What a year it’s been. We’ve seen big-time breakthroughs, huge albums, bands being bloody brilliant and even a fake Strokes gig (remember how silly that all was?!?). With more jingle bells than a jingle bell factory, Dork’s Xmas Party at The Old Blue Last in London is once again the hub of all things festive, with a lineup of Dork faves and Hype List risers. The only thing missing is your nan drinking a glass of sherry (we tried to book her, you should have seen the size of the rider she was asking for…).
Violet are an intriguing and defiant opening – one shimmering with style and class. Their smoke-filled blend of shoegaze, Peace-like magic and measured power is a mesmerising sight, driving through an accomplished set that confirms where their ambitions are pointing. It’s a showcase of the flair and confidence that rains through them, bringing a menacing glint at a huge 2019.
Bounding onto stage with a grin and infectious party-vibe, Spinn are more than up for a festive knees-up. Their sparkling bright indie-pop may sound like a snapshot of summer, but it thrives no matter the season – full of bouncing gears and shimmering guitars. A jam-packed Old Blue Last is wrapped in it all, with frontman Jonny Quinn flexing the sort of frenzied dance moves that make Ed from Friendly Fires look like the retiring type. Joyous and carefree, they’re a band who could take on any stage and make it their own.
With one of the biggest, brightest and boldest live shows going – Bad Sounds are the ultimate jukebox for a party. Noting that the Old Blue was where they played their first ever London show (lasting three songs), they return tonight as a rainbow of celebration. From front to back, their set has the Dork Xmas Party jumping, waving and screaming along to every hit. From ‘Are You High?’ and its playful opening grooves, to a hands-in-the-air romp through ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Zacharia’, it’s a splendid set of grin-triggering joy. They jump, hang from the ceiling and dance like nobody’s watching; a gem of a reminder of why a Bad Sounds show is unlike anything else going right now. When you think things can’t get any better, they end the night with a ripping cover of The Darkness’ ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ to leave nobody in doubt, tonight they’ve witnessed something pretty special.
Now that’s a gift Santa can’t leave under the Christmas tree.
Words: Jamie Muir