The best live band in Britain takes Paris...

It’s set up to be the gig of the year. The brightest, most-killerest live band in Britain playing their debut headline show on the continent before a crowd of (mostly) absolute beginners.

Shit could well end up completely off the dial.

But Paris doesn’t quite go all out for the twelve-legged rock and roll party monster that is Scottish sensations Dananananaykroyd; around the strange Thunderdome-like venue – half cave, half TARDIS – the crowd is a mixture of awe and confusion, smiles as wide as the horizon rubbing shoulders with faces wearing masks muddled by a spilt opinion; the wow meeting the WTF.

Spurred on by a great support-slot set from Brooklyn boys abroad Bear Hands, Dana spark into action from the word go, the ‘o’ the open gobs of those not expecting such an energetic hour from a band five weeks into a continental tour playing second fiddle to Kaiser Chiefs. It’s breathtaking stuff – the interplay between powerhouse percussion (two drummers that actually work well together) and blissful melody, the wiry contortionism of frontman Calum Gunn, the setlist of established-back-home winners and triumphs yet to come. This writer’s immediately lost in the controlled cacophony, 7.9% bottler beer bringing on some questionable ‘moves’.

Dana’s forthcoming debut album, ‘Hey Everyone!’, is likely to rank as one of the year’s best from a domestic act – mixing the corrosive with the considered, it’s a hardcore record for pop kids, indie music for punk crowds. But it primarily serves as an audio flyer for what the band genuinely does best – take their sound to a stage and deliver the goods with little to no faltering (tired limbs are occasionally a given). Tonight the likes of ‘Black Wax’ and ‘Infinity Milk’ aren’t received by sing-along hordes, but nevertheless those of an appreciative bent in the crowd sway merrily along with what’s thrown at them.

Actually, to say the crowd is split does Dana a disservice – that they’re playing before a crowd of newcomers, and winning over a great percentage of them, is proof enough of their fantastic live prowess. How they manage to maintain such high levels of enthusiasm for songs they must have played every night of this slog comes down to the quality of the offerings in question: they pack a punch that nobody can say is short on power at any point of its repeated impacts. They relent only to take breaths, before ploughing into more mayhem – choreographed, of course. Well, sort of.

While they know what they’re doing, it’s that feeling that anything could happen within the audience that sets Dana apart from a hefty pack of perceived-as-new-for-2009 bands rocking heavy guitars with indie quirks and intelligent hooks. Everything adds up to an excitement that borders on the feverous, and the adrenaline ceases not ‘til the fat lady sings.

There is no fat lady in Paris; instead, Dana play ‘til sense says stop, saunter off after an hour to towel down, to take stock, and to plan their return. Because they will be back, Europe, so best set your heart rate rapid now in advance of round two.

See photographs of this show HERE


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