Live at Stag & Dagger Festival 2009 on Friday, 22nd May 2009
Stag and Dagger was a series of gigs put on around Leeds at a variety of venues. I decided to split my night between the seemingly themed Scottish (Brudenell) and American (TJ's Woodhouse Club) hi-jinks.
The first band I saw was Abe Vigoda at TJ's. Despite a fairly short performance (apparently they only arrived at the venue shortly before they were due on) they impressed with their jagged guitar and catchy choruses and were someone I'd look out for in the future.
Next I hot-footed it over to a sparsely packed Brudenell to catch the end of Pictish Trail, who not surprisingly judging by his delicate melodies was part of the Fence Collective troupe. Shortly after leaving the stage he re-appeared with the Kenny Anderson-fronted King Creosote. Seemingly divided into two parts; the first half was a more subdued affair with his sombre efforts to the fore then the second was more upbeat and was better received. The only disappointing thing for those who had purposefully arrived to see them was again the short time they had onstage.
After only a short gap, Dananananaykroyd (apologies to all if I missed off an 'an') bounded on to a fuller-looking Brudenell. The best word I can think of to sum up the band is chaotic, in a positive sense. Lining up with 2 drummers but altering their structure each time, they quickly moved around stage and all got in on the act. Punchy and aggressive songs were combined with some bemusing/indiscernible stage banter and a short off-stage dance off with the audience.
Back to TJ's via a nutritional plate of cheesy chips in Hyde Park.
Cold War Kids made it to the stage at the late but on schedule time of 23:40. Despite a hit and miss second album Loyalty to Loyalty, the band still had enough pull to fill out TJ's.
The highlights were the en masse sing-alongs with to Hang Me Up To Dry and Hospital Beds when the crowd went loco.
The band's charm lies in their onstage rapport and Willett's excellent voice, both soaring on the quicker paced and sounding pleasingly delicate on the likes of Every Man I Fall For and Lord Have Mercy On Me.
They sensibly relied on the more up-tempo tracks for their second album rather than the ho-hum filler tracks, the likes of Mexican Dogs, Dreams Old Men Dreams and the subtle groove of Relief holding up well in this setting.
While the band may not have the showmanship or consistency of some of their contemporaries, their musicianship and subtle interaction makes them a compelling live act.