Stag & Dagger Festival – Glasgow 22nd May

The Northern Line can be quite happy to report – if only briefly from the fabulous and multi-venued Stag & Dagger Festival. Bang on the money, great value and bringing an array of both emerging and established bands and DJs to the stage, the event bridges the Great North and South border over 2 concurrent nights in London and Glasgow. Music, medly and mystery acts fill a packed line up that sits between a sort of highly entertaining pub crawl and a ‘real’ music festival for the fans – for that I mean the type of gigs where you discover the next best thing and can get a handle on the exciting alternative bubblings of the music industry, or to quote fellow Northernline contributor Peter’s fine description of Kendal Calling 2010 festival – offers “real music in real places that care about such things as quality, integrity and value the people who come to attend”.

Looking at the line up I was pretty excited – There were a lot of bands vying for a listen and the scheduling across a number of venues in the city meant a certain amount of soul searching and deliberating needed to be done to pack in the bands that really mattered to you. With many great names on the line up, it was a chance to take a risk on some unheard newbies such as “TurboFruits”, “Wax Fang”, “Gold Panda” and “Egyptian Hip Hop” (apologies to those in the know) whilst still making sure you saw the bands you really wanted. Although concentrating on the emerging acts tipped by the likes of Rough Trade, it would have been great to see some more inspiring headline acts – ‘A Place to Bury Strangers’ and ‘We Were Promised Jetpacks’ were simply out performed by lesser famed acts on the bill and one felt that there’s room here for perhaps the likes of a ‘Flaming Lips’ , ‘Teenage Fanclub’ or some equally legendary band to round off the night.

First on my agenda were Yuck. I watched them recently play a mesmerising set at Nice N Sleazies as in my last scribblings here, and their demos on myspace are intriguing. This time in the basement at Stereo, their dreamy indie pop, still brought back fond memories of the early nineties and all that fuzz, Bandwagonesque, and perspiration pop! Anyway enough rambling – give them a listen – i’m sure they will do well and bring happiness to many ears.

Next up for me were the interestingly named Django Django, suitably placed downstairs in Glasgow School of Art; their very arty looking fans seemed ravenous for this lot, and myself already being a fan of their ‘Storm’ single released last year on Glasgow based Shadazz Records, I was looking forward to this set. The choppy driving riffs with vocal driven melodies create a hypnotic quality that is equally at home with electronica as with low fi guitar offerings. One can clearly hear hints from the ‘Beta Band’ and ‘Gomez’ fused with more electonic and psychedelic acts like ‘Kraftwerk’ and ‘Primal Scream’.

Upstairs at Glasgow School of Art another highlight has to be the mighty Sleigh Bells. Not familiar with this Brooklyn based duo, my ears remained just about intact! A remarkable set, this very energetic duo performed their musical sensibilities of brief moments of precious new wave pop, fused with a raucous assault of processed beats/ rhythms and garage punk rock riffs in their own special way! Touching on urban acts like M.I.A and other bands from New York like the Yeah,Yeah, Yeah’s their sound is big, somehow managing to produce beautiful moments of unaffected pop with the full sound and raucous live performances they are becoming known for.

For more info on Stag & Dagger
Django Django
Sleigh Bells

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By Tom Manley on June 9, 2010

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