Standing in that unique niche between the Britpop revolution that is Blur and the metal behemoths Slipknot are, seemingly, Dingus Khan. With that kind of billing, it’s a wonder you haven’t already heard of them! But since they sound nothing like Slipknot, I think you should make your own mind up and listen to their debut album ‘Support Mistley Swans’, which comes with its own supporting comic. It’s utterly, utterly brilliant and includes the line, “who would want to listen to a band with less than three bass players?” Do I need to sell it further?
But onto the band, who I caught up with after their set at Nottingham’s Hit the Deck Festival. Where did I catch up with them? Just nonchalantly on the roof of a 16-storey parking garage that overlooks where the festival’s debauchery takes place, here’s a video of our elevator journey up there with the eight members of Dingus:
As we arrive atop the windswept parking structure the band proceeds to introduce themselves, to which I understand they all gave each other’s names. Which is bad for a feature, but good if you want some comedy from a gaggle of eight sweaty lads atop a building in the middle of Nottingham. Lead singer and guitarist (I think) Ben Brown announces himself by explaining why he has a bleeding gash on the top of his head: “Tom (or Alex) jumped on me and smashed me in the head with his bass guitar, and I caught his eye before he did it and I think he probably did it deliberately!”
To which Tom (or Alex) responds: “It wasn’t deliberate, because I was at the point of hitting you, upside down.”
Take this as a warning, to any who partake in the viewing of a Dingus Khan show, that it is an entirely participatory experience that requires vigilance from you as an audience. I looked away for just a minute when I saw them at May’s Liverpool Sound City in Sound and Vision and I looked up to find Brown, resplendent in blue robes standing atop a table roaring his lungs out to their single ‘Knifey Spooney’.
At the Nottingham gig though the audience enjoyed the rather bizarre performance from the band, which if I haven’t mention consist of three bassists, three drummers, an electric ukulele player and a guitarist: “There were some girls at the front of our gig who were just kind of like *mimes clapping like a seal would when handed a nice rubber beach ball* clapping along who did seem to be really enjoying it throughout, which did kind of spur it on a bit.
“As it’s the case with these kind of gigs that you turn up and you don’t know what it sounds like out front because you rush on, strum your guitar a bit, the sound guy goes, ‘great that’s a guitar’, and ‘ooh, that’s not a drum, hang on!’ Then you kind of rush on and hope that it sounds all right. So to see people enjoying it is good.”
Another band member chimes in; he said his name was Nick, so I’ll assume that his name is Josh: “Everyone kind of lines the walls at the start of the show when you are setting up, and then they kind of move in very slowly as you get going.”
The band have been trawling the festival circuit mercilessly and unrelenting performing their no holds bars kind of insane live set to as many people as they can get to bare whiteness to them in a small room as possible. Their unyielding touring though does have the disadvantage of a slight lack of control: “It’s our first time playing Hit the Deck Festival but we were kind of supposed to play in Bristol yesterday. But well…” (The attention then turns to a man named Gaz, who is tasked with explaining the tomfoolery.)
Gaz clarifies: “I was driving the van from a local gig up in Ipswich and the police stopped me because we had a brake light out and the police stopped me and it turns out I don’t have the right licence to drive a van of that size.
“So I got three points on my licence and a £60 fine.” To which the assembled band proceed to giggle and guffaw at the unlucky lad.
It seemed thought that 60 quid and a blot on an otherwise clean driving licence was not the end of their tumultuous tale of travel: “We needed to be in Bristol by like half 7, so we didn’t do it in the end and as you might of noticed we are one person short as well now. Well, that’s because one of the members of our band Tom Armstrong [maybe?] just didn’t travel along.
Why, I ask? “Well he has this thing where he can’t swallow at the moment and it’s become this kind of paranoia for him. It may sound untrue, but this is serious, he can’t leave the house at the moment and he is really ill.”
So what are this band about? When told they’re a link between Blur and Slipknot they politely as a group shrug off the billing and Ben, their Dingus in chief it seems says: “A bit between Oasis and AC-DC, with a bit of Supergrass and Slade and Pink.”
Tongue and cheek it may be, but this band are all about the tongue and indeed the cheek and a sense of humour is required if you are going to watch a Dingus show. But don’t take it away from the tunes, they aren’t a bunch of one trick ponies relying on their humour and quirks. They have big tunes, full of heart and covering ever relatable topics like, when your bag for life breaks in the shop, or when you can’t find a knife and you have to use a spoon.
So come on, give the boys a chance. ‘Support Mistley Swans’, they need YOUR help.
Many thanks to the band for this interview and Joe for setting this up for us!