Dugstock – Friday – Spoilers, Darko, Captain Trips, Mug, On A Hiding To Nothing, Strange Planes, Triple Sundae, Sweet Diego

Date: 14th April 2017

Venue: New Cross Inn

Easter weekend kicked off with a punk extravaganza at the New Cross Inn. A two-day event hosted by Umlaut Records, showcasing some of the UK’s brightest emerging artists, a few well-known names and introducing us to a couple bands from across the continent. This was always going to be a fun fueled couple of days in south London.

Kicking off the weekend was Brummy pop-punk quartet, Sweet Diego who unleashed early Blink 182 style vibes. Think of ‘Cheshire Cat’ era mixed with the typical Epi-Fat, Californian punk sound. Musically the band produced crunchy NOFX-like riffs and bouncy melodies. This was fronted by a combination of chirpy singing vocals and angst-ridden shouts, with some less than serious topics, including one about memes. Performance wise, Sweet Diego were energetic, in which they liked to jump around and kept active throughout. The four-piece was a decent opening act, but not many people were around to see it sadly. (6.5)

Things luckily picked up a little bit for London pop-punks Triple Sundae. The last time I saw these guys they had a brass section, yet for this show that was gone. Laced with lots of big hooks and plenty of down tuned riffs, the four-piece performed a series of modern pop-punk influenced hits that were reminiscent of the likes of Four Year Strong. Triple Sundae had a small fan base in the crowd, where they had a few people singing along and dancing about, one friend of the band in the form of Conor Yates of Cereal Box Heroes even joined the band onstage to perform a song. It was a solid follow-up. (7)

What followed may have been the oddest band of the weekend in terms of their sound compared to every other band at Dugstock. London trio, Strange Planes were an alt-rock band with a strong Queens of the Stone Age atmosphere to them. We were treated to lots of heavy riffage to bang our heads to, with occasional melodic segments. Between some of the songs, the band liked to play little elevator music style intermissions. This was fairly amusing, it created a less serious tone to balance out the heavier attitude in their songs. In spite of the strong difference to all the other bands, they had a decent response and talent wise these guys were really impressive. (7)

Joined by Hassan Afeneh, the singing guitarist from Triple Sundae, One A Hiding To Nothing hit the stage very much like a NOFX copycat in terms of music and jesty attitude. The four-piece powered throughout a set full of fast pop-punk anthems, armed with high tempo distorted riffs and erratic drumming. Musically this band were tight, and they liked to have a joke about between songs, it was all very entertaining wth fun vibes for the entire set. (7.5)

Sad news broke that Roughneck Riot, who were meant the evening’s headliners had broken down on the journey down. This led to an impromptu Müg set primarily of punk rock covers. Opening with a song I’m pretty sure is called ‘Scream At The Sky’, at least that’s how I think the quite anthemic chorus goes. The for the rest of the set they played plenty of punk-rock classics. Descendents track ‘Merican’, NOFX track ‘Linoleum’, stated that it was probably the most covered punk song ever. Also Lagwagon song, ‘Mr Coffee, Chixdiggit song ‘Chupacabra’, which caused a lot of excitement in the crowd, one fan even came on stage to sing along. The highlight was when Müg performed Bouncing Souls favourite ‘True Believers’, which had most of the venue singing along pretty loudly. (8)

Portsmouth skate punks Captain Trips followed up with very much the same vibes, nothing serious, just a vast amount of fast paced rhythms and catchy as hell melodies. Musically the quartet was impactful andupliftingg, yet between the songs, the banter was incredibly chilled out. There was a jokey mood as the band asked amusing questions to the crowd such as what kind of fruit is their favourite. It was one of those sets that lacked talking points, and the crowd reaction wasn’t quite as strong as it was for Müg, but Captain Trips flourished in producing countless enjoyable songs. (7.5)

Since Roughneck Riot had to pull out, Darko became the band I was most excited to see on this day of Dugstock. Earlier this year I checked out their album ‘Bonsai Mammoth’, and this set reminded me how great that album was. For the first time since becoming acquainted with the songs, I got to hear ‘Lifeblood’ performed with such great energy and ferocity. The melodic hardcore meets skate-punk blend stole the show and created a lot of buzz in the room that completely grabbed my attention more than quite few bands have all year. It was a high-octane yet emotional atmosphere that was backed by some incredible musicianship, especially with the tapping solo duet in ‘Life Forms’. This was without a doubt one of the more memorable sets over the weekend. (9)

Spoilers singer Dan Goatham jokingly called Darko “bastards” as they are always a difficult act to follow. The kent punks still kept up to pace by delivering a wave of traditional British punk and California skate punk, emulating the likes of Snuff mixed with NOFX, it sounded like it was direct from 90s. Spoilers packed more high-energy hooks and catchy melodies while keeping us entertained with their between-song humour. Goatham did explain that he’d had a fairly unlucky day in the build up to the event, but it seemed like he closed it in good fashion. Spoilers were a decent closer for a nice day to discover some great emerging bands. It was certainly a great warm up for a longer day to follow. (8.5)

For our review of Saturday

For more of each band
Captain Trips
On A Hiding To Nothing
Strange Planes
Triple Sundae
Sweet Diego