Wednesday 19 February 2020

Goan Dogs - Boileroom, Guildford - February 15th, 2020

Another case of trying something new and liking it!

After enjoying Skinny Lister and finding myself deep in the January blues, I decided to see who was playing locally soon.

I scanned the upcoming gigs at Aldershot's West End Centre, but nothing took my fancy, so I started looking at the calendar for the Boileroom in Guildford.

I checked out some of the acts on Youtube and soon discovered that the Goan Dogs seemed quite interesting.

I bought a ticket for a bargain tenner and waited.

Storm Dennis ('The least threatening name for a storm' as Wyse, the support act, described it - I guess she'd never heard of 'The Menace'!) arrived, promising high wind and heavy rain, but Guildford was in a lull from about 7 to Midnight, so I figured it wouldn't be too much of a problem, but as I drove to Guildford it was noticeable how few cars there were on the roads and Guildford town centre was remarkably quiet too.

I found on-street parking and arrived in time for the support act, Wyse.

I was a bit surprised to see there was no wire mesh separating the audience from the, very low, stage, because it had been there when I'd seen Ben Watt and The Hoosiers there, but both times, the venue had been packed and someone suggested it may be put up when busy to stop the audience falling into the performers. There wasn't much chance of that this evening.

Sadly, when Wyse (a young woman, back by Matt - I think - on his guitar) started there were just 15 of us in the venue!

I won't pretend Wyse filled me with enthusiasm, but the two of them were competent enough and warmly received by the small (but growing, slightly) audience, she just wasn't my cuppa, but I can imagine others might enjoy her style (I've read some comments comparing it to Bjork) and she certainly wasn't untalented, so look her up.

A pause, of course, followed while Wyse's kit was removed and then the Goan Dogs themselves arrived and carried out what sounded like a final soundcheck for a few minutes, before wandering off again.

About 9:15 they came back and the lights fell. By now the audience had risen to around 50 people, which was a real shame for the band, performing, they said, live for the first time in two years.

I'd listened to a few of their tracks on Youtube, so knew the first song 'Passing Through' and they sounded pretty good (I did ask the sound man to lift the vocal a little as it was hard to hear and, to his credit, he did and it was better after that), much as you would hope from a live performance of a song you'd only heard recorded before.

The Bristol based band describe themselves as playing 'Warped Guitar Pop' which is fair enough as far as it goes. They're a guitar band and their sound is fairly 'pop-y', but what the 'warped' adds to that is hard to define and I struggled to think of who they reminded me, if anyone, and to be honest, nearly a week later I'm no nearer doing so.

At moments, I detected hints of the early Police in their vaguely reggaeish sound, but I'm quite sure most would struggle to hear it.

Whatever they do, though, they do very well and their distinctive sound worked well, mixing that with witty lyrics on songs like "The Grid", "Flying Business Class" and "Drifting Apart".

They sounded good live with no signs of rustiness in their performance and the audience seemed to really enjoy the gig, I certainly did.

It was, though, a fairly short set at around 75 minutes with no encore - After saying how much I'd enjoyed them, I asked one of the band if they were doing any more songs as he stepped out of the stage area, but he said they didn't have a huge amount of material, not having performed for a while.

Overall, though it was a great little gig, if the tiny audience did keep the atmosphere a little subdued and I hope it was mostly the threat of poor weather that kept people at home rather than hearing them as they really deserve a bigger audience and some proper success.

I hope too, that it won't dissuade them coming back to the Boileroom as I'd go and see them there again.

When you think of some of the performers who achieve chart success, it seems incredible that a bunch of talented lads like Goan Dogs aren't a household name.

If you get the chance go and see them, they are a great band with a distinctive sound and deserve more attention.