All About Abs

No Doubt remains just a one-woman show

No Doubt with the Faint at Kool Haus, Thursday (April 11). Tickets: $42.75. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNNN

Rating: NNNN

gwen stefani has just about the worst fashion sense I have ever seen. “Look, Mommy! I dressed my Superstar Barbie up as a bad-ass pimp clown!””Good for you, dear!”

She also can’t dance to save her life.

It’s all just part of the goofy charm the poor man’s Madonna displayed Thursday night at Kool Haus to the delight of the sold-out crowd, a good chunk of which was composed of young girls (and one boy) posing as Stefani herself.

Ah, the circle of life. No Doubt gave a lively and colourful performance of their particular brand of ska- and new-wave-inspired pop hits from the albums Tragic Kingdom and Return Of Saturn as well as newer songs from the recent Rocksteady, which added a more roots reggae/ragga and hiphop element to the mix.

Openers the Faint were the perfect contrast, beginning the evening with hokey, dark late-80s alterna synth pop à la NIN and Depeche Mode. The members, of course, were all clad in black and prone to slouching around.

If it sounds like appearance was as important as music in the case of this show, it’s because No Doubt have never been able to ride on musicianship alone. Stefani’s image is at least half the band’s appeal nobody would bother with the band if she were less charismatic or a male singer.

Older songs like Just A Girl and Don’t Speak elicited the strongest response from the crowd, who chimed in so loud that Stefani didn’t even have to sing if she didn’t want to — proof that as a package No Doubt have produced a lasting effect.

Here is also proof, if we needed it, that it doesn’t always take any particular originality or brilliant musicians to put on a thoroughly enjoyable show.

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