Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Blood Arm / Black Wire @ Dingwalls, London

10 April 2007

Enthusiasam bordering on titanic hubris is The Blood Arm all over. The first sentence of their brilliant 2006 album, Lie Lover Lie, sets down a powerful marker: “Yo I’ll lay down some fucking HITS”. And lay them down they do.

It’s not clear if Dingwalls really appreciated it though. Tuesday night after a long bank holiday weekend is never exactly going to be a big night, and perhaps The Blood Arm aren’t quite the big draw they maybe one day will be, but even so turnout was modest at best.

Black Wire, supporting, had to make do with even less. But they made the most of it, screeching their way through a set that seemed full of promise. One standout single could push them further up a bill, but for the moment they’re ample support, lead singer Dan Wilson bouncing maniacally through the crowd and throwing his own peculiar brand of shapes

They might have even upstaged a less charismatic band, but charisma is what The Blood Arm do. The huge, bulky Nathaniel Fregoso filled the stage and a good deal of the rest of the venue as well, dripping sweat and full of bonhomie. Dressed in an improbable furry pirate hat, he mixed with a rather taken aback Camden audience, storming to the back of the venue and hauling punters on stage to share a drink with him, before getting everyone to sit round an imaginary campfire.

And, of course, he bellowed out his ‘fucking hits’. The Blood Arm are just so intensely likeable, their highly charged, piano fuelled rock at once extravagant and personal, arrogant yet human. Lie Lover Lie, the titular and standout album track was performed with relish, Angela went down a storm round the aforementioned campfire and the encore could be no other than Delores delivers a Glorious Death to Me, a death delivered in their own inimitable style.

But it was missing something, the 12th man of gigs, the crowd. Safely at home on their armchairs watching Man Utd, perhaps? Catching the latest Danny Boyle thriller? Wherever they were, they weren’t where they should have been – at Dingwalls watching something pretty unique.

Grabbing beers, sunglasses, necklaces and hair, getting his drummers shirt off and, inscrutably, passing a lettuce into the crowd which was immediately shredded and thrown back at him, it was undoubtedly Fregoso’s night. But why didn’t you come and join in?

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The Blood Arm / Black Wire @ Dingwalls, London