Stag and Dagger 4/5/14

This year’s Stag and Dagger saw an increased number of music lovers attend, as this one-day Glasgow city centre music festival grows in size and stature.

Across eight venues along Sauchiehall Street, that includes Broadcast, CCA, The Art School Assembly Hall, The Art School Vic Bar, Sleazy’s and ABC 1 & 2, music fans start their day as early as 2pm, with some acts playing till nearly 2am.

In a whirlwind day of fresh musical talent, the first band I encounter is Canadian bass driven pop-rockers, The Beaches, in Broadcast.

An all girl band from Toronto, it fells like the quartet are taking us back to the early 90s grunge scene, where the lead singer’s bass licks and vocals remind of Gwen Stefani in early No Doubt records.

The girls played to a full room at boiling temperatures, but this does not seem to affect their enthusiasm and moments of bouncing around the stage to their fast paced catchy riffs and synth waves.

Districts, are the next band due on in Broadcast and this Pennsylvanian indie band surely have a bright future ahead of them.

Sounding a little like My Morning Jacket, with an element of The Walkmen, this familiar appealing sound is bound to grow and grow.

A proper guitar band, with no strings attached, they have a broken down raw youthful sound that must have some major record labels interested.

A band I have been desperate to see is Jungle, and they are due on stage at 7pm in the newly renovated Art School Assembly Hall.

The venue is much cleaner and fresher and although lost some of its history and natural feel, this venue will surely reel in more major acts in future.

The London duo and their band who take up the entire smoke filled stage present a festival like atmosphere, with a roaring bass and a collection of soft soothing backing vocals mixed with synth jabs.

A bongo drum starts to sound and a few shakes of a tambourine complete the sound that takes you to another place; somewhere warm and carefree, without any troubles in the modern world.

Do not be surprised to see these guys push further up the bill at major festivals in years to come.

Without much time left in their set, I manage to catch some of The Hold Steady in the festival’s biggest venue, the ABC.

The New York band, celebrating a decade of existence, enthuse the crowd through lead vocalist and guitarist, Craig Finn, and his storytelling abilities.

With a twist of Springsteen, Finn borrows the crowd’s minds for some time, enabling them to indulge in his lyrics and the band’s steady rock grooves.

Hailing all the way from Sydney, Australia, Jagwar Ma brings the night in around 9pm upstairs at The Art School.

With the sun finally set on this bank holiday weekend, there is a real buzz about this part of the night.

Fizzing bright green lights shoot across the stage before the entry of the psychedelic-techno trio.

There was a feeling of stepping back in time to the ‘Madchester’ scene as frontman Gabriel Winterfield, swaggers back and forward like Ian Brown.

With a backdrop of a massive projector displaying psychedelic trippy formations of several shapes hypnotising the crowd, the group ease the anticipating punters in to an eventual melee of dancing and sense of euphoria as the set peaks.

Royal Blood, who had recently appeared on Later With Jools Holland, ensure there is not much space to breath in the bowels of the ABC.

In this intimate ideal setting for this upcoming band, who has recently supported The Artic Monkeys, they managed to make an incredible amount of sound for a two-piece.

Elements of The White Stripes and an abundance of Queens of the Stage enthused rock devours the sweaty eager punters as Stag & Dagger reaches boiling point.

Drawing the curtain on the day’s music in ABC is The Fat White Family, the south London six-piece are as raw and sharp edged in their appearance as they are with their music.

The band grunt bark and scowl to the crowd with a fusion of The Stooges and The Sex Pistols, energetically entertaining the crowd from the first minute to the last, this is a gritty display.

From this performance it is entirely necessary to have a band in the form of The Fat White Family to exist.

Words: Chris Flockhart


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