In which the English north-east's most resilient nutters take the stage before a roomful of Germans and reduce the language barrier to a mere hiccup in the road. Of all the bands to have survived the 30-odd years since punk, the perseverance of the Toy Dolls is one of the most remarkable stories -- there is, after all, no logical reason why such a highly stylized lyrical approach should translate into as many different cultures and languages as the band has albums. Or maybe there is; the music is just so damned contagious that they could be singing in Double-Dutch and they'd still be brilliant. Recorded at the end of the 1990s, but of course already playing all the classics for which we love them, this is a stunning performance by a band that was built for the road. Two-dozen-plus songs include riot-torn performances of "She Goes to Finos," "Fisticuffs on Frederick Street," "Cloughy Is a Boot Boy," and more similar colloquialisms than you could shake a stick at. But the crowd knows every word and, and when "Nellie the Elephant" packs her trunk at the end of the night, the Dolls could easily have played another 25 songs, and still nobody would have got tired of them. Rock on! ~ Dave Thompson
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