The best way to consider the relative success about a gig is by how you relay it in the standard post-gig chat to the friend that couldn’t make it. Sometimes there’s a sort of generic chat about how it was okay, but they didn’t miss a lot – you bleat on about the people around you, how drunk you were, the sudden realisation that the lead singer isn’t bad looking. With The Dykeenies, there was none of that. Said friend was subjected to an hour long rant with the words “amazing” and “awesome” banded about an unnatural amount, and the focus on exactly the right thing – the music.
Setting off the evening to a pretty good start were local band Duke, who had the unenviable task of playing to a, sadly, quite empty floor as the crowd came in. However, the lack of audience was by no means a reflection of the music’s quality, as it’s pretty clear that the three piece band are growing with each performance and ones to watch in the future with a some great Biffy Clyro-meets-Johnny Foreigner style tunes in their repertoire.
Following Duke, to a much bigger crowd, albeit in an awkward semi-circle, were 5 man Fife band Tango In The Attic, who came loaded with guitars, synths and even a sax to really kick the night off. Their mix of synth-y, dancey indie went down incredibly well, especially their preppy single ‘Jackanory’, causing a wave of seriously questionable dancing to sweep The Tunnels. Special props go to the two teenage girls who looked like they’d wandered in from a Twilight screening, breaking both the ice and the still largely intact semi-circle with a hilarious fusion of after school dance-class moves and ‘serious rocker’ hands.
Finishing the night off in amazing style were The Dykeenies, who, as ever, put on a pretty incredible show. From the moment they launched in to “Are You With Me Now?” to their triumphant, mosh-y closer “Sounds of the City”, the crowd was clearly enthralled with frontman Brian Henderson’s flawless vocals and slightly awkward banter. Despite some top notch backing from his band, it’s clear who the star of the show was, with the lead creating an incredibly watchable figure on stage, despite some bizarre on-the-spot dancing and a lot of sweating, Henderson oozed a lot of charm and energy. Playing a set that seemed to please both hardcore old-timer fans, as well as newcomers, the first half of the set was definitely in ‘above average’ territory, with each song being better than the previous, culminating in one of their signature songs, “Waiting For Go”, which seemed to have the whole crowd singing. The point that tipped the balance firmly to ‘excellent’ as opposed to merely ‘good’ was the song that launched the band, with art rock anthem ‘New Ideas’ marking the start of some pretty intense jumping and seemingly unleashing a new energy into the room, which just built and built before the gig drew to a strangely abrupt close and the band jumped behind the merch desk to chat with fans.
There’s an underlying sense of self-doubt that seems to plague The Dykeenies, with Brian Henderson needlessly saying at one point to a fairly mystified audience “I’m usually more charismatic than this”. The lack of confidence seems to be the bands biggest barrier, and the thing stopping them from being where they genuinely deserve to be. But as their rivals from back in the day continue to turn mediocre or fade into obscurity, it’s clear The Dykeenies are here to stay, better than ever, and well worth checking out.