Tag Archives: Dog Is Dead

REVIEW: Dog Is Dead @ The Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 11 October

Just another little review I did for GigJunkie

In our stroll up to Hoxton Square we have the pleasure of encountering opening act, Stagecoach busking joyfully in front of a camera crew. And  while the skinny Shoreditch vampires that seem to generally haunt the place aren’t exactly charmed, the atmosphere inside The Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen is somewhat different when the Cardiff locals take to the stage.

Sounding like Los Campesinos! minus the girls and the violins but with the added power of a bald, burly male mandolin player, their quirky lyrics and wolf “howls” soon get everyone interested and paying attention. There’s no question that singer, Luka and Mandolin player Tom are having a good time, audience invasion, songs about bad heavy metal and bandana losses notwithstanding and so are we. We want to see them again. They’re great!

Next up is Dog Is Dead are without question trying to make an impression on everyone they play for. They’ve obviously spent time as choir boys as their blistering vocal harmonies bear testament… although if you didn’t notice that, they kindly open their set with an intro straight from Last Choir Stranding. As the set continues with instrument swaps, jazzy saxophone interludes and loveable lyrics, I can’t help getting the impression that Dog Is Dead are showing off a little. It’s obvious that they have a natural musicality and that they’re channelling everyone from Paul Simon to the Mystery Jets so why the smugness. You’re not the average band, you’re great, we get it, there’s no need to go over the top. That said, they’re easy to get lost in and with that much raw talent, they’re surely on the road to bigger and better things. We leave still not sure if vocalist, Rob, is more concerned that we know that they come from Nottingham or that he’s mentioned Nottingham too many times because everyone one of the (five or so) times he mentions they’re from Nottingham he also says that he thinks he’s mentioned it before. What I do know is that their cheery gospel choir jams have a quietly melancholy edge and they’re one to watch in the upcoming music scene.

You’re a million ways to be cool

Last night I unexpectedly went to one of the best gigs I have ever been to. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m not Shoreditch’s biggest fan. It’s over-hyped, grimy and the venues can be a bit weird but Cargo shoots that theory out of the water. It is one of the coolest looking places I’ve set foot in and its crazy Tim Burton-esque murals, “secret garden” and gorgeous little alcoves almost make me wish I didn’t already have a venue for my birthday party.

Now a lot of the time opening acts are just something you have to sit through before the band you really came to see gets on, but Dog Is Dead, completely destroyed that stereotype. Looking for all intents and purposes like they’d just wondered in from break at art school, this five piece that includes a saxophonist charmed the crowd from the first note. Sounding like Vampire Weekend with just a little Get Cape thrown in and belting out fabulously silly lyrics, they had the kind of music sensibility that suggest they’ve been classically trained.  Everyone but the drummer sings so they pack some pretty impressive harmonies and it took Em and I about five minutes to agree to go and see their headline show on 8 October. Anyone want to come?

Dog Is Dead

Dog Is Dead

And then OK Go came on and blew everyone I’ve seen this year out of the water. Flanked by walrus doppelganger, Tim Norwind and baby faced Andy Ross, Damian Kulash instantly commands attention to the point where he could give frontman lessons to up and coming bands. He is effortlessly and mesmerisingly sexy, his banter is on target and his voice gorgeous. But even if you manage to bypass the Kulash factor, this is a band that puts on a show. With their insane every-changing projected backdrop, random explosions of tickertape and a mid-set interlude that had them playing the whole of “What To Do?” on church hand bells (I actually recorded this but for some evil reason YouTube crashes my whole laptop every time I try to upload it), one would expect their “gimmicks” to overtake them, but the band chemistry is so good and the venue so small it just felt like being at some kind of mad party where everything is going right.

The Kulash Effect

The Kulash Effect

We were treated to a number of tracks from their upcoming January release and I’m pleased to say they’re just as energetic, bouncy and charmingly dark as all the old favourites. I absolutely cannot wait. Now I’m just bleak that I’ll be in South Africa when they come back to tear up Shepherd’s Bush in January.

Here’s a little video of Get Over It and some pics.