Sunday, 20 May 2012

Stag and Dagger, Glasgow 2012

Stag & Dagger is one of those "festivals" like the Camden Crawl, where you get a wristband and wander between venues trying to get in to see the bands you fancy, whilst expecting to end up in the quiet pub venue with a succession of the "next big indie guitar bands" on stage. This is the fourth annual outing of this Glasgow version, but the first time that I'd bought a ticket. The main attraction for me was for the chance to see Django Django, the four-piece band from Edinburgh. Drummer/ producer David Maclean is brother of the Beta Band keyboard player and the similarities in sound are clear on Django Django's debut album, which is a good thing.

When I bought the ticket, I'd presumed it was an all day thing, and I'd be seeing dozens of bands, but although there were plenty of bands on across the seven venues, mostly they were all in the evening starting at similar times. Also a wee bit disappointing was that Death Grips were on the original line-up but had cancelled and Swedish popsters Niki and the Dove that I'd fancied seeing, had also cried off at the last minute due to illness. Anyway the later than expected start meant that I had the chance to take my daughter to yet another soft-play area birthday party on Saturday, and whilst she was there to soundly thrash my 10 and 12 year olds at ten-pin bowling (I honestly thought they were too far ahead of me to be caught when I got my first strikes with my last 2 balls - I deny the "competitive dad" charge levelled against me).

We started with a drink at the Arches where we had the pleasure of watching the Hibs vs Hearts Scottish Cup Final on the TV, which looked a very one-sided affair. Seems a shame that Hibs weren't able to raise their game, and they look like they could have been good for a few points if they'd landed in the First Division next season instead of Dunfermline. Dinner at Red Onion on West Campbell Street was a wee bit spoiled by finding a dead beetle at the bottom of the salad of the starter, which would tend to suggest it hadn't been cleaned or stored properly. The food was nice though and the staff handled it all very well by not charging us for any of the food or drink we'd had. We didn't have the brass neck to say "in that case, two large brandies please, and can we see the dessert menu after all?" Coffee and pudding along the road at Sarti's was a good idea.

Miaoux Miaoux
Anyway, our musical entertainment of the evening got off to a good start with Miaoux Miaoux at Stereo, Glasgow based producer of electronic soundscapes. He plays electronic beats whilst distorting and looping his guitar sounds to impressive effect. It was interesting seeing him so soon after I'd seen Grimes. They do similar things, twiddling knobs of electronic boxes, but he does it with humour and a smile, she did it as if she was doing a really big favour for her audience. I like Stereo as a bar/cafe/venue and when we arrived there my wife said "how long before we bump into Aidan Moffat?" who is usually visible at these things. 5 minutes was the answer as it turned out, I'm feeling like his stalker these days.

As it was really Django Django we were after we just settled ourselves in the ABC for the rest of the evening. We arrived in time to see The Phantom Band who describe themselves as a "rock band from Glasgowish". Their album The Wants I find reminiscent of Goodbye Mr MacKenzie and seeing them live didn't disavow me of that opinion, which is no bad thing as Good Deeds and Dirty Rags was one of my all time favourite albums, until someone stole it from me.....you know who you are.

Phantom Band


We then popped through into ABC2 and saw The New Picadillys a rock'n'roll band that would do a good turn at a party or wedding I imagine and do a mean Ramones cover. Anyway they made a pleasant little sorbet to cleanse the palate between courses.
New Picadillys
Django Django were up on stage next and battered through their eclectic set with gusto, even getting their coconut shells out as I'd hoped. Their a very tight live act, hearty percussion is always something I like and at times it was 2 drumming or one drummer and three on keyboards. Worth seeing if you have the chance. We were a wee bit distracted towards the end as we'd been following the Champions League final on twitter latterly and were watching the last 5 minutes and the penalties on SkyGo on my phone - I have to say that is a helluva impressive app, just a shame about the result. John Terry - what a knob that man is.


Django Django
We wandered homewards via The Captain's (the word 'Rest' seems to have been forgotten now). I always like coming here to see music as when we lived across the road from it years ago it was just an old boozers. We'd hoped to catch Discopolis but things were running a bit late here so we settled for a bit of Hidden Masters instead before heading for the inevitable doner kebab. First I've had from Barbecue King for a few years, I like what they're doing with the flatbread but their doner meat is a bit bland.



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