Kerrang Issue 286 April 1990
STAGE DOLLS, MARQUEE, LONDON
THE STAGE Dolls are in danger of overstaying their already slender welcome. A recent Fish support tour; a handful of headline British dates to their name and now another Marquee headline. Their persistence is nothing if not dogged though not fully rewarded either. The turnout – and don t forget its a Friday night – doesn’t merit the opening of the upstairs bar.
The Stage Dolls, now a visible four piece with a keyboard player rising from behind the line of Marshalls look relieved anyway. The strain of the Fish hardcore dutiful in word to the man alone has taken its toll. The Dolls aredelighted to be playing as a headline band glorious in the glow of their own crowd. There is an unlikely thrashout at the front, interested stragglers atthe back. The core is as tough as an apple stem concentrated toward Torstein Flaknes hackneyed though heartfelt resume of rock arid roll thank yous before they step easily into Hanoi Waters. The sound is, as the spine of their material, a smooth passage of harmonies and hummability. Hell on wheels it’s not, though no less satisfying because of that.
“Lorraine” is a freewheeling US highway smash that never was; toe tapping, finger clicking, irritatingly catchy. The visual Vacuum of two vocalists but no frontman acts, this time, as no hindrance on the equipment cluttered Marquee stage. The combination of Terje and Flakne’s voices clear and steely, pushing toward the silent balcony.
‘Love Cries’ is warm and quickly welcomed, while ‘Still in Love’ steps all over the feet of KISS’s ‘Lick it Up’; a legal technicality away from trouble. The verse’s are brimming, the chorus the weakest link.
As yet, the sum of parts doesn’t quite make up the visual live whole; though glaze over the momentary cracks and the Stage Dolls could be one international hit single from stadia eternity. It could happen any day now….