Friday 02 September 2016 – London.
I have not been to many gigs lately, this will only be my fourth this year, excluding the solo set by Martin Phillips from The Chills last week. I have a few small shows lined up over the next few weeks, starting with one of my favourite New Zealand bands Die! Die! Die!. They have been around for about 12 years and I have seen them a few times and own almost, if not all, their recorded output. They tour a lot, and I have seen them three times since I have been in London, though it does not appear I have ever written about them before. I have definitely taken photos of them in the past. Their records are great, but live is where they make their mark. I have never been to a bad show.
Tonight they played at Birthdays in Dalston, a well established small venue, but one I have not been to before. After seeing a show there I will definitely go back, it is good venue There were three bands performing and, what I thought was fantastic, it all had to be over by 10:00pm. I do love an early gig!
I got there just as the first act The Sans Pareil were hitting the stage, I grabbed a drink and headed down to the basement band room. My DSLR is in the shop being cleaned so I can take it away with me on my coming travels so I had the little G16 tonight. I was kind of glad as the light was really low and I can push the ISO on the G16 way higher than I can on the old 5d. I really do not like to use flash at shows if it can be avoided. I was shooting at 2500 ISO so there is a bit of noise in all the shots.
I liked some of The Sans Pareil’s set, at times they sounded a little Wire like, which is no bad thing. Though they were really really loud, too much for my liking – stupidly I forgot to bring ear plugs.
Second up was M!r!M, a synth/bass duo. I had listened to a couple of tracks at work and they sounded OK, live they were a little repetitive, one of the major issues with a keyboard based duo is being visually as well as audibly interesting. I didn’t stay for their entire set. They were not bad, I was just saving my ears for the headliners!
Die! Die! Die arrived on stage just after 9:00 – I love band times in London 🙂 I managed to secure a spot at the front and to one side of the speakers. The lead singer/guitarist, Andrew, always puts on a show and has always stood on the left of the stage when I have seen them so that was where I parked myself.
The audience was pretty tame for most of the set, I could see the band were trying to get them moving, I have found London crowds to be fairly quiet in the main, maybe it is just the indie folk don’t like to break the cool poses and get in amongst it. Andrew likes to get in the audience, get a bit of reaction going. I have been to some great and wild shows in New Zealand – maybe the crowds are just a bit younger there?
After a few forays into the audience, with guitar and mic stand, there started to be a bit of reaction and participation.
The bass player is fairly new, there have been a few bass players over the years, Rory seemed to be pulling a few Paul Simonon poses, I guess if you have to have a style influence the bassist from The Clash is a good example to follow.
The drummer, Michael Prain, has to be one of the hardest working drummers in the business. Die! Die! Die! are driven by a solid rhythm section and none of the drumming is a boring 3 / 4 beat. One of the things I love about the band is the bass and drums drive a lot of the songs, especially on the brilliant Promises, Promises LP.
They played material from most of the albums, I recognised pretty much all of the tracks, there was at least one newer song, but I am not yet fully familiar with the last EP. Hopefully there will be a new LP sometime in the next few months.
People Talk and Ashtray Ashtray were the last couple of songs played, I think; I had had a couple of gins by that stage, Ashtray was definitely the last one, I am now a bit vague on the second to last. Whatever it was it finally got the crowd going, so I dropped my bag in a corner and joined in for a bit of a jump up and down. It got very hot and sweaty.
I left very sweaty and deaf but very happy… As I have said on so many occasions when I finally drag my self out the door, I always have a good time. Tonight was no exception.
The face pointing must be a thing, I took this image at, what I think was my favourite DDD show, in Auckland in 2008.