“Dragons is about archetypes; those dark, smouldering archetypes that lurk in the shadowy corners of all our hearts and minds” blurts the myspace page of this Bristol based electro twosome, seemingly without a trace of irony. Dragons take their dark, weighty electro very seriously.
A small, head splittingly loud Water Rats was probably the right venue for them then, in a way. The sound check was performed quickly by someone with almost no sense of hearing, giving them and their support the chance to rupture eardrums for a four mile radius – a chance which they weren’t about to waste.
Support arrived in the form of enthusiastic Darlington pop punkers Belladonna, at the back end of what must have been a pretty exhausting countrywide tour. But they weren’t looking that jaded; despite being only two strong they made plenty of noise, members of the crowd who couldn’t retreat to the back in time fell clutching bleeding ears. They haven’t quite taken off yet, and feel like they need another member, but Girlshow went down well, and they finished with a thumping rendition of Tornado, their scratchy, raw sound an interesting counterpart to what was to come.
No worries about numbers for Dragons, who also advertise as a duo but turned up as five. Dragons go for epic, large scale sound, more suited to a 75,000 strong arena than a 30 strong Water Rats, and they began looking relatively out of place – several diehard fans twitching oddly at the front and everyone else standing and appreciating from a safe distance.
But since they can’t quite sell out Wembley yet, at least they got to play to somewhere relatively full. Here are the Roses, the cracking title track off their new album, went down a storm, as did Lonely Tonight. Ears numbed by Belladonna were gradually hauled back to the front of the venue to appreciate their insistent, all-encompassing sound. Dragons are full of hubris but they’re pretty good as well, and put on an energetic live set, singer Anthony Tombling Jnr frantically doing his weird, walking dance. By the end his earnest voice, backed up by reams of electro rock, had almost managed to convince me I was in Wembley after all, and that the time I was having could shit all over anything George Michael could produce. But that could have been the beer talking.
Dragons are a tight outfit whose star is set to rise, and if they ever get to play a big venue I’m sure they’d kill it. For now, they’ll have to put up with staking out a small, shadowy corner of the hearts and minds of the few they do get to play to.