Gig Review: Chinese punk women Dummy Toys triumph in Leiden, the Netherlands

During their 2024 European tour, street punk band Dummy Toys played their only Dutch date. Herman de Tollenaere was there to catch up with the band!

On 11 May, the Resistor venue in Leiden, the Netherlands, hosted a concert by one band from China, and one band from Belgium. Resistor is a DIY place, often attracting enthusiastic audiences to punk gigs.

Dummy Toys play fast, raw, punk with lyrics about subjects like environmental destruction, freedom and domestic violence. On the street in front of the venue, I met their guitarist Xiaoniao. She reacted enthusiastically to my Linda Lindas badge. photographing it. Dummy Toys recognized my Japanese language anti-war badge by Crass; Chinese and Japanese languages  differ, but the characters for writing them are similar. My Maid of Ace hoodie caused them to look forward to the August 2024 Rebellion festival in Blackpool, where both Dummy Toys and Maid of Ace will play.

Dummy Toys European Tour 2024

Though it was the night of the Eurovision Song Contest final, and, more importantly, there was another punk gig only a mile away, many people had come. The jampacked hall was filled with both teenagers and people who had gone to punk concerts for decades.

Announced support the Belgian band Faroutski from Kortrijk were unable to play; fortunately another Belgian band, from Mouscron, Unwanted Tattoo replaced them. (Faroutski bassist Rine Amelynck is also in this band) It was a different line up as they were missing Annette Declercq, their female singer/one of two guitarists, who is leaving, with a male vocalist/guitarist playing his first Unwanted Tattoo concert. A band member with a Scoundrels t-shirt on told me that they were regulars in the studio in Wernhout near the Netherlands-Belgian border, where the Scoundrels also record.

Sometimes Unwanted Tattoo sounded a bit like The Cramps. They played the Cramps song ‘Human Fly‘; red-haired bassist Rine looked a bit like Poison Ivy. Lots of people started dancing fervently!

Tattoo On The Brat‘ was their cover of ‘Beat On The Brat‘. The singer hsd sunglasses on, like Joey Ramone in the original song, but had no baseball bat, as he had to play one of the two guitars.

During the Unwanted Tattoo set, the Dummy Toys girls were in the front row, applauding and taking photos.

Unwanted Tattoo set list

Dummy Toys are from the Chinese east coast port city of Qingdao. It has over six million inhabitants and punk bands play there regularly!

Blonde Qing is the tallest band member, but often you don’t see that, as she is on drums. Blonde Huanzi plays bass, Quin, with her double green and black mohican hairdo, is on vocals. Then, Xiaoniao with her red mohican plays a flying V guitar.

After an instrumental intro, Quin sang her first song: ‘Street Punk Girls‘. Then, ‘S.O.S‘ and ‘Not A Puppet‘. The audience jumped around wildly.

The front half of the packed hall became a billowing ocean. While in the less hectic back half, the people also showed how much they liked the band.

Dummy Toys played their last song. Of course, it was not really the last song, as the audience asked for, and got, an encore.

After the show, I asked Quin to tell me more. She said that the band had been founded in 2015. She had joined in 2018. Before that, she had been in another all-girl band called Meow, which had existed for two years. “We write our songs together, often in our practice room.”

Until 2023, all Dummy Toys gigs were in China. Then, they played their first European tour, visiting Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. They played one gig in the Netherlands at a festival in Ansen village, before finishing at Rebellion festival in Blackpool, England.

After their first LP, I Am Not A Puppet, came their second LP, War Is Nightmare. Since then, they have written and played two new songs, intended eventually for their third LP.

Many people in the Leiden audience went to the merch table after the show, for getting Dummy Toys albums and other items. Though for Unwanted Tattoo Leiden is 170 kilometres away from home, and for Dummy Toys it is 8000 kilometres, once again in the Resistor, Punk proved to transcend all borders!

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