Festival Preview: Stag & Dagger 2008

01 April 2008

Regardless of whether Glastonbury sold out or not, the number of festivals popping up in the UK seems to grow by the day.

But those who find the idea of trudging through mud seeing your favourite bands from far, far away nothing short of horrendous can rest easy, for you can catch a feast of great up and coming music without having to leave the East End and for a fraction of the price.
Stag and Dagger is a new event, in the same vein of the Camden Crawl and more recently Rocklands in New Cross. Spread over 12 venues in Shoreditch, ranging from the gorgeous surroundings of St Leonard’s Church to the sticky floor grittiness of the Old Blue Last, S&D promises over 100 acts covering the toast of the best up-and-coming bands and DJs.

Among the big guns at the event is Philadelphia’s prolific producer Diplo. Following a recent tour with Justice and having worked with M.I.A. on her stunning 2007 album Kala, he’s guaranteed to have the masses queuing round the block but more rewarding delights can be found when looking further down the list of attractions.

Playing their first ever UK shows and fresh from an appearance at All Tomorrow’s Parties, Matador signings Times New Viking are a force to be reckoned with. Managing to mix harsh sounding feedback with melodic song structures, they’ve already been hailed as “the greatest rock band that has ever existed in the history of human conception” by Plan B magazine and are set to be one of the night’s stand-out performances.

In a similar vein, Tennessee’s Jay Reatard, one quarter of seminal punks The Reatards, delivers his own intense punk-rock show for the first time on these shores. Other US exports on display include Nashville country darlings Magic Wands, Texas electro extraordinaires Octopus Project and hypnotic New York duo Telepathe, who sound like the bastard child of Gang Gang Dance and No Age.

There’s plenty of home-grown talent to get your teeth into too. Among them are Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds who have been getting airplay aplenty on Radio 1 for their addictive single Slow Kids and are sure to be splashed across the press in months to come. Elsewhere Das Pop provide some electro funk goodness that will get the Hoxton haircuts dancing, while Semifinalists are on the comeback trail having completed the follow-up to their highly acclaimed self-titled debut.

Aussies Operator Please are also bound to be among the other big draws with their X-ray Spex-tinged pop while Hackney’s r’n’b princess Thecocknbullkid delivers her cheeky tales of sleeping with your boyfriend’s mother on near-home turf. Throw in recent Warp signings Pivot, oddballs Zombie Zombie (who feature ex-Herman Dune man Cosmicneman) and cult Australian electro favourite Muscles and you have one very busy evening in your hands.

If all that live music doesn’t appeal you can always head to one of the many DJ sets being provided from some of London’s best promoters and record labels including Modular, Ed Banger, Young & Lost, Kill ‘Em All, Moshi Moshi and Allez Allez.

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