Stag & Dagger 2013 Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Kitty the Lion, Filthy Boy, Josh Kumra

Stag and Dagger Bracelet 1

Have you heard the new rule about being allowed one blonde moment per rainy Saturday in May? I squeezed mine in yesterday while telling a friend I was going to Stag and Dagger where the headliners were They Promised Us Parachutes. Jesus. Beam me up! Clearly hadn’t had my vitamins yet.

Around 9 hours later, stood front left of the O2 ABC 1 stage, We Were Promised Jetpacks appeared under violet strobe. The vitamins had by then kicked in. On entry, guitarist Michael Palmer reached down for a swig of a plastic cup, the contents of which winced his cheeks. He didn’t need the seven parts Jack to one part Coke for the nerves, as in the following 45 minutes his band executed their splay of precisioned Auld Reekie-accented buck shots with such taut control it merely affirms the Scottish indie scene is in a fine state of affairs.

Singer Adam Thompson, dressed more like a low key Gary Tank Commander than indie rock god, held court with a cool introversion that had he walked on wearing a cow-patterned onesie he’d have still been afforded a barrage of awe.

Stock tracks Quiet Little Voices and It’s Thunder and It’s Lightening were like crowd pleasing little darts for those up for a sing song to your body black and blue, while later on Pear Tree shifted brightly into anthemic mode. You be the lighthouse, I’ll be the rocks had even those on the edges singing along.

After the last chord was strummed, Palmer dropped from the stage and handed a printed set list to one delighted groupy – a big-boned, thick-rimmed lassie with an east coast vernacular. As I congratulated her, she pumped her fist and shouted, “Pure Persistence!” One vitamin too many perhaps?

Stag and Dagger Poster

Earlier in the evening, the first band we’d caught downstairs on the ABC second stage was Kitty the Lion. Proudly plugging their forthcoming debut album out in September, red-dressed singer Anna Meldrum surrounded herself with four boy band mates and a brass section of even further young male talent. Not that the small stage had an air of claustrophobic testosterone, well none that Anna’s beautifully crisp intonation seemed to mind anyway. The 3-piece harmonies were as tight as the young smiles were loose, while the melodic Dear Heart was played out like the handing over of a proudest possession, which the crowd accepted joyfully. On this evidence, come autumn, Kitty the Lion’s offering is sure to have just a little bite, though plenty of purr.

Hot on Kitty’s soft heels was the swagger of South London 4-piece outfit, Filthy Boy. Bring to mind the tongue-in-cheek, kitchen sink, smut wordage of the Arctic Monkeys, add the dulcets of a Kapronos-Casablancas up front, sprinkle a pinch of the Coral’s twang and hey Delilah you’ve got something filthy on your hands. The band’s debut album Smile That Won’t Go Down is a hot fix of vocal noir and dangerous riffs found on the other side of midnight that go deep down and are…you guessed it, touching filthy.

Pre-Jetpack, am glad we gave a listen to Josh Kumra, whose voice has a pre-blossomed Ray LaMontagne quality, that is as bankable as it is street corner. His opening slow number struggled to gain the crowd’s undivided ear, but the beautiful Don’t Go and an unexpected turn in the spin of a MGMT – Calvin Harris mash up had the kids feeling close to him right now. One to watch.


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