Stag & Dagger Festival

posted 27 May 2009, 04:03 by The Editor   [ updated 28 May 2009, 01:41 by Harry Cooke ]

Stag & Dagger - (by Stew Abel in TJ's Woodhouse Club)

Leeds - 22nd May 2009

“Head past the Gimp Room”. When faced with an entire evening of music and associated fuel it’s best to be aware of where the toilets are, and having been directed as quoted from the barman, the rest of the night was suddenly being questioned. That aside The Faversham upheld its end of the bargain by remaining one of Leeds’ top venues for up and coming bands, providing one of the venues for the Leeds leg of this year's Stag and Dagger Tour and our first perch for the evening. 

We eagerly awaited the first band (of 14 billed acts in 3 rooms) to make their presence known and take to the stage but Youth Attack never arrived with no explanation for their absence. 

Finally the quartet of Everything Everything took to the stage and had a lot of work to do to win the small crowd over. With their backs turned to the crowd the first beats were punched out by the drummer, met capably by the bassist, and soon joined by guitars for a safe yet not bad opener. The slightly more nervous, jangled second song was soon a distant memory when they really found their stride adding extra depth with the synthesiser and well delivered harmonies. The following 5 tracks kept up the contemporary Noughties revamp of 80’s sounds with a high degree of technical competence form the lead guitar and a superb rhythm section. I admit I didn't understand a single word sung in their half an hour but that was at no detriment to the tunes. The final two tracks stood as the best in the set leaving the now animated crowd wanting more and the band even more so. (6 / 10)

Everything Everything

Again the enticing prospect of back to back bands (that was already slightly deflated by one absentee act) was then shot down entirely by further half hour of an empty stage as Heads Up were nowhere to be seen. 

At 10:30 we had another band on the stage, Casiokids. These plucky Norwegians were intent on using the full half hour leaving no time to spare; with a smack of the high hat we were off. Immediately the striking feature of their sound was the consistency and energy that each of their members were putting in. Their sound was centred on the synths at centre stage and the percussion set, each of these where passed around with adept versatility and enthusiasm. The excellently produced set showed why their summer schedule is so full including most of Western Europe and foray into the USA. With the success of Friendly Fires, Hot Chip and LCD Soundsytem, (and judging by the appreciative now full room in the Fav’) Casiokids could not be too far behind. (9 / 10) 


Hot footing it over to TJ’s Woodhouse Club we caught the best known act of the night Cold War Kids in full flow to a knowing fanbase, happily bouncing lyrics back to the band’s vocalist. Behind the front pack, the majority of room was more unaware of the material so needed a little more time to warm. However the rest of the set was well worth coming over for, while the music was delivered as well as could have been wanted, they went the extra mile in performance, depth and variety of their tracks. CWK have built up some good songs that really work well live while some would be best left at home, hopefully as they progress the balance will shift further to the former category. Of the 12 songs we witnessed it was apparent they have found a set list that works for them live and takes the audience through their repertoire. They held back some tracks until the last few which knowledgeable fans really joined in with leaving them duly satisfied while the rest of us a left impressed.  (8 / 10)The concept of the Stag & Dagger is one that works well in a city like Leeds where live music is very well supported and attended; I look forward to next year’s event with one improvement - the billed acts turn up. 

As a side note to the evening, many thanks to Gilla to talk to us about his set, despite The Faversham never quite hitting the capacity to make people check out what he was up to; and to Haus who entertained the late night drinkers in the conservatory who described themselves as “Cosmic, Techno, Death, Love”.

8 / 10


Images © Harry Cooke
Slideshow © Stew Abel

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