Reading Festival: Brody Dalle

Punk Rock’s leading lady relies on old material to keep crowd interested

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As Smells Like Teen Spirit rings out over the PA, it’s time for Brody Dalle to take the stage in the Lock Up tent. She’s no stranger to Reading Festival, having played the Main Stage with The Distillers in 2004 and the NME/Radio 1 Stage with Spinnerette in 2009, but this is her first outing as a true solo artist.

There are plenty of intrigued onlookers and diehard fans in the tent as Brody and her backing band kick into Rat Race from her debut solo outing, Diploid Love, and the cheers erupt. Opening strongly with new material, Brody then goes headfirst into Distillers songs Dismantle Me and Sick Of It All. Pits open up down the front and the crowd’s reaction is feral. It’s clear that although Brody has staying power, the solo material on its own won’t hold the audience’s attention just yet. People still want to hear cuts from Sing Sing Death House and Coral Fang and although that’s entirely reasonable, it’s a shame that those songs outshine the likes of single Don’t Mess With Me.

There’s little interaction with the crowd, but when you’re as cool as Brody you can command an entire room with just a look. Punk Rock through-and-through, her raspy voice and low-slung guitar slice through on new song Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy and Distillers oldie Hall of Mirrors. Perhaps her solo material hasn’t entirely filtered through yet and that’s the reason the crowd showed up for a covers set, but Brody should stick to her guns as the next phase of her career flourishes. The songs are strong enough and sound fantastic in the live setting: hopefully one day her audience will catch up with her as she steps out of the shadow of her past.