Tucked away down a backstreet in the heart of Leicester, is a diamond of a live venue, The Musician. Boasting live music six nights a week and a capacity of 220, it is the perfect location for tonight’s launch show. Having reviewed their latest EP Outlaw last week, I couldn’t wait to see how Dig Lazarus deliver it live. Having seen them perform just once before and for a band in their relative infancy, I was eager to see their evolution.
With an entry fee of just £5, you got 3 bands and a hard copy of the new EP, bargain! It was good to see plenty of people milling around even before the first band struck up. I managed to catch Ash and Jack from Dig Lazarus before the show and they were buzzing to get up on stage and party!
First up though, and travelling all the way from London for tonight’s show, are James King and The Regals. Frontman James Brown (guitar/vocals) donned a cowboy jacket, and encourages the small gathering crowd forward as he launches into their indie rock set. Tight and energetic, these guys are the perfect opener. There is a great rapport with the crowd who are toe tapping, head nodding and clapping along when instructed, James has us in the palm of his hand.
Powering through track after track, James’ vocals don’t waver, and are backed by Ben Willis alongside his relentless, vigorous drumming. Doug Beckwith (bass) brings the groove with his laid back style and Harrison Blackamore (guitar) drops some insane riffs. Standout tracks were “Riddle”, “Driftwood” and latest release “Murphy’s Law” which has gained them airplay on BBC Introducing in London.
After trying (and failing miserably) to get Dig Lazarus’ bassist Atticus up on stage, the band bow out to huge cheers and a much larger crowd, that are now suitably warmed up for the next act.
In huge contrast, local lads English Guns explode onto the stage with their furious skate punk sound. Screaming into the mic, the vocals come in harsh and agitated. Bass-driven tracks are frenzied yet high-tech which had me exhausted just listening.
This five-piece are fierce in their delivery and performance, their sound ripping through my chest (prob not the best place to take photos leaning against their amp) and ricocheting around the room, their vibe is intense. The crowd are lapping it up, fist pumping and head banging pursue.
Dripping in sweat, this band gave it their all and were inexorable in their performance. Deep and deafening, this high octane set was fastidious, their chemistry tight and unquestionable. They leave the stage utterly spent to a huge applause and then chants of “Dig, Dig, Dig, Dig” start to bounce round the walls, the atmosphere and buzz palpable.
The venue is pretty much packed now and it’s great to see the earlier bands front row in full support for the main act. All too often these days you see bands play and go home which is disheartening to the local music scene and venues alike.
A huge cheer goes up and three guys with grins that would put the Cheshire cat to shame hop onto the stage, their feet barely touching the ground.
They waste no time; Atticus Hall-McNair drops at the waist, bass slung low to the ground; Jack Cotterill on his feet, sticks raised, poised above the drums; Ash Tustain (guitar/vocals) takes a leap and they launch into “Ladies and Gents” which is a huge rock n’ roll opener. The place erupts into cheers and claps as the guys throw themselves into the bass-driven bluesy number “Joker”. Ash oozes confidence and has the swagger of a performer way beyond his years, and I’m taken aback at the maturation of this band since I last saw them.
Delivering a full on rock n’ roll set, the tracks flow as we’re introduced to two new songs from the latest EP, “White Ryno” and “Hands Off”. Ash is on his knees demoing an array of effects pedals which give the live set a dynamic edge. I, meanwhile, am having the most difficult time trying to photograph this band! The only times the guys are still is at the mic, otherwise they’re leaping about, guitar duelling, facing off the drummer and basically having the time of their lives, which is great – but, if only I had some sort of tracking lens for my camera!
Old favourites “Satisfied” and “Jude’s Locker” are blasted out and the crowd are loving it! Fuelled by the guys’ energy on stage, they too are leaping around, singing along, the place is on fire. Jack is utterly mesmerising on the drums tonight, an absolute powerhouse; his backside barely touches his seat. Ash then introduces a really early number that they haven’t played in a while, “Go For Gold”, and the crowd are up for it. Closing with the final two tracks from the new EP, “Salacious” probably their darkest and heaviest track to date, and “Outlaw” the title track, both of which have the crowd singing along. Ash looks a little overwhelmed at this point.
Grinning from ear to ear the guys thank everyone for their continued support and leave the stage to rapturous applause, and chants of “Dig, Dig, Dig, Dig” again ricochet around the room. The guys are dragged back for an encore: “What do you want us to play?” shouts Ash, genuinely bemused. Queens of the Stone Age’s “Ode to Clarissa” belts out as the band lay claim to it being ‘their song’ as they’ve played it so much.
A huge night. These guys didn’t just launch, but completely reached a whole new interstellar level with tonight’s high velocity set.
Outlaw is available now.