Today (Saturday 1st November) the DIY crew are all at The Laundry in East London for the final date of the DIY Presents Tour 2014 in association with PledgeMusic - and we’ll be bringing you rolling updates from the event (well, as best our wi-fi allows).
Playing we’ve got Jaws (10.45 - 11.30), Telegram (9.30 - 10.15), Deers (8.30 - 9.00), Flyte (7.30 - 8.00), Spring King (6.40 - 7.10), Blessa (5.50 - 6.20), Shy Nature (5.00 - 5.30), Menace Beach (4.00 - 4.30), Bloody Knees (3.10 - 3.40), Palace (2.20 - 2.40), Wyldest (1.30 - 2.00) and Swim Deep DJs.
Stay tuned throughout the day for live reports, pics, snippets from our chats with the bands, and the occasional piece of behind-the-scenes gossip. Or better yet head on over - the few remaining tickets are on the door for £15, just don’t forget your ID (The Laundry is an 18+ venue).
There’s a grace to Wyldest and their woozy routine. Lights dimmed and crowds trickling in, The Laundry is a sea of intrigued onlookers and DIY totes for this opening act. Relative unknowns, the group were picked out amongst hundreds of bands who all applied via Bandwagon to open the all-dayer. Once into their groove, they stand out as newcomers capable of climbing up a bill in no time at all. Think Beach House without the American twang, Woman’s Hour in their early stages. It’s entrancing.
It’s the middle of the day, but The Laundry’s underground setting says otherwise. There’s a big crowd huddling around in near-darkness for Palace, a group of four Londoners specialising in stately, slowly enveloping indie. Bass creaks around the ceiling and the concrete floors, with Leo Wyndham leading his group through impressive cuts on their ‘Lost In the Night’ EP. The whole thing borders into a frenzy when they showcase a new track, but it’s left to the beyond gorgeous ‘Bitter’ to ease out today’s second set.
“Rain during the day has that festival vibe. This is our second daytime gig, so we’re really looking forward to it.”
Cambridge’s most raucous new punk export, Bloody Knees are tumble-drying the hell out of The Laundry. Frontman Bradley Griffiths leads the relentless charge, snarling and gravelling his way through a breakneck set. It’s all skating along very nicely indeed; that is, until the bass amp blows up and brings things to a premature end. Bloody Knees were succeeding in bringing the house down - it’s a shame that the sound went down with it.
“We’ll hopefully go in the studio in January and fucking smash next year. Probably a little single in January, and we’re aiming album some time next year.”
Welcome to Menace Beach’s ‘Ratworld’, a seething, snarling pit of energy that’s always on the brink of boiling over into amp-melting overdrive.
As Ryan Needham and Liza Violet run through the best part of their debut album - due out early next year - the Leeds outfit couldn’t sound any sharper. They’ve been playing with various outside musicians (members of Hookworms, Pulled Apart By Horses, Slayer - you name it - have all been involved) but it’s the fizzing interchange between the project’s two heads that’s most exciting.
Live, they bring every minute part to another level. Violet replicates Alanna McArdle from Joanna Gruesome’s piercing calls on ‘Lowtalkin’ to perfection. The rest is a frenzied ball of life, a strangely euphoric glimpse at just how far things can be pushed with a few explosive guitar sections.
There’s little doubt that ‘Ratworld’ will stand out as one of 2015’s best early releases. Every bellowed second of this set supports the fact.
“We have fun with everything. We’ve all been in bands before, and when we started this it was very much like, ‘Let’s only do things if they’re fun, let’s only do gigs if they look like they’re going to be a good time and let’s not do anything shit.’ It’s quality rather than quantity. Pick [the shows] that sound fun and that will work best for the music you’re making.”
“This is the last time we’re going to play every single song we’re about to play. This will be the last gig we play all those songs. It feels really good to play it for the last time tonight really because we’ve been playing those songs for two years.”
Fresh from the free nationwide leg of the DIY Presents Tour - a run of six shows with Flyte that included backstage whiskey drinking and wrestling, apparently - Shy Nature seem in remarkably good form. Ready for the biggest date of the tour, William Blackaby and co. arrive in their most confident mood yet.
Showcasing tracks from their forthcoming ‘Birthday Club’ EP, for a band just over a year old they seem 100% aware of where they’re heading. Songs are designed for a higher calling, with ‘She Comes She Goes’ mixing NYC circa-2001 guitar jams with a sharp, almost jealousy-inducing catchiness.
A suited and booted Blackaby is all smiles throughout the set, with debut track ‘Deadly Sin’ still coming off like a career-starter when it’s one year to the good. All eyes ahead, there’s a determinist streak to Shy Nature’s effortless to and fro.
“I’d like to see Spring King, I really like the way those songs sound on record so I’m intrigued as to how it is live. I’d like to see Deers, and Blessa who we’ve seen a couple of times at festivals. Telegram at Field Day were cool. We haven’t seen Jaws.”
Ladies and gentlemen - saxophone dad. The real star of the DIY all-dayer. The crown jewel in a night that’s stuffed full of gems. Steve Darlington - remember the name. Pete from Spring King’s Dad is the band’s hidden secret. He arrives for a rousing, soulful, horn-tastic rendition that perfectly sums up the madness of this set.
Tarek Musa and co. never tend to hold back. They’ve built their reputation on shows like these, with veer on the edge of complete disaster but always pull things back. It’s a workout for everyone involved; a jumping, bouncing, rowdy force of nature that just so happens to be backed by spiky guitars.
It’s Musa’s role to guide the process on drums, and he’s often hidden by flailing hands of Darlington’s masterful, swaying saxophone. What a moment. Even amongst the killer cuts from the Liverpool via Manchester band’s ‘Demons’ EP, this is a beautiful reminder that Spring King are best when they steer off course into weird, brilliantly fucked up territory.
‘Can I?’ steams forward. ‘Demons’’ title-track is even more sinister. But it’s down to a saxophone to sum up this special band.
“I really want to see Deers, they sound really good.”
“It’s been really nice, the tour. We’ve done two UK tours before, one with MS MR, and one with Bombay Bicycle Club, and both times we were playing to full rooms of their fans. We were trying to convince people who weren’t there to be convinced. We did well of it, and I think the fans that came to this tour were from those. It was definitely a different atmosphere, before we were trying to win them - now they’re here to see us. It’s a really gratifying thing.”
It’s just their third visit to the UK and already Deers are progressing at a ridiculous rate. Place it on the arenas they played with The Libertines recently, put it down to the barrage of hype that’s come their way - there’s zero doubt that tonight’s most in-demand band know how to handle the hype.
There’s a skill to being ramshackle. The odd duff note and sudden shift might look commonplace, but when done well, something clicks. Last time Madrid’s Deers came here, they sort of looked like they were winging it. They were only a couple of months into expanding as a four piece, after all. Two months on and they’re come a hell of a long way.
Everything comes down to the beaming smiles and knowing nods that define Deers. They’re riding a wave and they’re fully aware of it. Every momentous punch of percussion meets headfirst with a sudden killer guitar lick. ‘Bamboo’ into ‘Between Cans’ is unstoppable. And few things 2014 arrive as catchy as the ‘Trippy Gum’ chant of “woo-ooh-ooh” times five. Deers could rely on what they already have, but they’re clearly going several steps further.
“You can’t imagine how excited we are for 2015, it’s going to be a crazy year. We like big stages and the confetti thing - we have big plans.”
Telegram don’t waste time. Their message - loud and clear - is expressed with immediacy and complete unhinged freedom. Glammed up, with make-up strewn across their faces, to couple mops that’d rival Temples in their finest psych fashion spree, here stands a band with big aims and instant means.
Opening with the raucous ‘Ragatta’, Matt Saunders and co. operate like the kind of band that have learnt from their wealth of touring in 2014. Playing alongside The Horrors, Temples and any other psych-leaning heavyweight, their next step is establishing a game of their own.
It lands in the form of ‘Follow’, a 2013 single that seems tighter and more formidable when backed with new material, that seeks its own path with malicious intent.
“One of the great things about these line-ups or festivals in general is that, even when you have no forewarning, you’ll walk out and you’ll see a great band. It’s like ‘Wow, I’ve never heard this before.’ It’s a real treat. It’s such a cliche of live music but it’s a bunch of people doing what they actually want to do. That’s what we’re doing.”
Closing the all-dayer is JAWS, a band who’ve remained a staple on these shores since day one. In that space of time - since their heady days of early 2012, B-town comparisons ahoy - they’ve evolved into a headliner. And this is only the beginning.
When they arrive, a flurry of lights and vicious guitars, they instantly morph into the grungy prospect that’s always been hinted at. Debut album ‘Be Slowly’ showcases moments of this kind, but it’s clear this stands out as a vital first step. Connor Schofield and co. are brought up on hardcore, punk - you name it, anything with guts and a raw vitality. Bit by bit they’re applying this upbringing to their previously glossy synth pop. Out with the old, in with the new - that’s always been JAWS’ motif, but here it’s outstanding.
At times they sound like a completely different band to the one arriving with promising early singles ‘Gold’ and ‘Milkshake’, hype-gaining songs that spread the word in a flash. Mostly, they mimic a UK version of DIIV, a driven, total, fire-breathing force that come off like the complete opposite of the baby-faced beginners that first caught DIY’s attention.
JAWS aren’t just a bit-part in B-town or a gurney replica - they’re a force of their own, with ‘Be Slowly’ acting as a vital first step. Closing the all-dayer, they sum up today’s proceedings as a whole; a bunch of fantastic new bands with insane potential.
“There’s a lot of bands playing that people keep telling me to go and see – Telegrams are one of them. Apparently they’re top class. Bloody Knees, too. I went to a house party to see them once. Oh, and there’s that Spanish band, Deers.”
Swim Deep DJs
Photos by: Emma Swann, Carolina Faruolo and Phil Smithies.