Welcome to the dollhouse
Lolitapop Dollhouse makes its debut at the Zephyr
Last week, the Zephyr became ground zero for naughty little nymphet fallout, and Lolitapop Dollhouse was at its nadir.
This show really brought out the social butterflies.
Coincidentally, there is a nymphalid butterfly called the Zephyr, or polygonia zephyrus. I think I heard that butterfly song by Crazy Town playing in the background.
I ask front man Liam Conran if he has any butterflies in his stomach.
“I’m a little nervous, because we only have, like, six songs,” Conran said. “And we just learned one of them last night.”
The name Lolitapop Dollhouse was taken from a Momus song by the same name.
"[Momus] gave us his blessing and said he would be delighted and honored if we used the name for our band,” Conran said.
One might get the impression that the provocative word combination of Lolita with lollipop suggests that sexually precocious schoolgirls are like candy on a stick, but Conran doesn’t think so.
“I don’t know what it means, really. It’s just cool,” Conran said.
Lolitapop’s debut show is dedicated to the late conspiracy writer Jim Keith, whose nephew, Chris Davis, plays in the band.
“His name is always the first name on our guest list,” Conran said. “Just in case he shows up and can’t afford the cover charge.”
In the Momus song, there is a line before the “Lolitapop Dollhouse” chorus that goes: “I’m going to tear my playhouse down.” With four guitarists, the band needed a little Dollhouse deconstruction just to fit on stage. One of them would have to play off-stage, literally in the crowd.
“The reason I don’t play keyboards anymore is because I tended to injure people when I played,” Davis said.
Since the keyboard no longer poses a threat, the guitar-wielding Davis was consigned to playing on the floor.
While having four guitarists might prove one body too many on a small stage, it definitely adds a more full-bodied sound to the band overall. And that sound comprises various bands with their own respective signature sounds.
Fall Silent’s guitarist Danny Gilecki plays bass in this venture. Acrylic/Atomiks guitarist Steve Larkins and his brother, Superego and Id drummer Gabe Larkins, joined in.
“It’s cool playing in a band with my brother,” Larkins said, “because our mom doesn’t really like either of the other bands we play in.”
I didn’t ask her if she liked Lolitapop Dollhouse, because she was too busy dancing.
Acrylic’s Johnny “Thunder” Vandenberg and Chris Davis, both on guitars, and Acrylic lead singer Liam Conran round out the group. But this band is not the latest incarnation of Acrylic, Conran said.
“We sometimes joke about just changing the name to Acrylic, but that would raise some difficulties, since Acrylic is still around,” he said.
While Acrylic is alive, it is perhaps in a state of suspended animation, since guitarist Neil Edwards moved to Portland, Ore.
Lolitapop’s music was cool, running along parallel lines to Radiohead or Coldplay. If the Momus philosophy remains an influence, the band will probably stay topical. (There is a song called “It’s Important to Be Trendy” on The Philosophy of Momus album.)
The band performs a haunting Jeff Buckley/Leonard Cohen cover of “Hallelujah” before the set is officially over, but they expected the opening act to go longer. The night is still young.
“We don’t have any more songs,” Conran pleaded with the audience.
A riot seemed imminent. I look around for the nearest exit.
With crisis averted, it’s back to the dollhouse now until their next gig; the band will be "taking some time to write more material," said Conran.