With a debut album – that is almost guaranteed to propel this band to the heady heights reserved for only a handful of bands – ready to drop early next year, it is safe to say that Glasgow’s Dead Pony will never be playing rooms this size again. The room in question is Oporto’s 120-capacity hidden den in Leeds and it will probably have a blue plaque outside it in the future stating that Dead Pony once played here.
With barely enough room to swing a cat, it’s a long, narrow room with a stage at one end that the bands have to walk through the crowd to get to. It makes it feel like a special show and it’s definitely an intimate one for their first headline tour.
Having been one of the stand-out acts at this year’s Tramlines Festival in July, they were well and truly on the radar, so checking them out at a tiny venue in Leeds was a must – and they did not disappoint.
They played with energy and aggression and had the room bouncing from the moment they kicked off with “Bullet Farm.” By the time they had finished 45 minutes later, they had not only cemented their place as one of the most exciting new bands around, but also played at least a dozen bangers, made the walls sweat and, when guitarist Blair launched himself into the front 7 or 8 rows, made lifelong fans of every single person in the room.
With Anna Shields’ angry vocals and shadowboxing dance moves, she defies her stature and is the clear focal point on the tiny stage, even with all hell breaking loose behind her.
The cover of “Maneater” by Nelly Furtado is great but probably not needed, as their own material is phenomenal. Closer “23, Never Me” is sung with ferocity by the audience before the band leaves the stage through the crowd to spend time meeting and greeting them at the merch stand. As the room clears, you can see the carnage of spilt beer and smashed glasses left in the wake of a Dead Pony show.
It’s a rare privilege to get so up close and personal with a band that you know is going to be massive soon, and this tour is going to be one of those watershed moments in the history of a great band that everyone claims to have seen. Put them on your radar and go and see them as soon as possible. Gig of the year so far, hands down!