Tupenny Bunters

Saturday 18th June


Open 5pm // Live music from 8:30pm

Dave and Fi Dulake became TUPPENNY BUNTERS in 2012, the same year they got married. Fi had been the Hammond player in Dave’s previous band, The Virgo Intacta, who were on The White Stripes “Satan” tour as 1st support. Parallel to running a notorious Southend music pub, The Railway Hotel, the duo, after naming themselves after Regency prostitutes, set about capturing the sound they perceived, a piano dripping garage/pop wall of melodies and chord shifts. Their first album was recorded live to a Studer in the cellar of the pub. They released it on their own label, Dansettual. Called “A Tuppenny Upright”, the results, while sketchy, present them well. At times, the piano (a Bluthner upright) threatens to cuddle you to death, at others it appears to be absently flipping you off, and the drums are tuned high, dirty and loonar. If they were cleverer, or could be bothered, they’d be prog. Cooler, or if they both dressed like Fi, they’d be psyche, and if they didn’t constantly feel the need to burst into song, for their sheer sonic nerve they’d be garage. The Bunters songwriting is all the way down the cracks between Pete Ham, Syd Barrett and Lionel Bart, but their live performance sits precariously on a web spun by X Ray Spex, The White Stripes, Wings and, well, Sparks, I guess – in that, you’re never quite sure who to watch. She smashes shit out of the kit with her hair going everywhere, while he, 20 years older and desperate to keep up, pounds the Fender Rhodes and screams his fucking head off, trying always for a snarling Steve Marriott but coming off more like an enraged Dean Friedman. Then they swap, and now you’re totally on the back foot, cos now he’s laying into the kit, and she’s up…her intense brown eyes staring you down; melodies from an age way before her time and a piercing, shrieking voice that only ever seems at home above top C. Fingernails scraping down a Marmite smeared blackboard. You won’t go to the bar though, cos then there are the songs, which, possibly against your better judgement, will tick one of your boxes. They’ll take you on an uncomfortable switchback ride through pop music’s wheat and chaff, and just when you think you’ve dissed it or nailed it, when you think “I can hear a bit of 10CC and The Damned in there…” then Billy Childish pops in with Julie Andrews and you still won’t know whether they’re tossers or visionarys. A review for Dave’s “Butterfingers” album in The Face back in 2003 called it “annoying and refreshing in equal parts”. In 2021, no lessons have been learnt, and the Bunters continue to baffle, irritate and spellbind wherever they go.