There aren’t many city’s which have a gig venue that is a boat, but here in Bristol we have two – the Thekla and the Grain Barge. The former is probably the best known, as it attracts the bigger touring acts, but the Grain Barge is hot on its heels for nailing some of those local musicians on the cusp of stardom including tonight’s act Goan Dogs.
Goan Dogs may have only been going for just over a year (read our interview with them here) but while some of their counterparts are struggling to get more than the obligatory friends and family along to their gigs, these guys are on fire. For tonight’s Grain Barge gig isn’t their first of the evening, no siree, Goan Dogs played an early support slot at The Louisiaina, before hopping across the river for this sold out gig.
Stylish and cool, the five-piece walk onto the stage. They look the part with their take on the Mumford and Sons esque styling (less tweed, more sex appeal). But where too many indie bands adopt the Liam Gallagher arrogant swagger, Goan Dogs remain gracious and humble with lead singer, Luke St Leger, politely thanking everyone for coming before easing into their signature desert rock.
They have the crowd from the first few tracks, which include their most well-known song Hold Me Back and Dog Fight, through some newer material, which they’ve been working on in the studio with The Insects (Massive Attack/Goldfrapp), back to some old favourites, such as As A Train Rolls By and Better Off Dead; I say old favourites because remarkably, there are several people singing along at the front of the crowd – hell, some bands tour for years and don’t even get people singing along!
With no shortage of rave reviews from last week’s gig with Kyla La Grange (read our take on that gig here), more plugs on BBC radio and a forthcoming support slot with The Handsome Family at the Fleece, Goan Dogs are certainly proving the ‘ones to watch’ of the Bristol music scene. Oh and check out their starring role in a new documentary about Bristol music here.