I’ve been to a few gigs recently and thought it might be worth rounding up my thoughts on them briefly. Writing up individual blog posts for each of them would’ve been a lot of faff, so I thought I’d stick to one post and keep things short and sweet.
Dutch Uncles (09/03/2017, The Fleece in Bristol)
I’ve wanted to see Dutch Uncles live for a while – having missed them on their last tour – and this show at The Fleece (a really beautiful venue) didn’t disappoint.
Big Balloon is one of those albums that feels like its songs have been designed to be played live (basically it has a very live feel to it) and as a result, all of them sounded pretty great. ‘Baskin’’ and ‘Same Plane Dream’ made for a fantastically energetic one-two opener, while lead single ‘Big Balloon’ closed the main set out in a fun way. Despite the album only being out for a month, the band played the new songs with a level of precision that suggested they’d been playing them for years. In the sense that the performances were all pretty seamless (perhaps with the exception of ‘Streetlight’, which lead singer Duncan Wallace abruptly restarted after messing up the lyrics.)
The old songs were solid too, with particularly highlights being the xylophone fuelled ‘Threads’, first album classic ‘Face In’ and ‘Flexxin’, which was accompanied by some of the finest dad-dancing I’ve seen in a while. ‘Dressage’ also made for an incredible closer, with it cumulating in the band making as much noise as they could.
Fantastic gig overall, really impressed.
Diamond Family Archive (13/03/2017, Bread & Roses in Plymouth)
A friend of mine has been pushing me to check out this band for a while, so I decided to go along to one of their gigs. It’s hard to really describe the sound of Diamond Family Archive properly, so I’m just going to drop a link to some of their music at the bottom of this page. They’re a fantastic two-man act, playing a dozen instruments between them, using looping techniques to make the band feel a lot bigger than it is.
The performance was split into two sets, both great. The first set started out subtly with some gentle guitar playing and drumming before things eventually built up and got louder. However, throughout the band retained a chilled-out almost ambient vibe that captured the whole audience’s attention. It was hard at times to tell when one song ended and another began, but that was part of the beauty of the performance; everything flowed naturally. I will definitely make an effort seek out one of the band’s albums now… If you’re looking for something a bit different – they really don’t sound like any other band I can think of – then definitely check these guys out.
Glass Animals (15/03/2017, O2 Academy in Bristol)
I was a pretty big fan of Glass Animals’ last album, How To Be A Human Being, and was glad to finally get to see the songs off it performed live (even if they missed off one of my favourites from the album, ‘Mama’s Gun’).
Frontman Dave Bayley has a wild energy to him that just made the whole performance a total joy. From opener ‘Life Itself’ all the way to the last song of the encore, he never seemed to stand still for a moment. You can really tell when an artist is enthusiastic about their music, and Bayley definitely is. You’ll never see anyone else sing ‘pineapples are in my head’ with such conviction…
It was great to see Glass Animals perform some of the songs from their first album Zaba (‘Gooey’ in particular was great) but it was really the band’s newer songs that stole the show. And with the first album having a very different feel from their second one – having a strong jungle theme to it – the songs from it didn’t fit into the set too smoothly. Pretty much every song from the new album sounded great, though some of the main stand outs were ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ (maybe the best song the band have put out), the crazed ‘Other Side of Paradise’ and main-set closer ‘Agnes’, one of the band’s more downbeat, emotional songs.
Basically, Glass Animals were a lot of fun live. If you like the energy on their albums, rest assured that their live performances are just as crazy, if not more.