First on are Hotel Lux. They have been touring with Dilly Dally throughout the UK leg of their tour, and this is their last night on the bill. Listening to them prior to coming tonight I was struck by hearing a band do something different again. By that I mean doing their own thing; elements of the late Mark E Smith and in a way The Streets (but without the beats) are present in the spoken delivery.
They are a band with a lot to say, and they command the stage with a confidence that makes you want to stop and listen. After meeting them briefly while buying their 7″ later – the single ‘Daddy’ backed with ‘Berlin Wall’, they were warm and friendly people, and the experience of seeing them live is not lost when in the next couple of days i listen to the record at home.
I first saw Dilly Dally when they were touring ‘Sore’ in 2016 at the Boileroom in Guildford. It was a solid line up with Estrons supporting. Dilly Dally were brilliant then. Now they have an additional whole new album of songs in their cannon, so the anticipation for the evening is high.
Opening with ‘I Feel Free’ is an immediate win, and sets the tone. There is no duff track on ‘Heaven’ but this is certainly a standout, and the gig is instantly on. Katie Monks rising vocals kick in tearing through the venue, the band are bathed in colour, the song being further elevated by the incredible rhythm section of Benjamin Reinhartz (drums) and Jimmy Tony (bass) and magnificent guitarist Liz Ball chiming in with Katie Monks pummelling her white Flying V.
It is something very special and it seems they may have played their best hand too early, but the evening does not let up and tracks from their back catalogue and current record keep coming and landing with a fully receptive, enthralled, engaged crowd. While there is no ‘Purple Rage’ tonight (for me a personal favourite) it doesn’t matter. It is a testament to the quality, power and emotion of their new songs, and now much larger repertoire, that they can pick and choose and also do not need to finish the night with arguably their most popular song to date ‘Desire’. It of course is a highlight when played near to the end, and the place erupts – it is an awesome song – but the fresh positive take lyrically on the new record shines through tonight and it is obvious the band are relishing playing their range to the full; melody after melody, hook after hook, the raw and the soft.
Highlights: I Feel Free, The Touch, Heaven, Doom, Desire