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Jareh at Stag & Dagger

Stag & Dagger returned to the east end bigger and better this year. Firetrap sponsored, while Adventures In A Beetroot Fields lead with the music taking it another step on from last year with more bands and more venues involved. They even took the show on the road to Leeds & Glasgow over the course of the weekend.

My adventures at the fest started with a meal at Pera (great lamb chops) with a quick fly by visit to Henry Hudson's solo show at Trolley Books gallery (great by the way, check it out). A few glasses of wine later and we were all set for one of London's greatest leftfield music festivals, taking over the eastside for one night only.

Here's how it worked out. First up, wristband collection from a very organised Stag & Dagger ticketing crew who had decamped at Shoreditch Church and then it was on to the venues dotted around Hoxton Square, Brick Lane, Rivington Street, Great Eastern and Leonard Street to name a few. Cargo seemed like the best starting point as Wild Beasts, Evan Dando, Cold War Kids were all playing here so we decide to go check it out. Wild Beasts are really good, surprisingly good at that. I always love a band that have an array of multi-faceted vocalist/instrumentalists between tracks allowing the lead singer (Hayden Thorpe) and Bass Guitar (Ben Little) to swap vocals in a very engaging and mesmerising manner. These guys were my band of the night - definitely ones worth watching! Domino (their record label) rarely get things wrong so my money is definitely on this one.

Wild Beasts: ...

Next stop was Bar Music Hall to see a band with a great name (but not that great as I can’t even remember them). It looked pretty dull from the outside (sorry guys) so we skipped and hit Hoxton Bar & Grill for White Denim or rather White Chaos. A bit of pushing forward with the ol' press pass and viola! We’re into a damn rammed gig.

As much as I was enjoying this rapturous set, I was determined to cover a few more bands so after three songs I hot The Macbeth for Duchess Says. Duchess Says rocked so hard I thought the ceilings were gonna cave in. They’re a Montreal band with a blend of punk, rock actually maybe they were my band of the night. I check my clock and knew if I got my skates on, I'd catch the closing set of Cold War Kids. Out of breath but full of glee I got to hear Nathan Willett croon ‘I've Seen Enough’ then finally Evan Dando, quite an emotional heart felt set especially when he plays 'Hard Drive (I was quite teary-eyed actually). My night ended with Lovefoxx (CSS) at Catch care of RR’s fav’ party sluts Girlcore dancing away till the wee hours when closing time happened.

Although initially skeptical about Stag & Dagger as I didn't hear great things about last years bash, but this year was bigger, better, faster, hornier, sexier – and I got totally rat arsed. So, yup, verdict is: It aint shite! Many more Stag and Daggers to come for sure - a definite hit!

Official website: ...

Wild Beasts - Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairevoyant

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