Review | The Courettes at The Loft, Southsea: 'A masterclass in connecting with rock'n'roll's primal roots'

Apparently The Courettes have been up since the small hours after their flight out of Denmark was delayed and didn't leave until 3am.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 11:14 am
The Courettes at The Loft, Southsea on October 15, 2021. Picture by Paul Windsor

But if they're tired, it certainly doesn't show as guitarist/vocalist Flavia Couri and husband Martin on drums deliver a masterclass in connecting with rock'n'roll's primal roots.

This is the long-awaited first night of a UK tour – this gig was originally scheduled for last March. And now the Portsmouth date is also doubling as the release party for their new album.

That new album, Back in Mono, is a quest for audio fidelity (and great songs, natch) – a mission to attain an authentic Wall of Sound, a la Phil Spector.

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Flavia Couri of The Courettes at The Loft, Southsea on October 15, 2021. Picture by Paul Windsor

But live the duo are a whirling blur of garage-rock that cleaves far closer to one of their other influences – The Sonics.

From the opening number, Flavia is a head-banging dervish, while Martin is a man possessed – the sweat is soon flying.

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From The Ronettes to The Sonics - meet The Courettes when they come to The Loft,...

Many of their songs sound like they should be covers, but they are all originals. Sixties' girl-group choruses meld with Duane Eddie's twang and the Nuggets' compilation’s clang.

New single R.I.N.G.O. is an oh-so-catchy love song to The Beatles' drummer, while the self-explanatory title Trash Can Honey is dedicated to their former record label.

We're All Gonna Die is prefaced with a reminder of why we all need to seize the moment after 18 months of cloistering.

And then Boom! Dynamite! features a suitably explosive singalong from the audience.

Strawberry Boy slows things down a touch, giving all concerned a well-earned breather.

The Loft is sold out, with the crowd packing out the dancefloor, and even invading the stage – in the politest way possible – for the main set's climax, Hop The Twig.

But the pair are of course 'called back' for an encore (they never actually leave the stage), finishing with the raucous Voodoo Doll.

Forget your White Stripes or Black Keys – this is a rock duo at its most primitive and thrilling.

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