The Duloks, Bestival 2009

Set free, Mira hunts through the crowd like a predator, seeking out unsuspecting drunkards to terrorise as they sleep off their stupor.

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Date: 13 Sep 2009 | By Paul Leake | Rating: 3-5
The Duloks, Bestival 2009

We're swimming upstream against the slew of adolescent Kooks fans, rushing downhill after Luke Pritchard's solo set, desperately trying to catch a glimpse of him. The Bandstand is now graced by The Duloks, three girls from East London, wearing their trademark track-jock attire. As they unpack their drum kit and a tiny, battered keyboard, you realise that this is going to be a no-frills performance. They look nervous against the backdrop of drab and dreary nimbostratus clouds; a surprising emotion for a band that's used to small and darkened venues in the hardened east of a cold metropolis.

Beginning with songs from their six-track debut album, 'Children Of The Sea', Mira Dulok almost pulls half the stage away with her microphone cord after an impromptu lunge toward a standing fan. The sound technician is clearly unprepared for her cage rage, now handing her a wireless for her next song. Set free, she hunts through the crowd like a predator, seeking out unsuspecting drunkards to terrorise as they sleep off their stupor. Engaging in some shameless plugging of her day job and alter-ego, she dedicates the hilarious and deranged 'Bad Vegetarian' to Lush Ltd. An almost Dadaist hymn, The Duloks chastise fair-weather vegetarians, and Mira channels the great Almighty himself to decree that thou shalt not eat anything with a face. Songs like this highlight the simplistic appeal of trio; while their set isn't polished and perfect, their eccentricities and humour have the audience's rapt attention. As Mira stands in the crowd with her laces untied, a middle-aged woman ties them for her, leading Mira to ask if she can be part of her family.

With all the exuberance of a half-cocked Jarvis Cocker, Mira evokes images of a wayward child, standing in the front of the mirror and dreaming of being a musician; it's erratic, natural and enchanting. As a group, they have a sisterly dynamic: Mar is the older sister, acting as the voice of authority, Abi is the middle sister, the voice of reason, and Mira is the irascible, younger sister, difficult to control. In 'Not My Scissors, Not My Socks', we belabour a failed relationship and the dearth of good men. The songs from their debut all seem to follow a similar theme of doomed romance, conveying anger in the most absurdly happy and forceful way imaginable.

The greatest moment of the girls' preposterous set came from '(Gonna Follow Your) Star Trail', a song which is so memorable and moving, and yet educes a sense of sadness beneath the hilarity. With that final song, the girls have to leave the stage to make way for the next artist, but not before the crowd give them a riotous send off of applause and whistles. Though they are named after the Ewoks' villainous enemies, this is one occasion where you'll find yourself cheering for the dark side.

Photo: Martin Davies