Stag & Dagger is back in Glasgow this May, a few weeks earlier than usual and this time on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, taking advantage of the Bank Holiday weekend. An excellent bit of planning. We’ve mentioned before how fond we are of multi-site city-fests and I’ve looked forward to Stag & Dagger each year it has taken place. Over the years we have seen memorable sets from Django Django, Willy Mason, The Phantom Band, Linden, Hot Panda and Bill Ryder Jones.
This year, split between the ABC, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Broadcast, the CCA and the newly-reopened Art School, acts already announced include Los Campesinos!, Albert Hammond Jr, Courtney Barnett, The Hold Steady, Arc Iris, Laurel Halo and Lanterns On The Lake. More acts will be announced soon but limited earlybird tickets will be available from today.
‘Craig Finn is a fucking poet!’…those were the words of the man standing next to me at last night’s Hold Steady show…and he ain’t wrong!
Craig Finn is indeed a poet, and on top of that, hands down one of the most watchable front men that can be seen live. He lives and breathes every word that comes out his mouth. Now, I’m sure many before me have tried to describe his energy during a show in words and failed miserably…so I won’t even try. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then ‘You Tube‘ it! On top of that, Finn has one of the tightest ‘blue collar indie rock’ bands on stage with him, driven by lead guitarist Tad Kubler.
On the night, The Hold Steady played a variety of numbers from all five previous albums, in particular some earlier work where the band seem to be having a lot of fun. (Killer Parties, Your Little Hoodrat Friend, Stevie Nix) However, it is in the anthemic tracks from albums Boys And Girls In America & Stay Positive where the crowd react strongest to the band (Chips Ahoy, Stay Positive, Southtown Girls, Massive Nights, You Can Make Him Like You).
It is during these songs that I realise how delighted I am for the band. My previous Hold Steady gigs have been at The Cathouse on Valentines Night (there were about 40 people there) and on the main stage at Connect (also about 40 people there). At both gigs, as great as they were, the tracks deserved an audience to scream the lyrics back at the band, so it was great to see them play to a packed out ABC ballroom. After all, in the words of Craig Finn at the close of the gig ‘We are all members of The Hold Steady!‘
With VAT rising to 20% today (that’s right I read the papers) we here at Elba thought we’d point out a couple of free tracks that we’ve been listening to lately.
The 1st comes from Canadian outfit Wintersleep. The excellent title track from the bands new album ‘New Inheritors’ is available here on the bands website.
Wintersleep will be supporting The Hold Steady during the bands European tour in February (Glasgow – O2 ABC, 9th Feb).
The 2nd comes in the form of a Christmas gift from Gorillaz. Released on the bands website on Christmas Day, The Fall, an album recorded last year on the bands North American tour last year is available here.
The Fall includes some standout tracks that make this well worth a listen, Phoner To Arizona is everything that we’ve come to expect from Gorillaz and the excellent Bobby In Phoenix featuring Bobby Womack is (like Stylo before it) the albums stand out track.
Happy New Year!