Dog Is Dead

Hotly-tipped new band Dog Is Dead celebrated their album release by stripping down…their instruments for an acoustic show. COSMO GODFREE went to see what all the fuss is about.

acoustic album launch All Our Favourite Stories Dog Is Dead Gig Grafton HMV in-store Indie

In-store gigs are funny old things. The difference between success and failure lies partly in the surroundings, and whether or not the band can use this to their advantage. At its best, an in-store can be a brilliant and intimate chance to see your heroes playing just a few metres away, not elevated on a stage but on the same level as you.

Of course, turning out such a performance is not that simple. The saying “Never meet your heroes” is often painfully accurate, and the worry is that an in-store can easily fall flat, most likely for the same reasons it can triumph.

It helps, then, that up-and-coming band Dog Is Dead are not rock stars in the performance sense, nor do they aspire to be, although their ambition is clear. This was one of a short series of in-stores designed to celebrate the long-awaited release of the band’s debut album, ‘All Our Favourite Stories’, before they set off on a proper tour at the end of the month.

A small but clearly devoted crowd of fans arrived to watch the band set up downstairs in the newly opened HMV near the Grafton. The setlist was disappointingly short, even for an instore, but the band made up for this with relaxed charm and a signing session afterwards.

Unfortunately, the show was a stripped-down acoustic affair. While the band are clearly used to playing like this, having done it before in festival campsites, the songs sounded a lot weaker than their album counterparts when stripped back to this extent. The acapella sections just felt a bit awkward, so the addition of a saxophone to flesh out one of the songs was very welcome.

The catchy melodies were still in place throughout, but the whole thing just left me wanting a bit more. For the fans, not disappointment, just the knowledge that this was a low-key affair and they would have many more chances to see Dog Is Dead take to a stage with their sound at its fullest.

At the end, I managed to grab a quick chat with Daniel, the drummer, and Rob, who plays guitar:

How do you see the state of the charts at the moment?

“It’s nice to see a bit more diversity, it definitely went through a bit of a dance phase… I think it’s at a good level now though, but there could always be more bands! This is the first time in a while that radio and press have really been taking notice of new bands, especially people like Huw Stephens and Fearne Cotton.”

So, what have you guys been listening to recently?

“Jessie Ware… [looks over to the new releases display] …and we’re really excited about the new Tame Impala record as well. We listened to that Villagers album a lot when we were in the studio recording.”

With their second album apparently already written (“We want to demo it early next year”), it seems that the band are keen to keep on moving forwards. Where this batch of songs were written over five years, some of them when the band were just 16, it seems likely that the next album will be more mature. Their drive and determination is evident (“Everyone always wants a bigger stage… but we just strive to keep getting better and bigger”). Dog Is Dead’s sunny indie-pop is clearly suited to large festival crowds, but sadly it didn’t fare quite so well today when stripped down.