Live at Paper Dress Vintage on Thursday, 17th May 2012
Unsure of what to really expect from my evening, I tentatively made sure my bow tie was securely in place, tried not to look too self conscious and alighted the steps into a wonderful little boutique, hidden away in Leeds' market district - Paper Dress Vintage.
I suppose I should firstly explain the choice of neck accessory, I am not a magician, nor an uber hip product of flash mob fashion media. I was to attend an event billed as a 'vintage prom party - smart, appropriate clothing required' . Discount retro garments, cocktails and economy sized helpings of brilliant live music.
Unfortunately, the three band line up advertised, had become a line up consisting of only one act - Happy Daggers, who I will come to very shortly.
In place of the Asa Hawks (who had decided earlier that week to fulfil the volatile musician stereotype and split up.) was a troop of hastily booked burlesque dancers. The 'Kittycorsets of Doncaster'...
So to recap, three bands is one band, said bands are replaced by a burlesque troop, there are absinthe pipes and doughnuts everywhere and the PA is happily playing enough swing music to create an atmosphere of full bodied curiosity, worthy of a semi-seedy French brothel. Or what I imagine that would be somewhat like at least. As far as proms go, it felt more like a prom for the delinquent, arty types who shun the conventional school dance, where 'accidentally' revealed genitals are a little more appropriate.
After the burlesque dancers gave reason for the question 'does stripping to swing music make it burlesque?' to be asked, it was time for a show. Enter Happy Daggers.
To define Happy Daggers into a genre for descriptive purposes is really rather difficult. At a stretch, the closest I can get is post-ska-trip-hop-pop-funk. And I'm aware that it's a ridiculous suggestion to attempt to coin that as a genre, so I shan't. They seem to have developed a knack for partnering the most beautiful of melodies, with a harsh, industrial wall of sound. To watch them live is a joy. They appear perfectly at ease as they brandish their own, off the cuff brand of lovely noises.
The aforementioned line up changes meant that The Daggers had double the amount of stage time, which happily resulted in them debuting some new material, previously unheard by their ever growing following who delighted in hearing a more intimate, delicate side to the Leeds band's repertoire. This only served to enhance the opinion of many that they are if not the hottest, then at least one of the hottest acts on the scene.
A brief intermission for an innocent bystander to get violated by a lap dance that left his outfit smothered in whipped cream - I know, how original - and the band re-emerged looking slightly bemused by the whole situation.
Sinclair Belle, front man, owner of a voice box only ever intended for alt-indie angels and apparent comedian introduced their second set with a remark commending the girls for their use of The Daily Star as props. Classy move girls, nobody likes a stripper that reads the financial times.
Storming through their second set, the band instigated that rare moment, where the beholder experiences an innate desire to create. A band that can inspire so easily, are a band that have achieved one of music's greatest accolades. Music that moves someone, has achieved its most basic but most relevant of goals. So go start a band, go write a script, make a film. But remember those who were there when you felt that first little idea come to in to being.
All in all, one of the more surreal nights of my experience, but one that tops a few lists. Huge thank you to Paper Dress for conceiving the idea for the evening and being the most hospitable of hosts. Check them out for more dates coming soon.