Quick Review: Barb Wire Dolls Live at Stereo Glasgow


Isis Queen

This has to be a quickie. Team decibelROGUE’s bags are packed and we’re ready to head off to somewhere a lot warmer than here for a much needed holiday. So let’s crack on then…

Generally speaking, doing a little bit of research on a band that you’re going to be reviewing for the first time is a good idea. So when I got the chance to review Barb Wire Dolls’ album Desperate a few weeks ago, I had a read through their Facebook bio and thought WOW, this is gonna be good! Billed as being one of the best punk bands in a decade and with numerous stellar reviews of their work to date, their bio really was incredibly impressive. One review suggested that if you missed out on The Sex Pistols because you were too young or not born yet, the Barb Wire Dolls were one of the best bands playing that style of music today.

What made me all the more eager to listen to their album was that a couple of weeks before, I had the privilege of photographing punk legend John Lydon. So as you can imagine, decibelROGUE HQ had been rocking constantly to the sound of Never Mind The Bollocks in the days before that shoot. Needless to say, I was more than ready for some more good punk music. Thing is, when I finally got my hands on Desperate and played it for the first time, it was immediately obvious that it wasn’t a punk album. Not even maybe. It just doesn’t have the kind of intensity you get from an Exploited record or the visceral energy of The Sex Pistols. Punk – in that sense – it isn’t. Desperate owes more to 90’s grunge and alternative rock than 70’s punk. And from that perspective it’s a very good, well produced album. If anything it’s perhaps too well produced.


Isis Queen and (right) Pyn Doll

Now, I’ve not deliberately set out to be overly critical of the Barb Wire Dolls. But if any band draw comparisons between themselves and legendary figures like The Sex Pistols, they also hang a massive target on their back. You have to be able to walk that particular walk. And in terms of their latest studio album at least, the Barb Wire Dolls just don’t. Which brings me to their live show at Stereo Glasgow on Sunday night. And happily this is where things start to look better. Much, much better!

The difference between what you hear on their album and what you experience live is stark. Set free from the studio, the same set of songs absolutely explode into life with all the grittiness and dynamism that the album seemed to lack. The glowing reviews all began to make sense! In Isis Queen the band have a frontwoman who is an absolute star in the making, but each member of the band brought more than their fair share of thunder and attitude to the party.

I honestly can’t remember watching a band for the first time and being as impressed as much as I was by the Barb Wire Dolls. And their performance here is certainly right up there with the best gigs we’ve covered since decibelROGUE launched 15 months ago. The trick is how to get the intensity of their live performances into their next studio album. Now that would be really special!



Isis Queen (vocals)
Pyn Doll (lead guitar)
Krash Doll (drums)
Iriel Blaque (bass)
Remmington (rhythm guitar)


You can follow Barb Wire Dolls on Facebook HERE