Micachu ends Stag & Dagger on a sparkling, yet ramshackle high

Stag And Dagger (Leeds) 2009 review

published: Tue 26th May 2009

Friday 22nd May 2009
various venues across Leeds, UK
early bird £10
daily capacity: 4500
last updated: Wed 15th Apr 2009

It's only been a few weeks since a similar set-up, Live At Leeds, took over the city. Luckily however the wide-spread venues and massive queues that beleaguered that event have obviously been taken into account by Stag and Dagger organisers. Instead of using venues miles apart, this festival has decided on five small venues all within easy walking distance of each other.

The first stop of the night is TJ's Woodhouse Club on the city outskirts which, to the unassuming, sounds somewhat like a dilapidated old-man's working venue. On the contrary, with an almost cavernous main room, half made up of lamp lit award ceremony-esque tables, the dance floor quickly fills up for Abe Vigoda's frantic shambolic amalgamation of spiky pop-punk and cascading noise-rock. Juxtaposed with Michael Vidal's barely discernible vocals and culminating with an ecstatic 'Skeleton', this band is a gawky delight.

On the other hand, Crystal Antlers, don't waste time with tumbling off-kilter rhythms. Their moody, yet uplifting, raucous but soulful garage-rock is straight to the point. Saying precious little to a noticeably fuller dance floor, lead singer Jonny Bell screams himself hoarse under a shower of greasy hair while charismatic percussionist Sexual Chocolate, yes that's his name, treats us to some baton twirling between drum beats. The bluesy 'A Thousand Eyes' provides a mid-set highlight and no doubt corroborates the reason for the buzz surrounding the Long Beach band.

It's then time to head over to The Brudenell Social Club to watch Dananananaykroyd destroy the room with their exhilarating hardcore meets indie bubblegum brilliance. Expecting mile long queues eFestivals leaves TJ's early only to arrive to an almost empty venue which has apparently been that way since six o clock. However in the moments leading up to the appearance of the Glaswegian band, things pack out rapidly. Dananana's reputation as an insanely fun and wild live act is of course old news.

The fact that there are six of them in such a small space helps of course in that there's always something going on and at least one skinny Scottish body flying through the air at any time. Add that to the fact that at least two of their ranks have black eyes tonight owing to previous on-stage antics and their penchant for swapping instruments - it makes for an eye-popping performance. This is also a band who expect their audiences to get involved and tonight's crowd is somewhat subdued much to their disgruntlement.

"Anyone who's not clapping needs to cheer up," shouts joint vocalist and drummer John Baillie Junior as the band tear into Watch This! A dance-off between the band and members of the crowd which takes place in the middle of the room seems to get things going however and by the time singer Calum Gunn dons his Saturday Night Fever white jacket and takes off into the crowd for obligatory hugs, this audience have perked up massively.

Heading back into town to the Library, we're just in time to catch Brooklyn duo Telepathe spinning their freaked-out electronic magic. The pair, made up of Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudais, do very little except sing statically while twiddling the buttons in front of them, yet their disjointed and dark-hearted beats, lost in a fog of gauze and fuzz manage to make this half-lit room feel like a vampish club at three in the morning.

Micachu and the Shapes bring proceedings at The Library to a halt tonight. Having arrived at the venue late, they are delayed by almost half an hour in taking to the stage due to sound problems. However, while their messy racket may sound like they’re trying to play as many notes as possible, all at once, underneath the maelstrom there's a collection of gloriously spiky pop songs. It's like watching children set loose in the kitchen banging and clanging everything in sight.

The ever boyish Mica, dressed in loose jeans and white T-shirt, looks like she's playing Fisher-Price instruments that sound like they’ve been deliberately untuned, yet she has a definite knack for creating brilliant discordance in songs like Golden Phone and Lips that simply revel in shambolic ingenuity. The crowd's previous restlessness at the late start forgotten, Micachu goes on to end tonight on a sparkling, yet ramshackle high.
review by: Dannii Leivers

Friday 22nd May 2009
various venues across Leeds, UK
early bird £10
daily capacity: 4500
last updated: Wed 15th Apr 2009


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