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The Dykeenies

As I walked into the Cellars Bar in Portsmouth, I have to say I wasn’t expecting much. The venue looked barely bigger than my lounge, and nobody milling about looked like the type to go to gigs. So why were they here to check out a band NME Magazine have said could be bigger than The Killers? Scottish band The Dykeenies were set to play tonight, in a bar that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Only Fools and Horses. NME have said The Dykeenies are “Scotland’s biggest and best new band… a weird and utterly brilliant hybrid of The Killers and Panic! At The Disco. Only they’ll probably end up bigger than both.”  I was here to find out how true that was.

This wasn’t helped by the fact that the first support act were all wearing matching suits with added neckties. I didn’t catch their name, and to be frank I’m glad I didn’t. They were just like every other indie band breaking onto the scene.

The second support act were a lot better. Telegraphs are from Brighton, and they burst on to the stage with an energy and excitement that’s rare to see at gigs this small. A girl and guy singer combination worked really well, with great harmonies and swirling guitars. Vocalists Hattie Williams and Darcy Harrison were particularly impressive, and they got the crowd going with handclaps and head nods all around the venue. New single I Don’t Navigate By You is out now and was the highlight of the set, along with The Rules Of Modern Policing and Your First Love Is Dead. Telegraphs are definitely a band to check out and are sure to go far in the local gigging scene.

And then the moment everyone had been waiting for. The Dykeenies came out to possibly the best song ever – I Am The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes. By now the gig had got horrendously hot, with people stripping off left right and centre. The band emerged with cheeky grins and wine, and from then on it was sure to be a great gig. They opened with new free download singleAre You With Me Now?, which was quite a risky move. Surprisingly many people already knew the words; these were hardcore fans. The band had such a great energy about them, with frontman Brian Fire cracking jokes and bassist Andrew Henderson also on great form.

This is a band that could’ve gone either way live – with their synthesizers and ambitious vocals, they would either be one of the best or one of the worst. And thankfully, they were the former. Fire was better live than on their album Nothing Means Everything, from which they played singles Stitches, Clean Up Your Eyes and New Ideas, along with album tracks Things You Cannot See, Pick You Up, Feels Like Sleep and Waiting For Go. New songs were also well received, with Traps gaining the best reception after singles Are You With Me Now? and Sounds Of The City. Fire showed off his lyrics with clever lines such as ‘If you help me through this I’ll hurt you I promise’ – you can see where the Panic At The Disco comparison comes from. Guitarist Steven Ramsay was also impressive, with drummer John Kerr getting the most flack for getting the rhythm wrong on song Feels Like Sleep. The fans didn’t seem to mind – the mood was jovial by this point, and more than a fair few of the audience had had quite a few shandies by then…

Without meaning to take anything away from the band, I didn’t expect a lot from this gig. I didn’t think there would be many fans, and I was scared that they wouldn’t live up to the quality of their album. Thankfully I was blown away, and I would recommend going to see this band to anyone. Their new album is set to be a scorcher.

Full setlist:

  1. Are You With Me Now?
  2. Things You Cannot See
  3. Pick You Up
  4. Square Balloons
  5. Stitches
  6. Traps
  7. New Ideas
  8. Fade Out In The Sun
  9. Feels Like Sleep
  10. Sounds Of The City
  11. Clean Up Your Eyes
  12. Awake
  13. Waiting For Go

More info can be found about the band here

The Telegraphs can be checked out here

To check out who’s playing at Cellars Bar, click here

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