Gig Review

Double Dagger
Friendship, Saturdays Kids
Cardiff Arts Centre
17th May 2010
Double Dagger           Friendship              Saturdays Kids          
As I entered Cardiff Arts Institute, I was greeted by a few student types enjoying a quiet pint and a raucous sound check from behind a heavy black curtain; protecting the eyes and souls of the quiet pint drinkers from what is about to go off. Composites of tuneful yelping, palpitating bass beats and drumming that pounds and scatters throughout the venue, penetrated the curtain causing such a stir that the quiet pint drinkers applauded, whooped and yelled. “Thank you in the back!” Nolen Strals piped up.
This is only Double Dagger’s sound check. Holy crap!

The curtain disappeared with minutes to spare before local Cardiff reprobates, Saturday’s Kids, stepped up to the plate. The task at hand was to warm us up. What they conjured up was doom laden, bluesy riffs with distinct punk edges and pain staking vocals lending them an upbeat, dirty and catchy vibe. Apportioning their aural assault with punk rock screaming a la Gay For Johnny Depp and The Sex Pistols and erratic guitaring with frenetic vocals should have been a winning formula but sadly fell short and instead left us feeling sensually assaulted.

Schizo-pop duo, Friendship, armed with a guitar, a drum kit and looping pedals, take to the slightly raised stage and beckon us all forward. Their galloping drums and calypso beats give the impression of happy summer vibes bursting from every melody. But delve a little deeper, into the dank metallic guitars that encased our frontal lobes, to behold the behaviourally inept and oft down right deranged truth which comes gatecrashing around you. Either way you choose to view Friendship, they know exactly how to create a unique high octane electro pop show that dares you to sink your teeth right in. If The Graveyard Shift is anything to go by, your teeth will bypass the bone and gnaw psychotically at their innards. False starts and spine-cracking banter pre-empting Lifeguard – of course the cowbell was present and correct - with Willard’s “Let’s not turn this into a comedy show. It’s a rock show” made for a monstrously entertaining set while the muffled vocals, although didn’t allow much room for a sing along, sure did let the music do all of the talking. A beaming set with a hideously dark underbelly lead perfectly into what Baltimore’s unhinged trio of madmen had in store.

On first impressions, Double Dagger are a meek looking threesome. Some would say geeky even; especially when Denny Bowen drops his jeans on stage in favour of soccer shorts and camouflage t shirt. Then the first track on the set list pounded in and Nolen Strals launched into a physical tirade, hurling himself at the audience who had instinctively positioned themselves a good, safe distance from the stage edge. Strals’ dance shapes are nothing short of captivating as in one step he is throwing his Rayban spectacles across the stage, in the next he is so close to your face that you can taste the metallic case of the microphone, in the next he is twisting and grinding on the floor as if having a seizure or falling into a restless sleep. Luxury Condos For The Poor was a deliciously deranged slice of post-punk mosh pit inducing pie; which the members of Saturday’s Kids and Friendship were more than happy to devour with a manic, slip n slide mosh pit complete with beer pools and Strals’ fish out of water flings.

“The next two songs are on the new record. We could really use your money…We could also really use your sweaty bodies.” How Strals addressed the crowd struck fear into the hearts of all while simultaneously spreading beaming nervous-smiles across the front row and beyond, as the anticipation of which ones of us would be abused in the next song. Pillow Talk splattered in with the vocalist scaling the rails of Cardiff Arts Insitute and continuing to pole dance around the venue. “The guys at Friendship sure love fucking!” With the scrote ooging, sweat dripping, mic licking, chord gagging S&M type fun that ensued, along with full on porn star ass thrusting climaxed the show. From delectable 90’s vibes of The Lie/The Truth to the full on onslaught of Camoflage, Double Dagger wowed the crowd with their exuberant amplification of everything that is great about post-grunge.

A fire in their belly show – and not only because of the Indian feast they had all consumed that afternoon.

Saturdays Kids 1/5
Friendship 4/5
Double Dagger 5/5

Review By Jessica Acreman

 Double Dagger

Nolen Strals (Vocals)
Bruce Willen (Bass)
Denny Bowen (Drums)



 Saturdays Kids


 Band Related Links
Double Dagger Myspace
Friendship Myspace
Saturdays Kids Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?