It was in November 2009 that I was first introduced to 5-piece Dog Is Dead who describe themselves as “Louis Armstrong lost in disco”. At the time they were supporting Good Shoes at The Bodega Social Club in their hometown of Nottingham and most definitely made a lasting impression on me with their easy-on-the-ear 4/5-piece harmonies, catchy pop melodies and cheeky infusion of Jazz, courtesy of saxophonist Lawrence ‘Trev’ Cole. Just under a year later I found myself in their presence once again in the same venue, but this time they were the main attraction. After a successful year, which saw them release two singles and play the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury, it was with great anticipation I greeted their almost homecoming-like return.
It is their use of luscious group harmonies, reminiscent of Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons, that most attracts me to their music, so when the band began their set with some 5-part harmonies sung A Capella I knew I was in for a treat. The sound was true perfection with not a note sounding out of tune. The band then triumphantly launched into a mixture of old favourites and immediately catchy newer tracks. Well-known tracks like ‘Zoo’ and current single ‘Young’, a personal favorite, received a glorious reception with the crowd singing every lyric and dancing to every beat. Of the newer tracks, the slow and solemn ‘Teenage Daughter’ was particularly memorable bringing with it a sudden but welcomed change in pace and sense of poignancy. The sound balance of the band was faultless throughout, and the atmosphere was one of jubilation. The climax of the night was fittingly the encore performance of ‘Glockenspiel Song’ with the crowd ecstatically jumping about and shouting ‘We are a mess, We are failures, and we love it’. What really made the gig special was how much fun the band seemed to be having, relishing every second of it, and even enjoying a bit of crowd surfing at the end. A brilliant end to a brilliant night.
From James Smyllie.