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Interview: Dingus Khan at Hit the Deck Nottingham 2013

 
By on Friday, 31st May 2013 at 11:00 am
 

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!

 

Hit the Deck Nottingham 2013 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd April 2013 at 5:47 pm
 

Photos by Jess Mason (@jessislost)

The sun beat down upon the beautiful streets of Nottingham as hordes of scantily-clad teenagers, sporting piercings aplenty and tattoos in abundance. With a plethora of flesh on show, these skipped giddily towards Nottingham’s rock central, Hit the Deck Festival 2013.

Billed as the UK’s premier indoor festival, the artists are shared among seven venues all within walking distance of each other. It’s still in its infancy, with yesterday’s events being the third time the festival has hit Nottingham. If hardcore, punk and metal are your genres of choice, then Hit the Deck presented a veritable orgy of talent from the UK and abroad to feast your teeth into, from experimental instrumental acts to some pop-punk for the young at heart.

After interviewing a number of lovely bands, with a special mention to the utterly mad Dingus Khan who were interviewed on top of a 16-storey parking garage and partially in a lift, the bands were set upon!

First up were female quartet Evarose, whose energy in Rock City’s sweaty basement was infectious from the off. There is nothing quite as contagious as the energy of a band that is obviously enjoying themselves immensely. The smile plastered across the bassist’s face was testament to this. They may not have been playing the big stages, but they committed themselves 100% to the task ahead of them, which was of course winning the festival audience who had stumbled upon them. The lead vocalist was an abundance of the pop-punky jumpiness you expect from a band like this, and whilst her vocal range let her down slightly, it did seem a case of practice will see these girls come good. (7/10)

In the Rescue Rooms directly afterwards, instrumental five-piece Maybeshewill set upon a bit of mindbuggery with their noodling solos and occasionally heavy breakdowns/beatdowns (take your pick). The crowd were either encapsulated, or thoroughly baffled by the band, as the crowd stood permanently affixed, only breaking their statuesque poses to mark the end of a song with a round of applause.

Instrumental music provides the quizzical question to punters, of ‘where do you look?’ Whilst most bands have a focal point, a frontman of some kind, with Maybeshewill your eyes dart around each members instruments. The set though was tight and enjoyable if you could get your head around the lack of vocals and in an understated fashion they slowly won over the pedestrian crowd. (7/10)

From something understated, to something thoroughly over the top in the form of Attack Attack! was the next move, as the American post-hardcore outfit bounded onto the stage with the exuberance of a group of puppies. Cute and cuddly like puppies? Not exactly! With the groups mix of hardcore bass riffs and techno interludes driving the assembled masses of Rock City into a bopping, bouncing frenzy of flailing flesh and roaring fans.

The mix is eclectic, and works somewhat sparingly, but as the set goes on, the rather formulaic song construction wears slightly thin on my cynical (and very large) ears. However, as a live act, the band exude confidence and frontman Phil Druyor proves to be a bastion of charm, energy and everything a band like Attack Attack! need. (6/10)

Following up from the aural assault of Attack Attack! are one of the most hotly tipped bands on the bill: Essex band We Are the Ocean who, forgive the pun, are riding the crest of a wave after the success of hugely-catchy tracks like ‘The Waiting Room’, ‘Bleed’ and ‘The Road’. WATO are the kind of no frills rock and roll act that I just can’t fail to enjoy.

We Are the Ocean Hit the Deck 2013

Heart on their sleeve choruses and an aversion to wonky time signatures which sees some brilliantly catchy tunes roared from the Rock City main stage. The UK has their very own Gaslight Anthem, and with the reception they received from the crowd as evidence, they will be hearing a lot more of WATO’s charming tunage. (8/10)

After a brief interlude for some of the most delectable cookies I’ve ever had the pleasure to consume it was time for a healthy dose of pop-punk tomfoolery with We are the in Crowd. NOT WE ARE IN THE CROWD, as this annoys them greatly. Trust me.

For a WATIC virgin I was in shock as the American five-piece proceeded to pull tune after tune out of their pockets, whipping the packed room of tweens and teenyboppers into a flurried mass of squealing. Each member of the band brought boundless vitality to the stage, whilst Jordan Eckes vocals soared across the wide expanse of Rock City with ease, before set closer ‘Rumor Mill’ produced easily the biggest and most positive reaction of the day’s proceedings. (8/10)

Next up were a band whom are bound to cause chaos wherever they go and I for one feel for their tour manager. Pure Love, fronted by ex-Gallows troublemaker Frank Carter, the Rescue Rooms was literally torn to bits as the rampaging lead singer leapt into the crowd and made his way to the bar for a vodka Coke.

If that wasn’t enough, lead guitarist and ex-Suicide File axe man Jim Carroll managed two crowd surfs whilst still slamming riffs out during the first two songs. With chaos ensuing, it seemed only right that Frank took proceedings to an even odder stage by putting the bands drum kit in the crowd and orchestrating a swirling circle pit around it. Whilst the theatrics made it an engrossing set, the tunes ensured that this was the set of the festival hands down. Carter remains the emphatic draw he was in his time at Gallows, and I can only see Pure Love going from strength to strength. (9.5/10)

To close the night are the champions of lad rock, kings of (dare I say it) swag and purveyors of some of the most memorable tunes you’ll hear this year and the next! Don Broco look every bit rocks answer to The Ordinary Boys, only not shit, with frontman Rob Damiani resplendent in a Fred Perry polo shirt and with his biceps almost tearing through it.

They open with a belter, in the form of ‘Priorities’, and from then on the tone is set. Damiani struts across the stage with a trademark elegance and swag (god, I said it again). The hits are flying out at break neck pace and even a rather laboured break for the bands fabled push-up patrol, for which they have t-shirts, does not interrupt proceedings. Again, it may be clichéd, but there are BIG things for these boys in the future. They are polite, extremely likable and bloody good looking to boot. What they want to do really is up to them, from the reception they received. (9/10)

 
 
 

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