Would it REALLY be the most wonderful time of the year without a great big festive party courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood Dork? Back bigger than ever at the legendary 100 Club, it’s fair to say this year we really went for it.
Jam-packed with a queue snaking down Oxford Street, openers She’s In Parties shimmer with potential. Melding shoegaze-y pop and dazzling indie licks, their wall of sound is simply irresistible. A band that already feel assured with the world they’re creating, the likes of ‘Cherish’ and ‘I Follow You’ offer a glimpse at the brilliance still to come. A dreamy cover of The Pretenders’ ‘2000 Miles’ is wrapped up in their own distinct voice, and with closer ‘Ritual’ adding the exclamation point to a glorious set, it’s a welcome that sets them apart.
If you’ve read this here magazine over the past few years, you’ll know how special Courting are. Emerging with a sugar-rush jump with side jokes and ridiculous moments galore, they’ve blossomed into a band overflowing with individuality and determination to do things their way. Tonight at Dork’s Christmas Night Out, they’re at the top of their game. Within minutes, they ignite the sort of reaction most headliners would dream of – ‘Tennis’, ‘Football’ and a jubilant ‘Jumper’ sees pits open and riotous singalongs alike as a tidal wave of energy follows. That wink and a smile to knowing the world around them shines: an auto-tuned cover of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ meshed with ‘Crass’ isn’t something anyone could have seen coming, but it works and then some, while ‘Jingle Bells’ finds a home in ‘Slow Burner’ to add yet another sprinkle of the unique to tonight’s tour-de-force. ‘Grand National’, ‘Popshop!’, ‘Loaded’ and what may be one of the year’s best songs in ‘Famous’ take the 100 Club into sweaty and wild directions.
By the time The Amazons take to the stage to round out Dork’s Christmas Night Out, there’s a palpable feeling in the air that something pretty special is about to go down. Ripping through an opening explosion of ‘How Will I Know?’, ‘Ready For Something’, ’25’ and ‘Wait For Me’ sets a marker for a set that blows the roof off in emphatic fashion. Over three studio albums, The Amazons have become the sort of band they would have dreamed about being when first starting out. Diving across their career to date, early cuts like ‘In My Mind’ trigger pandemonium in mosh pits while the feverish ‘Doubt It’ swaggers with effortless cool and potent power.
In a year of twists and turns for The Amazons, that shining beacon of connection has pulled them close. ‘Northern Star’, taken from latest album ‘How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me?’, has become an anthem at each show – the stripped-back ode flipping the energy to heartfelt bliss as lights illuminate the 100 Club in yet another historic moment. Even a run-through of Christmas classic ‘Stay Another Day’ by East 17 feels all the more special for those able to witness The Amazons in full-flight.
As the night builds to an eruptive finale of ‘Mother’, ‘Junk Food Forever’, ‘Bloodrush’ and closer ‘Black Magic’ (which sees fans jump on stage to celebrate one last time), The Amazons find celebration and purpose in every note and moment along the way. Now THAT’S the best present we could get for a Dork’s Christmas Night Out.