If you were to choose the most overlooked band of the past few years, Dutch Uncles would surely rank highly up there.
Formed in Stockport in 2008, the band have quietly been paying their dues, building up a loyal fan base and now it looks like the hard work is about to pay off, if their recent performance at The Haunt is anything to go by.
Emerging onto the stage to the strains of Emerson, Lake and Palmers cover of ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ dressed in matching dark blue bomber jackets, the band looked more like part time geniuses who spend all day indoors working on something in their sheds – rather than the hardened indie trailblazers that they are.
Launching straight into ‘Baskin’, a song from their critically acclaimed latest album, ‘Big Ballon’, the crowd instantly started moving as they do so for the remainder of the set.
The most notable thing to comment on upon seeing a Dutch Uncles show is frontman Duncan Wallis’s dancing, which truly is a thing of wonder. Part Michael Jackson fandom, part David Byrne performance art and part man who is about to wet himself, Wallis dancing is the thing you most notice whilst watching them – yet it is still their songs that you ultimately end up taking away.
Dutch Uncles’ gift for knowing their way around a melody really comes across when live. Known mostly for their atypical time signatures, the fact they can fit such choruses and motifs amongst this is where their main strength truly lies.
Their songs may be overly complicated progressive head rushes that take multiple instruments to play and multiple time shifts but they do also come with a whitstable chorus that you will not be able to get out of your head, long after listening.
The band were in a jovial mood throughout, laughing and joking around in between and sometime during songs, making them jokily draw their signature song ‘Flexxin’ out to include an extended cowbell solo.
The best reaction of the night was saved for the title track of their new album, ‘Big Ballon’. A joyous uptempo romp that already ranks as one of the band’s best songs, the band performed it with gusto and had the whole crowd singing along to every word like their lives depended on it.
Other highlights included the paranoid yet slinky ‘Streetlight’, the elegant pure pop perfection of ‘Babymaking’ and their early classic ‘Face In’, an indie anthem that should have been everywhere had everyone not been too busy listening to The Wombats.
By the time Dutch Uncles had finished with a frenzied race through the frantic ‘Dressage’, the crowd were riddled with excitement and gave them a rapturous applause off stage, leaving them to note that it was the best gig of their tour so far.
It would be hard to disagree with this as it was an absolute masterclass by one of the best British bands of the past decade. Concert and Festival promoters take note, this is a band that deserve to be playing on the biggest of stages.