Dog Is Dead, Riverside, Newcastle, 27th February

Hello darling reader (you see how charming and lovely I’m being? Please don’t shout), I know I’ve been quiet but I promise this will be fixed soon, I currently more concerned about moving as far away from Sunderland as possible and flying to America on Monday. An extra treat there, as my Dad is taking me to see Bombay Bicycle Club whilst I’m out there. But back to what you actually want to read. Here’s a review I wrote as part of my degree (it scored a First y’know, we’ll not mention my terrible other results though) and even though it is donkey’s old I thought it was really rather good. Enjoy!

Every year, at least one critic lambasts the death of the guitar band. This is usually down to a decline in sales, a drop in popularity of the instrument and the rise of some incredibly named and hastily invented genre. But if tonight’s headliners having anything to say about it, guitar music is possibly entering its most exciting phase in recent years.

Openers Athletes In Paris took advantage of the scant crowd to delve straight into the middle with an a cappella version of latest single ‘Echoes Louder Than Voices’. It received the full electric treatment later, buoyed by samba sounds and dance moves from lead singer Matt Robson that would make Friendly Fires jealous. Intermeshing this poppier sound with their earlier, traditional indie with seemingly over-exaggerated North-Eastern accents a la The Futureheads, Athletes In Paris put a show on of inoffensive pop that its was hard to feel anything but indifferent about.

Fiction stepped up to the plate, using some fantastic guitar trickery to eek some ethereally wonderful sounds from their instruments. The array of vocal dexterity and layered sounds were let down bye the band mumbling their way through the obligatory banter with the crowd. In fact, I was almost inclined to start an incredibly load and boarish “Who Are Ya?” chant, not to be obnoxious and prove my worth as a closet football fan, but to address the fact that this simple piece of information that it is the band name managed to avoid leaving anyone’s mouth until the dying moments of the set.

Thankfully, Dog Is Dead were here to save the day. Practically playing their instruments to the point of torture, they produced a depth and lush array of sounds that were hard to believe existed. Playing to a room less than half full of painfully young and bandy legged indie stereotypes, the band clearly revelled in the intimate atmosphere, at one point even starting a dance off, which saw back flips and cartwheels bounding round the venue. Their lyrical scanning and phrasing is similar to that of their contempories The Maccabees and Bombay Bicycle Club, which is also reflected in the addition of some superb brass. The highlight of the set had to be new single Two Devils, which contained some disarming four piece harmonies combined with such beautiful intricate guitar work proving that the genre is far from dead. In fact, with Dog Is Dead, guitar music is more alive than ever.


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