You might have thought the name Dog is Dead was apt if you’d seen how many people turned up to see them play Newcastle Riverside. There were fewer than forty present, creating a gig so intimate it verged on awkward. Maybe, in an increasingly competitive age for indie bands, when hype can turn to indifference at the snap of a blogger’s finger, the band’s career is over before it even began.
In fact, it’s more likely that the Nottingham five-piece were victims of a Monday night booking, as their impressive performance proved that they’re worthy of the praise they’ve received. So let’s not exaggerate – these young pups don’t need to be put down yet, not by a long shot.
After impressive support from Fiction, who have meandering bass lines and employed an empty water container as percussion, Dog is Dead sauntered through the thin crowd onto the stage. They opened with ‘Young’, a past single, which has an anthemic chorus that shows that the band paid attention to the Rumble Strips, even if no-one else did.
There’s an obvious lineage from the polite indie of Bombay Bicycle Club, who they’ve supported, and who have remixed the upcoming single ‘Two Devils’. Singer Robert Milton flits between sounding like either Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman or Noah and the Whale’s Charlie Fink, which starts to grate when you suspect that it’s deliberate imitation.
The band made a valiant effort to get the hesitant crowd moving, which only elicited awkward shuffling until set-closer ‘Glockenspiel Song’, which was sung back enthusiastically by the crowd. This promising performance shows that once they’ve found their voice Dog is Dead will be sure of survival.