Rakel Mjöll of Dream Wife is cocking her head to the side and doing that faux-innocent smirk she does so well. She’s addressing the packed hall at Tufnell Park’s Dome at the band’s “biggest headline show in London to date.” The crowd’s here for her. And Bella Podpadec. And Alice Go.
Anticipation for this gig has been building like gas in a can of fizzy pop for weeks, and despite higher than high expectations, the Icelandic/Brightonian trio did not disappoint. Spirits were high as the crowd geared up to watch the headliners; gladrags were out in force (Dream Wife have extremely stylish fans) and a miniature dance party broke out as Teenage Dirtbag and Toxic played out of the speakers.
Ever wondered which song you’d walk out on stage to? Something tells me that Dream Wife have given it good thought. The opening verse of Björk’s It’s Oh So Quiet, so effective at anticipating a riot, chime out as Go, Podpadec and Mjöll walk out on stage.
And then you fall in love. Zing. Boom. There, suddenly, is what we’ve all been waiting for. The wild abandon of bassist Podpadec. The thunderous lightness of Go with her red guitar. The girlish disestablishmentarianism of Mjöll’s honeyed voice; each word an overripe nectarine that becomes a furious battle cry; poison dribbling down your chin.
Starting with EP01 bangers Hey Heartbreaker and Lolita, Dream Wife whip their beautiful crowd into a frenzy, the mosh pit perhaps the most saccharine and pastel-hued I’ve ever seen. New track Take It Back, which will no doubt feature on the forthcoming album, proved a popular coup, using the Dream Wife formula of a Stinging Riff added to a Crashing Rhythm Section and multiplied by a Catchy Riot Grrrl Chorus.
Latest single Somebody, which hurls accusatory venom at the perpetrators of sexual violence has the gathered mass (most of them women and girls) chant the refrain “I am not my body, I am somebody” in unison. The gleeful fury of this moment raises goosebumps despite the heat of hundreds of spinning bodies. Other highlights include FUU, which uses an extended introduction to build tension, and Everything, which the band dedicate to their friend Joanna who, we’re told, is moving to Canada.
It’s Let’s Make Hell with which Dream Wife end their headline show, its crashing melody not only the ideal way to finish their blistering set, but a call to arms for all the “bad bitches” gathered before them. The message is clear: go out into the world. Be a bad bitch. Listen to Dream Wife. Raise Hell.