Dog Is Dead Hit Manchester

Emily Whitehouse

On the cold Manchester night of the 9th November, I walked into Sound Control with one purpose – to judge for myself whether the hype surrounding the Nottingham band Dog Is Dead was indeed warranted. With various high profile festivals under their belt including Glastonbury, Dot to Dot and most recently, Bestival, the five-piece are grabbing the attention of music lovers all across the UK.

I had never attended a gig at Sound Control before and although it was rather small, it oozed character and intimacy, from the industrial style ceiling to the bottles of jagermeister strewn across the wall.

The support band, To Kill a King, received a great reception from the audience and performed with an experienced air, despite only having been together since 2009. The lead singer had a great voice and the polished harmonies provided by the rest of the band, created a wonderful accompaniment to the rocky guitar riffs. Their last song ‘Fictional State’, was unusually poppy compared to the rest of their set, however it was their first single and was met with the greatest applause.

The crowd was worryingly scarce at the beginning of the night however by the time Dog Is Dead took to the stage, the room was packed and the audience went wild. As soon as the band stood together, their most striking feature was the diversity of their styles which I’m sure reflects their differing personalities. The male Spice Girls? Ok maybe not… either way, it’s working for them.

The band have a great front man in Robert Milton who simply exuded cool from his low slung jeans to his baggy vest; he even recovered from a small hiccup with the microphone with confidence and ease. Not hindered by his static instrument, keyboardist Joss Van Wilder provided us with a lively and energetic performance which allowed us to share in the fun he was clearly having by simply being on stage. It was really interesting how Rob and Lawrence ‘Trev’ Cole swapped instruments numerous times during the performance and Trev even played the saxophone – the boy has some serious lungs on him. Guitarist Paul Roberts is clearly extremely talented and supplied some great harmonies to accompany Rob’s melodic vocals. Not to be overshadowed in the background, drummer Daniel Harvey made his presence known in true rock ‘n’ roll style, by standing on his chair, arms extended and playing up to the audience who lapped up every second of it.

The band’s first single, Glockenspiel Song, introduced as an “oldie”, got the biggest applause and ensured that everyone in the room was on their feet dancing. Even the band’s newest single, Hands Down, released on Atlantic Records on October 31st, was met by diehard fans all singing along with rapturous enthusiasm. It’s a real testament to the quality of a band’s performance when they do not simply imitate the recorded version of their songs; I was therefore pleasantly surprised when Dog Is Dead delivered a much more ‘rocky’ performance in comparison to the indie/folk/pop of their catchy singles.

Despite using up more energy than most people do in a week, Daniel, Trev and Paul from the band were kind enough to speak to me after the show…

 

How do you feel the release of hands down has gone?

We think it went really well. It got a warmer reception than expected; it was nice to see the audience singing along to a song we only brought out last week. It was also the first time we’d worked with a big record company, so that was a really good experience.

 

How’s the album coming along?

We’re doing the album in little bits… so we don’t get sick of singing the same songs all the time (laughs).  It’s just hard to fit it in around touring… we’re taking our time.

 

How would you describe the feeling of being on stage?

We still get that tinge of excitement when we perform. I would say numb but maybe that’s a bad word… it’s indescribable. It’s what you work for, it’s a lot of hard work and performing is such a small part of that, we have a responsibility to make every second on stage count. It’s what it’s all about.

What bands are you listening to at the minute?

Theme park, Pavement, Villagers, we could go on all night.

How was your tour with Bombay Bicycle Club?

They were lovely. When we were about 15/16, they were like our idols. It was an incredible show. It’s different from doing your own show, when you’re supporting a big band and the crowd are there for them, you have to try and win them over and show people what you’re about.

How have you found your time in Manchester?

We love Manchester, it has a great scene. I always have bad experiences in Manchester, like broken strings and stuff; tonight I had a sore throat but it went just before we went on, so that was lucky. It’s a great city though.

The lovely boys later tweeted, “Manchester last night, you were incredible. It’s so good to see so many nice people enjoying our music”. If Dog Is Dead haven’t won you over yet then go and see them live and you will immediately fall in love, trust me, I’m speaking from experience.

For more information on Dog Is Dead and a list of upcoming gigs, visit:

http://www.myspace.com/dogisdeadband

@Dog_Is_Dead on Twitter

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