Thursday, 19 November 2015

Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Dome

Wednesday 11th November 2015
The older I get the more opinionated I am about live music venues. When I was younger I didn't think twice about it. If a band I liked were playing, I would make damn sure that I was there – whatever the venue, wherever the location. But with age comes experience and, subsequently, venues are now subject to the following checklist: acoustics (actually, this one has always mattered), location, proximity to a good restaurant, bar (what do they sell and how long do you have to queue), and of course familiarity – when you have been to the same venues enough times you know exactly where to stand for the best view.

However, sometimes you get a reminder that hits you like a punch in the face that the venue means nothing – it's all about the band. I've mentioned before that I have seen some great bands rock some truly crappy venues and others have no chemistry at all in the very best, and last week was a good reminder of this.

My husband bought us tickets to see Dinosaur Pile-Up when they first went on sale. I wrote about their show at The Hope in Brighton here, and we saw them again at Camden Rocks this summer; they are incredible live and needless to say the venue didn't matter. In fact we hadn't even heard of it, which goes to show we haven't exhausted every avenue just yet. On inspection of a few online photos, my husband informed me that The Dome at Tuffnell Park looked suspiciously like a village hall. Not very rock 'n' roll....

However, Tuffnell Park is pretty close to Camden and Camden is home of Hache (the king of all burger joints), so 'proximity to a good restaurant' was one thing I could check off my list. When we arrived at The Dome it was indeed very reminiscent of a village hall and (as we drunk flat pints of beer and admired the frilly curtains) I became increasingly certain that this stage had probably been home to its fair share of nativity plays over the years. By this point I was starting to feel the beer/burger bloat and was more than a little tempted to try and track down the cupboard full of chairs that had to be there somewhere in case of an impromptu PTA meeting...

Enter Dinosaur Pile-Up. And with one chord I was awake. I already knew this band was something special live, but that night they performed some kind of magic. They sounded great, they looked great (The Dome actually has some pretty impressive lighting, presumably for helping guide Jesus successfully to Bethlehem) and they inspired the kind of passionate reaction that results in mosh-pits and crowd surfing. I don't think the security quite knew what to do, they looked a bit bemused by the whole thing.

The band's latest album came out last month and they included a fair few songs from this in their set, as well as a sprinkling of Growing Pains and Nature Nurture. The whole thing culminated in an explosive performance of 11:11 which united the whole crowd in its enthusiasm. The show was all consuming and it wasn't until the lights came up that I remembered where I was and had to laugh.

Looking at the Dome's website, upcoming acts include Cancer Bats and Graveltones, so perhaps it isn't quite the off-the-grid affair that I suspected. But in all honesty, the night wasn't about the venue, or its frilly curtains, or even my incredible dinner. It was about Dinosaur Pile-Up and the simple fact that a band this good can play anywhere and make it work – they could tear the roof off your fucking living-room.

Even Slash knows it.

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