes – Live In Leeds 2023 – “somewhere between The Trashmen and The Shangri-las”

Live at the Brudenell Social Club         6th September 2023

Immaculately cool as a classic duo, carefully styled in couture, attitude and music, The Courettes look like they sound – and that’s really good. They also call themselves The Fabulous Courettes and that matches the ultra-styled sixties look as well as the garage pop sound. Like a rocked up Gainsbourg and Birkin, Martin is slightly louche and dishevelled in a biker cap and unstructured jacket, while Flavia is carefully made up and tailored.

Despite the careful image, the energy and determination to turn “your Wednesday into a Saturday” is very special, with Flavia whooping and getting us all to join in, while Martin’s drier comments tip the hat at the rock and roll game. Lifting us up by our shoelaces, energy rises and we are gripped as an hour flashes by. A blur of energy (that’s why our pictures are so crappy….), Flavia rushes about, posing, pouting, waving that guitar. She’s not a sixties girlie singer – she’s a rock and roll guitar queen. Demonstrating just enough control and just enough abandon, the guitar shreds and she even rips out some solos towards the end, with the audience willing her on.

The looks, leaps and struts of Flavia drive things on as much as Martin’s drums and the simple songs transform into primal rock and roll. Imagine The Cramps at their jungle-drums best but stripped even further back and fused with a sensibility that comes out of The Shangri-las as much as The Trashmen. There’s a wink at the influences and a wry smile alongside acknowledging the primal importance of the beat. Sixties genres are gently subverted in love songs like ‘Until You’re Mine’ or surfbeat boogies like ‘Trash Can Honey’. Songs like ‘Want You Like A Cigarette’ make me smile and as a perfect starter, try ‘R.I.N.G.O’ – “done with McCartney, I want Richard Starkey”!

We get a song in Japanese, we are asked “are you ready for more smash hits” and successfully exhorted to clap or whoop or shout cheerful obscenities at their old record label. We are even treated to the stage debut of ‘All About You’, with its Beatley chords, and ‘Shake’ before an extended ‘Hop The Twig’, replete with a Dick Dale intro, stop/starts, journeys into the audience, solos and fun.

This is the sort of evening when the energy, instead of leaving you happily drained, ends with you buzzing.


Ross McGibbon

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