With support from Slow Season and Papayér.
The Hairy Dog Derby 3rd March 2014.
Being a Monday, I can’t think of a better way to start a week than to watch a live gig, sure beats planning a wedding! Tonight has been in the diary for some time and I’ve been looking forward to this one for what seems like forever. Being an eager beaver, I got myself to The Hairy Dog nice and early, which gave me the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Castles new LP and being a collector, I went for the orange and white split vinyl, naturally, thanks for signing the cover guys. Getting there early also presented me with the opportunity to talk to the band at length but more on that in a bit.
Before I get onto this gig review, I must tell you about some great news I was told by the owner of The Hairy Dog tonight! They has recently bought the venue next door and will be able to offer a purpose built, better equipped venue for larger capacity crowds and shows. This is very good news for the live music scene in Derby and Derby City Council should support this as much as they can, as Derby is somewhat lacking in great live music venues! I know Nottingham is just up the road, but a taxi costs a fortune and public transport sucks!!!
First band tonight, were the three piece local band “Slow Season”. Their name says it all and it’s safe to say, they weren’t my cup of tea, in that they were very mellow and had no vocalist. This kind of set up has been done successfully, in the past, with the likes Chimp Spanner, who gets support from the likes of Metal Hammer.
Personally, I found it difficult to differentiate between tracks, without the use of a vocalist, every song in tonight’s set sounded the same. Instead of the excitement I usually get at a live show, I found myself looking for an arm chair to fall asleep in. It may just be me, a slightly uneducated music reviewer, but I have ears, I may stand alone in my opinion, as the rest of the crowd seemed to love the music these guys produced?
Next up, Papayér, another local Derby group, who, thankfully were much more to my taste. These guys fall under the Alt Indie genre which seems to be making a real comeback, in fact, I’m off to review Maximo Park next week, anyway, I digress.
The band consists of Tom on guitars and vocals, whose voice reminded me of Robert Smith (The Cure) in the parts where he wasn’t shouting. Niall is on drums and occasionally backing vocals with Cob on bass and also backing vocals, who, from what I saw of him, seemed to be really enjoying himself, in fact they all did, except for the nameless other guitarist that was on stage with them. He seemed very nervous but was a competent rhythm guitarist all the same!
I enjoyed these guys a lot, but I thought the long pauses between tracks to re-tune Tom’s guitar was slightly off putting.
As stated earlier, I got to chew the fat with the guys in Castles. I first discovered the band through their great video “Palm Reader” available on You Tube which also features on their new album. Primarily from Belgium and consisting of Bertrand Bourguignon – drums, Jérôme Considérant on bass/backing vocals (who’s appearance reminds me of the Canadian magician Penn Jillette) Edward Godby, who’s originally from England, but lives in Belgium plays guitar and vocals in the band.
Castles are not the easiest of bands to categorise into any one particular genre, which is probably the biggest compliment I can give these guys, they could be the next Palma Violets (underground band going viral, with massive commercial success) given the right backing. I asked Edward, out of all the great festivals in the UK, which would you like to see Castles play in. His reply was, “Obviously the bigger the better, for us, but I like the idea of playing a prog/rock festival”. Get on it HRH, hint hint, this band is perfect for this festival!
From the off, their music was fast paced, with very intelligent lyrics to their tracks which made for an interesting gig. To those that left before the headline act came on, you missed the best performance of the night, hands down, a worthy head line act. You could see this performance was important to them, as I’m sure all their shows are and so they should be!
Set List consisted of: 1.The Great Rot 2.We are Fascinated 3.Diamond Heel 4.Dispute in A# 5.Bask in the Slimelight 6.Boneshaker 7.Twist your Blood 8.Followed by 100 Rats 9.Long Distance Runner 10.Un-tame 11.Fiction or Truth? 12.Palm Reader 13.You, The Organ Grinder
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)