Saturday, February 02, 2008

With the recent proliferation of Swedish bands, someone really needs to check what goes into their water. Those Dancing Days are an up-and-coming band from Stockholm whose sound, as described by the band, is a mixture of "pop, girlgroup and Northern Soul." The five-member girl group have just come out of high school and hail from Stockholm. To me, they sound typically Swedish, i.e. indie, twee, dream-poppy and jangly, similar to Club 8, and Peter, Bjorn and John, but with more synths.

Thanks to the good folks at Time Out, I won a pair of tickets to see the band at Bar Academy in Islington on Thursday (January 31, 2008). Given my yet-to-be-established popularity in London, I ended up catching the show by myself.

I didn't arrive in Islington in a particularly good mood, having left the office at 8 pm after planning to leave an hour earlier so that I can pop back to my flat instead of heading their straight from the office. However, work raised its familiar, ugly little head, and I ended up having to finish up a couple of reports before I could leave. However, the sight of redeveloped Angel, which I have not seen in five years, lifted my mood somewhat, so much so I decided to indulge in a drink before the band came on.

The drink turned out to be a good idea. As I made my way through the crowds searching for a good spot where I could see (part of) the stage and still be able to breathe, I found myself next to a guy who seemed to be by himself as well. A-ha!, I thought to myself. Now is a good chance to practice my sorely underused social skills and make a new friend, even if it's only for tonight. I waited for about ten minutes in case he wasn't alone, and then made my move. L. turned out to be from Germany and had been seconded to London for a project for the next few weeks. He hadn't a clue who was playing, but the doorman took pity on him as he lurked outside the club and invited him in. That cheapened my competition win a little, but no biggie.

First up at 9.15 pm was The Wave Pictures, the supporting band. I was pleasantly surprised that they hadn't played yet, seeing as I arrived so late. They weren't particularly impressive and they tended to waffle on but there was a group of people near the stage who definitely seemed to know and love the band. The lead singer of the three-piece band had a rather flat voice and their lyrics were a little odd.

Those Dancing Days came on at 10 pm. Overall, I felt they were above average. They didn't have the sublime presence and sound that was Club 8, but they were definitely better than their supporting band. Their sound tended to consist of jangly guitars, fast-paced drumming and an organ and this meant some of their songs tended to sound rather similar after a while. What caught my eye during the performance was the energy and infectious smile of Lisa Pyk on the synth. She was constantly dancing and had a mischievous pixiesque smile on her face which I found rather endearing. I love it when people enjoy what they're doing.

Towards the end of the night, I resigned myself to leaving without being particularly overwhelmed. Then, the band unleashed Those Dancing Days, an incredibly frenetic, jangly tune of such energy that just compels you to want to dance. It was an amazing tune. If only all of their songs could have been like that. Still, these girls are under the age of 20 and have achieved quite a bit given their young age.

After the show, L. and I walked to Angel tube station. As the venue had been dark, I figured that L. would probably look pretty average or worse once both of us were in a properly lighted area. Instead, I found that not only was he pretty good-looking, he also had the bluest eyes I had ever seen. We ended up chatting for a further half an hour before I had to go (alas, it was a work night) and he said he'd call me the following weekend as he was going back to Germany this weekend. I take these things with a pinch of salt, but it was definitely not something I'd expected after the horrible day I had.

Related Links
Those Dancing Days - MySpace
Those Dancing Days - Wichita Records
The Guardian - Review of Those Dancing Days at Bar Academy

No comments: