The Show: Wednesday, May 22, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Trees

By Ken Shimamoto

I used to be a sucker for anything that smacked of the MC5, those revolution-ranting late ‘60s, early ‘70s purveyors of Detroit Rock ramalama. That was before everyone and his sister got into the act, from Sweden’s hirsute Hellacopters to the guy at South by Southwest who tried pressing his band’s demo c.d. into my hand with the assurance that his outfit sounded “just like the Five.” Trouble is, ever since “garage rock” became fashionable with Rolling Stone, Spin, et al. — White Stripes, Hives, Vines, what’s a mother to do? — it’s gotten harder to separate the wheat from the MC5-wannabe chaff.

For some reason (probably Radio Birdman), the Five have always been a bigger signifier in Australasia than back here in the U.S.A., and loads of Aussie bands bow daily toward the Motor City but never to any Kiwis — until now. The Datsuns (first syllable rhymes with “hat” not “dot”) hail from Wellington, New Zealand — think Lord of the Rings, Crowded House, sheep instead of kangaroos, Maoris instead of aborigines, Steinlager instead of Foster’s (which, BTW, no one in Australia drinks). At Dallas’ Club Clearview a few seasons back, the influence was unmistakable: the spins, the backbends, the guitars up in the air ... the Datsuns had all the patented Five stage moves down pat, in spite of the fact that the combined body weight for all four of the band members couldn’t have exceeded 500 lbs.

Like the aforementioned Hellacopters, the Datsuns also borrow liberally from the usual ’70s suspects like Kiss, Cheap Trick, and AC/DC. Last year, they signed to ex-Virgin mogul Richard Branson’s new V2 label for more money than God after taking the assembled British music press by storm, and they released their eponymous debut disc here in February. While not brilliant songwriters, they’re as energetic and exciting as any five other bands you’re likely to see. Kia Ora!

Thu, May 29 at Trees, 2709 Elm St, Dallas. 214-748-5009.


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