Recently I made a bit of an oversight. Emma and I were heading to Dingwalls in the heart of Camden Market to see Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room with support from Sam Russo and Bro. The oversight was the surprise at turning up to Dingwalls and having to queue to get in! We're so used to turning up and just being able to walk in to the gig that it felt strange having to wait. Then we thought about it and realised this was Dan Andriano. Dan Andriano! Who plays bass for one of the most popular punk bands in the world! Of course it was going to be a busy gig!
First up was London's two piece rockers Bro. Before talking about their set, I need to offer an apology. Earlier this year Jules from the band spoke to me about reviewing Bro's music. I happily said I would but then I completely forgot. Sorry Bro! Despite the fact that this was Bro’s first ever tour this was actually my second time seeing them, having previously seen them with Ducking Punches and River Jumpers at the Brixton Windmill last year. I remember enjoying that set but it was easily surpassed at this gig. Guitarist and singer Jules and drummer Garth really seem to have found their sound, which I would describe as a ‘punk rock Muse’, and drew a great response from an already sizeable crowd.
As we waited for Sam Russo I looked around Dingwalls and decided that I like the place; it's much bigger than it looks from the outside and the inside is perfect for watching live music. The floor is plenty spacious for people wanting to get as close to the stage as possible and there are also some fairly close, raised areas for getting a decent view of the action without getting too squashed or having short people problems. I look forward to attending more gigs at Dingwalls. Funny little side story - when we arrived at Dingwalls we weren't sure if were actually queuing at the right building, Google Maps wasn't very helpful and the sign at the front is very difficult to see.
Sam Russo is one of the most popular singer-songwriter types to emerge from the UK's underground scene. During the past year he has toured with the likes of The Lawrence Arms, Masked Intruder, Restorations and Tim Barry and has picked up more and more fans along the way. Recently he released a brand new album on Specialist Subject and Red Scare Industries titled Greyhound Dreams, which continues the story-telling theme of his debut album Storm. I always enjoy his records but Sam Russo is at his very best playing live. His songs and presence onstage really captivate a crowd and his voice live is something else. It's just fantastic. It's hard for me to really explain what it is about it but it just works so wonderfully well and really grabs me whenever I hear it. The crowd at Dingwalls adored Russo as well, singing along and giving him huge amounts of applause between songs. If you haven't checked out Sam Russo yet do it as soon as you finish reading this review.
Finally it was time for Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room. This is Dan's solo project for when he's not with Alkaline Trio. I say solo project, he's actually backed by a full band - which for this tour featured Garth from Bro on the keyboard, Sam Russo on guitar and Andrew and Hamish from Bangers on bass and drums respectively. After getting over the weirdness of seeing Sam, Andrew and Hamish playing on stage together with Dan after seeing them so often with their own bands, I really enjoyed Dan's set. I had listened to the new album Party Adjacent earlier in the day and enjoyed it but hearing songs from it live was even better. I've always enjoyed Dan's songs with Alkaline Trio so seeing him perform a collection of his own songs live was an absolute pleasure. He put so much energy and passion into his performance but still manages to remain the coolest man in the room. He seemed more animated playing these songs as well than he did playing Trio songs at the Brixton Academy back in July. Naturally the crowd loved him and as I looked around the room I noticed lots of people singing as loud as possible to every single word. It was truly a great set.