Live Review – Dilly Dally @ Hare & Hounds
Hare & Hounds
Review by SdM
Standing centre front of stage Katie looked positively angelic. Her blonde hair shone like a halo in the stage lights; her luminous white lace dress added to her otherworldly appearance. To her right lead guitarist Liz dressed in black with short dark hair looked like her polar opposite. Bass player Jimmy straddles the middle ground by wearing both black and white. Drummer Ben was in Shadow at the back of the stage. Who knows what he was wearing – drummers are best heard and not seen anyway. So my mom tells me.
Katie’s voice is an an extraordinary duality of childlike playfulness and a gargle-with-barbed-wire rasp. All the songs’ light and shade are expressed with a simultaneous sweet innocence and hell bent fury. Liz Bell’s guitar plays melodic lead throughout the set evoking memories of 80’s indie gods The Cure and Bauhaus whilst mixing with doses of 90’s heavy grunge.
Dilly Dally are touring to promote the latest album Heaven and the gig opener is the album opener, ‘I Feel Free’. A huge stadium sized chorus of “I feel free and I want you to find me” is belted out with passion and commitment. ‘Sober Motel’ may articulate the benefits of sobriety but it does so with with no less gusto. ‘Doom’ is Katie’s exploration of the human condition giving expression to her feelings of desolation. The soft and slow beginning gives way to a repeat of “If I make it” – the room reverberates to her heartfelt scream and captivated everyone in the room. Compared to the records everything seems somehow more enhanced live, and it’s not just the sheer volume – it all becomes more extreme yet more cohesive. The expression of every song grabs you in a more visceral way and becomes more meaningful, more enveloping. The people dancing with abandon at the front appeared to be an embodiment of this losing yourself in the moment.
“Hey guys this is our third time here. I don’t have very good vision so I don’t know if there’s any familiar people.” Two guys shout out and give some garbled recollections of previous gigs. “Wow, sweet, cool…well….anyway”, says Katie stifling her laughter, “are you smoking pot?”. And without hesitation burst into the opening roar of the two minute furious stomp of ‘Snake Head’.
Problems with a malfunctioning guitar amplifier is eventually solved by the soundman fitting a new cable. The band provide some backing improvisation whilst this is happening – musically not comedically. An audience member’s call to “turn to it up to eleven” is met with good humour, “Ah, Spinal Tap” whispers Katie. The request is thankfully ignored – the sound was loud but balanced.
Old favourite ‘Green’ is another headbanging unrelenting stomp before Katie announces, “this is the last one guys.” ‘Heaven’ is the album closer and the show closer. A Flurry of drums starts the song before the sustained notes of haunting bittersweet guitar melody break through. “The darkness feels like it’s chasing me”. It’s that duality again, something Dilly Dally seem to do so very well. An achingly beautiful end to a thoroughly captivating set that almost dares you not to become emotionally engaged. Great stuff.