Dogtooth - Check 'em out!

Posted on Sunday 29th January 2017 21:55 by FreckFest

It was terrific to get back to the business of show last Friday night, when Dogtooth kicked off Freckfest’s 2017 in spectacular fashion.

A near-full house left the gig with ears ringing and faces grinning after being entertained by one of the most promising up-and-coming bands in the country. Much has been made of the age of the trio – 15, 16 and 17 – but that’s insignificant when you consider that Dogtooth recently played their 200th show. Those couple of hundred gigs has seen the band grow in strength and stature, quite literally.

A year and a half ago, Dogtooth first appeared at the HAC as a support act. Stage shy and awkward, they played a short set of obvious covers, eyes fixed firmly on the floor until their last number had finished. Fast forward to Friday night and the same band has developed in every conceivable way.

                                                                                                                   

 

Firstly, they’re physically bigger than they were. Young Craig Morrison has grown into his bass guitar. Last time around he wrestled with his instrument the way an adventurous explorer might attempt to hold a python. On Friday night he stood motionless save for the blur of his fingers up and down the fretboard of his Rickenbacker bass, rooted to the spot, less in fear and more in surly, lip-curled presence. With his grown-out mowhawk, baggy, raggy black jumper, drainpipes and Docs, he’s got a style and stage presence not seen since Jean-Jacques Burnell in the early days of The Stranglers.

                                                                                                 

In sharp contrast, the opposite side of the stage belonged to singing guitarist John Hewitson. With scruffy Jeff Beck mop and French fisherman’s jumper, he’s every inch the mod to his bass playing punk partner. He might still need to work a wee bit on his stage presence, but he’s no slouch when it comes to playing his guitar. Back when I was a whippersnapper with lofty ambitions of indie rock stardom, the cheap plank of wood I had the cheek to call my guitar was played through a basic fuzzbox, with what I considered to be earth-shattering results. In contrast, John has a pedal board that produces the most marvellous of sounds; rough ‘n ready rock, sky-scraping psychedelic solos and splashes of wah-wah, played on proper vintage guitars through vintage amplifiers. It all sounds amazing.

                                                                                                  

Holding the band together is drummer Robert Lang, at 17 the oldest of the trio. When he brought the band’s intense version of The Jam’s ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’ to a finish with a manic, windmilling two minute drum solo, splinters of wood flying from his sticks, I was punching the air in celebration. The ghost of Keith Moon was surely looking down, smiling in appreciation.

                                                                                                      

What a mighty sound! Not only do Dogtooth look bigger, they sound bigger too. Their set still consists of a healthy mixture of covers; Stranglers, Clash and SLF for the old punks, Who and Jam for the mods, Oasis, Stone Roses and Supergrass for the young-at-heart and Catfish and Libertines for the gang of glammed-up teenage girls that constituted half of the audience, interspersed with a handful of originals.

This year, the band plan to release an EP of self-penned material. Following that, there’ll be another couple of hundred shows and quite probably world domination. You should check ‘em out before they’re as famous as the bands that have had a clear influence on them.

                                                                                                     

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