Cold War Kids wow the crowds at Glasgow's Stag And Dagger

Stag And Dagger (Glasgow) 2009 review

published: Wed 27th May 2009

Cold War Kids

Saturday 23rd May 2009
various venues across Glasgow, G2 3JA, Scotland MAP
early bird £10
daily capacity: 4500
last updated: Wed 15th Apr 2009

On an unusually bright and sunny evening in Glasgow, the multi-venue festival Stag & Dagger takes over the city centre, ending its three day festival tour.

Following on from dates in London and Leeds the previous two nights, Glasgow proved to be a more than adequate city to end the run.

Having expanded from the single city event of 2008, taking place in London, the event has grown, and judging by the attendance of the festival, the Camden Crawl style festival is proving a hit north of the border.

Topping the bill at the headline venue, the ABC, were Long Beach alternative-rockers Cold War Kids. But preceding the main act were two local acts that are starting to really make a name for themselves up and down the county; Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad.

Frightened Rabbit
In a simple two-piece format, Frightened Rabbit, greatly impressed, with the majority of the crowd already knowing most of the lyrics, it seemed that I was one of the few being educated, but I was still very impressed.

Despite being clearly nervous about being the only member at the front of the stage, the lead singer and sole guitarist provided a very tight performance, with 'Fast Blood' really sticking out, showing clear influences from fellow Scottish band Biffy Clyro.

Following them at the ABC, The Twilight Sad, provided a very tight performance, and with songs such 'That Summer I Stayed At Home' and had 'Beco', very much echoing the work of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Mogwai, the band go down very well with the local band, with the majority of the crowd, as with Frightened Rabbit, already aware of what a talent they are.

Over at the city's Art School, downstairs in the old Vic Bar, San-Francisco electronic act Lemonade, took to the stage to a small, but curious set of fans, eager to see what all the fuss is after the band are becoming increasingly more popular in their country. Offering a very simple, but well rehearsed performance, the band treated the crowd to their samba-style rhythms and synth melodies, resulting in a mass dance off between the five people closest to the stage, with many other choosing to watch on in appreciation.

White Denim
Upstairs at the Art School, highly acclaimed Texan rockers White Denim, took to the stage, living up to the incredible hype that's surrounding the band leading up to the release of their new album at the end of next month. Songs such as 'Don't Look That Way At It' and 'All Truckers Roll' really emphasise how diverse the band are switching from their more bluesy songs to their more up-tempo songs with almost seamless transition.

Back over at the ABC, Cold War Kids, take to the stage for their headline performance, not disappointing any of the eager audience. With the band dipping into songs from all of their albums, songs such as 'Something Is Mot Right With Me' and the simply brilliant 'Hang Me Up To Dry' showing to me that band have gone from strength to strength since two years ago when I last saw them. The band seem to be enjoying more than ever, bouncing off each throughout the performance as they switch between the several instruments on stage, and the crowd feed off this, singing back every word. A fantastic headline performance, from a band, which, dare I say, should be starting to think of playing higher profile slots at major festivals in the country.

After the end of Cold War Kids, it's a fifteen minute run across town to the Classic Grand, a back to basics music venue, with no crowd barriers or security, which would later produce an intense performance. Playing the last slot in the Classic Grand were the highly acclaimed Black Lips, currently touring to promote their new album.

Delivering a fantastic performance, songs such as 'O'Katrina' from their debut album slide perfectly into their set, with songs from their new album complementing their old songs. But despite the fantastic performance, the night was let down the over rowdy crowd spilling onto the stage, jumping off stage monitors, prompting the band's bass player to claim "...someone's gonna die, and it ain't gonna be me", to which the lead guitarist smiled, revealing his row of silver teeth. This band mean business and getting through the band deliver the perfect end to a very successful festival.

Stag & Dagger has proved to a be major after its expansion, and judging by the success of this year's event, I feel it can only get better.
review by: Anthony Hetherington

photos by: Anthony Hetherington

Saturday 23rd May 2009
various venues across Glasgow, G2 3JA, Scotland MAP
early bird £10
daily capacity: 4500
last updated: Wed 15th Apr 2009

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