The Harley was hit by one of it’s most flamboyant and energetic line-ups of the year on March 4th. Headlined by Glasgow based and awkwardly titled, Indie-crunk rabble Dananananackroyd, the night saw a mob of excited and pumped up teenagers taking to the cramped venue armed with high intent to cause a measured aggravation in homage of the Scottish six-piece.
Danananackroyd drew support from London based Flashguns, a three-piece who enjoy a good live show, touring recently with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Funeral Party, they have enjoyed only 4 free nights throughout the entirety of March. The first thing that was apparent when the band entered the stage, was the lead singer Sam Johnstons measured swagger, one that had an instilled confidence without producing or venting any arrogance – something which resonated through the bands sound and order. If any part of playing a live show is looking the part, which some would probably argue it is, then they were already half way there – denim jackets and chequered shirts.
The band exhibit a typical anthemic indie make up, drawing on powerful and rising vocals to drive the chorally derived tunes. They managed to recreate their tight studio sound by employing heavy vocal reverb to the backing vocals and managing to create a pristine and cutting sound from the lone electric-guitar.
Flashguns highlighted their strong repertoire by opening with single, ‘Come and See The Lights’, extending the ending of the song through a prog-rock outtro. They then went straight into ‘Passions of A Different Kind’, a typical Indie affair with drawing vocals, not dissimilar to other genre favourites, such as The Maccabees or The Kooks. The set was a brief experience, playing only 5 songs, but leaving a lasting impression of what we can expect from future performances from this band. They then ended on long serving track, ‘Racing Race’.
One thing that was apparent, if not noticed in their huge list of tour dates, was how much fun the London-based trio have on stage. Constantly interacting with the crowd in and in-between songs, through energetic head pumping or through passionate vocals. Their latest single, ‘Passions of A Different Kind’ is out this month, whilst their debut LP is due in the summer.
Dananananackroyd, from this point on to be referred to as ‘Dananan’, drew a stereotypical crowd representative by their sub genre of music. You would never refer to them as Screamo, yet they like to scream. Despite their catchy and often high-pitched lead parts,they aren’t quite Indie-pop. Often referred to as Post-hardcore or Crunk, you would never compare them with other bands in these genres. They are very much a band to their own, content on allowing their minority following to let-loose and have a good time.
Coming on stage to chants of ‘Dan-an-an-an-an-an Ackroyd’, the loyalty of their masses took me by surprise, lead guitarist Duncan Robertson exclaimed, “Relax, you haven’t even heard us yet,” a phrase that set the tone for the night – a tone ringing with lots of crowd directed jokes and lots of fun. Without giving the Harley following time to adjust to the fact that Dananan were now on stage, part 1 of 2 lead singer Callum Gunn, immediately sought to piggy back himself out into the crowd for the start of the set, before fighting his way back with a look of relief on his face.
The bands sound centres around a mix of often catchy and intricate, yet mostly thrashing and racing guitar riffs played over heavy set drum rhythms and punkish bass lines. The vocals range from screamo vocals, into catchily chanted chorus’ which lean towards a tendency to get the crowd involved, a crowd which play a huge part in their aura, sound and direction – a breath of fresh air to a electronica doused live Indie landscape. At one point, the whole crowd responded to the bands pleas for everyone to sit down, only to jump up again with twice as much purpose once the drums kicked back in.
Standout track ‘E-numbers’, drop kicks it’s audience into an upbeat, post-punk anthem if ever there was one – the title, along with a marching drum beat, perhaps gifting an excuse for the crowds upbeat and ever present energy. ‘Matrix’ offered to present the bands more pop orientated side, featuring danceable Indie style lead parts under vocal orders, scanning between the lead duo of Callum Gunn and John Baillie Jnr.
Dananan’s set was a perfectly welcome breath of fresh air, a band which didn’t fail to realise their purpose on stage, that they are there to ensure ‘everyone is having fun’. A number of successful stage dives, their courage to bring instruments into the crowd, constant tongue in cheek remarks about obstructing photographers and a dry, clever dose of Scottish humour acted as perfect proof that they themselves, were having as much fun as their audience.