March 6th | Crofters Rights
Photos: Luke Macpherson
Friday night. The end of a weird week in Bogroll Britain. Cerebrally-enfeebled, febrile Coronawazzocks building buttresses out of hoarded bum paper. Theft of hand san from hospitals from those equally likely to wander off and mindlessly lick the nearest window. Snifflers self-isolating (wasn’t it called ‘skiving’ back in the day?). Just when and where would this week stop? Frankly, most of us were more than eager to disembark from the nutty bus.
Fortunately, Stokes Croft provided exactly the right terminus. Without he merest hint of a face mask and a reassuringly defiant array of hugs and handshakes, The Crofters Rights was full of life for the visit of Dogeyed. Playing the first of a three-night run that would take them to Brighton and London, along with Rebecka Reinhard, the contagion rife in the pleasantly-crowded back room came through broad smiles and lashings of tremolo-rich guitar.
It’s heartening to look around a room and see bands watching bands. You know you’re in a proper musical community. To look around and see members of Langkamer, Konketsu, Hamburger and Nicholson Heal present to enjoy this Breakfast Records triple-bill felt like another significant reminder of local unity and a further antidote to the previous seven days. It also said something significant about just how good Dogeyed are live.
Josie Blakelock commenced proceedings with a quiet stillness, the calm before the storming pair of acts to come. Her evocation of moonlight, memory and the city streets late at night made for a cleansing opening: sanitising in its own right, but more beneficial than anything you can panic-buy from your local supermarket. Her set peaked with the final two songs, where she took a folkier turn, switching to electric-acoustic guitar and the higher range of her voice with ‘Canada Water’ and ‘Neon Signs’.
The joys of Rebecka Reinhard’s set were manifold. It opened and closed with the sort of shred that could clear any mind fog via tracks ‘No Release’ and most aptly-named ‘Strange Week’. We were also treated to a masterclass in how to tickle and thrash a drumkit in equal measures. That contrast reflected in Reinhard’s songs, which could render you still and deeply attentive, or alternatively make your head, neck and feet go rhythmically rogue. ‘Pisces’ provided the highlight – an emotional tale, beautifully told.
Dogeyed played what Harriet Elder suggested might be their longest set to date. This included most recent single ‘Kalimotxo’, ‘Why You Lie To Me’ and their desire to cover of Nicholson Heal’s ‘Joint Pain’ was given Mr Heal’s seal of approval from the audience beforehand, with the good-humoured caveat, “Just make sure the royalties come my way.” Good humour was a recurring theme. Some bands can look rather stony-faced. Dogeyed spend their time onstage looking like they’re thoroughly enjoying themselves, and it would take the strongest of bogroll buttresses to stop drummer Jonathan Minto’s grin getting through dour defences.
Tim Rowing-Parker on bass even took to the microphone to thank everyone for their attendance, but especially Breakfast’s Josh Jarman for his enthusiastic dancing: “He was really tapping his feet during that last song and it was really egging me on. I felt like I was doing a fucking good job.” Calls for “one more song” at the end left them with the only remaining song in their repertoire, ‘Bad Baby’, necessitating Harriet Elder to play alone. “We never do this one because I hate being on my own,” she told us, before highlighting exactly why she should play the song more.
Listen to ‘Kalimotxo’ here: