The Soap Girls Live Review – "Stinks Like Punk Tour", The Monarch.
The Soap Girls, a colourful Riot Grrl act from South Africa, are currently on a “Stinks Like Punk Tour” that started in April and runs until November 2018. The band, comprised of Camille and Noemie Debray, are, at times, equally as famous for their music as the controversy that surrounds their no-nonsense approach to life. This has made them, in my eyes, a duo with a big future in music despite the absence of label representation.
Frankly, I relish a bit of anarchic wit when I’ve paid for the right to be entertained. I mean, really, who wants to see emotions being played out before them? I enjoyed watching the banter between the two sisters, who, in one exchange at The Monarch, argued about who was the greater talent. The answer between the two was that one is superior, while the other was only suitable for making cups of tea that were never drunk.
One of the things the band likes to do while on stage is invite members of the crowd to join them for daring feats involving semi-nudity. They usually try to convince a man (or men) to strip to their underwear so they can change into an adult diaper (which is then filled with a pot of chocolate mousse) in return for an unspecified alcoholic beverage.
Two people responded to the call for volunteers, but only one of them was brave enough to go through with the challenge.
A bearded reveller, who would subsequently spend his evening throwing himself around an excitable moshpit while a trail of brown liquid slowly tricked down his inside leg, was rewarded for his bravery with a “One-Eyed Willie” which he reviewed as tasting like regret.
The first participant (whose nerve had understandably failed him halfway through the dare), slowly moved to one side as the bearded exhibitionist beside him tried to obscure his jewels while hurriedly disrobing.
“I love how you’re standing next to me,” Noemie said to him as he backed away from centre stage and edged closer to her, “Like I’m the safe one!” Camille, ever eager to fire witty retorts towards her sibling, replied: “She’s a bitch!”
One thing about The Monarch is you can never be sure if they will close their curtains or not. On this occasion, they remained open with many passers-by understandably curious about what was going on through the looking glass.
Camille, noticing a continuous swell of spectators rise and fall on the streets of Chalk Farm, threatened a striptease of her own as the crowds kept stealing photos on their mobile devices.
Thankfully, this playful threat was not acted upon.
Mark and Caitlin, who were introduced to us as friends of the sisters, were called on stage by the band who immediately warned us all to watch our pockets as the pair were South African. “They’ve come all this way to watch the show!” one sister exclaimed with child-like glee. “No, they didn’t,” the other snapped back playfully. “You liar!”
The next song they played was one about their apartment block back home in S.A, which they’d been advised to rent because it was deemed safer than where they’d previously been living. Unfortunately, relations quickly soured, with one neighbour deciding to take it upon themselves to stone Camille and Noemie’s home whenever they picked up an instrument.
Surely, there is a better way to protest noise than that?
A couple of other people decided to expose themselves throughout the evening as The Soap Girls continued to power through an explosive set. This included Alan ‘Yebut’ Davies, who has a large tattoo of Hands Off Gretel singer Lauren Tate on his chest, before members of both sexes (within an increasingly inebriated crowd) threw caution to the wind and became “Bad Bitches” by removing their shirts so they could twirl them above their heads like they were football fans from a bygone age.
I’d taken a seat by this point, in favour of writing notes for this review, but I leapt into action as soon as I saw my friend Michael Welch had decided to join in the madness. Luckily for him, my camera failed to gather any evidence of his scandalous behaviour.
The last song arrived with a skit about the Bogey Man being rebranded to become a Boogie Man. He was now a creature, identified as a male attendee standing yards away from me, armed with a cane (he didn’t physically possess) that would beat any reveller whose feet remained grounded for any second during a raucous finale. There were calls for more, once their time was up, but a curfew had to be adhered to.
Camden had rocked, and will again in early June.
Words by Lisa Knight.