Review: Star and Dagger live

Nottingham 17.04.2013


Sometimes, the good times come unexpectedly.

I certainly wasn’t planning on seeing a band tonight, or, for that matter, on even leaving the house. But tempted out to meet up with local miscreant Tony Leathers, I’m told I have free entry to see US band Star & Dagger this evening if I so wish. Now, I’ve never heard of the band, but a free gig is a free gig, and Leathers assures me – entirely correctly, as it turns out – that their debut music video is a masterpiece of Russ Meyer-inspired shenanigans and blues rock. Not attending seems downright rude under those cirsumstances, so I forgo an early evening of Big Bang Theory re-runs in favour of the gig. A wise move.

Star & Dagger are something like a supergroup, with guitarists Dava She Wolf (Cycle Sluts From Hell) and Dave Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal),bassist Sean Yseult (White Zombie), drummer Gene Trautmann (Queens Of The Stone Age) and vocalist Von Hesseling, and they play a pretty fantastic selection of no-bullshit rock ‘n’ roll motherfucker tracks over a tight 45 minute period. Huddled together on the infamously cramped Old Angel stage, they seem to be inspired to create a sweaty, intimate and entertainingly informal show. Von Hessling is a great front woman, connecting with the crowd (not exactly rammed, but decent enough for a Wednesday night in Nottingham and certainly enthusiastic) and making this feel less like just another gig by a touring band and closer to a private party. There’s humour, repartee and a sense of fun between the songs – all of which kick ass, by the way.

Ending with show-stopping stomper Your Mama was a Grifter – more thunderous and crunching live than in the video version – this felt like a band out to make friends and influence people, and they certainly did that tonight. In a sane world, the next time they come over here, they’ll be playing bigger venues than this.