Dananananakroyd – The Bullingdon, Oxford, November 2011

This is a bit of a strange one. I toddled along to see Dananananaykroyd on Thursday night in Oxford to see their 3rd final show ever before the band call time on their existence. When I told friends this, the usual response was something along the lines of: “Well they must be a bit shit then, as surely anyone deciding to stop doing something must be stopping because they aren’t good enough/popular enough to keep on going.” Well, two positively received albums and huge dollops of praise for one of the best live acts that the United Kingdom has to offer show that not to be true. But in some ways, it feels like a good time to call time.

Looking around at the world of pop culture, sometimes things go on for longer than they should. Jurassic Park? Great. Jurassic Park 2 and 3? Made me want to kidnap David Attenborough, force him to bring dinosaurs back to life just so I can be locked in a room with them so they can tear me limb from limb so I don’t have to live in the knowledge of the fact that I sat through those films.  Leave people wanting more. And so despite the fact that there are plenty of us who are gutted that Dananananaykroyd are calling it a day, we’re left with happy memories of a band at its peak.

And besides, there is something gleefully anarchic for a band to be on a tour where they know it is their final tour. It’s like planning and attending your own funeral; a celebration of the life of the band, and celebrating its forthcoming death with the people who love it by melting faces. The band had been referring to their last gig as a FUNeral, and dressed appropriately for the occasion.

The purpose of this live review seems a bit weird now, since as I am typing this, they played their final show ever in Newcastle last night (mind you, I half-jokingly asked 1/6th of Dananananaykroyd John Baillie Jr about a reunion tour minutes after the end of their gig in Oxford, to which he half-jokingly replied ‘perhaps 2016-ish’). There is also talk of a new band forming with a few Dananananaykroyd members, so all is not lost.

As for the show itself, what can I say that hundreds of critics haven’t said before me? The energy levels were manically high as they blitzed through a frantic set. Those post-hardcore, positively cheerful guitar riffs come catapulting through the speakers; now with only the one drummer playing (as they used to play with two) although he often looked like he was attempting the work of two, a little like Animal the drummer from the Muppets (surely what all drummers aspire to). Frequent ventures from various members of the band into the crowd were made: for a dance, a jump around, a cuddle or perhaps just an attempt to get close to the lady in her mid 40’s at the front who was swaying around in a blissed out state, looking like she was having a flashback to a Stevie Nicks gig 25 years ago.

The Infinty Milk riff is one of my favourite noises in music and closed the main set, before Pink Sabbath and Some Dresses filled the encore. And of course, with Some Dresses comes the infamous ‘Wall of Hugs’, which is the equivalent of the Wall of Death, except it involves running towards and then cuddling a stranger instead of attempting to bludgeon their face in.

It’s also worth mentioning that Traps and CDX writer Pete Hughes band Narobi were supporting. Nairobi in particular were clearly trying to outdo Dananananaykroyd with the number of time signatures they could squeeze into a track, but both were good fun.

And so now we have to enter the post-apocalyptic Dananananaykroyd-less barren musical wasteland, at least until 2016 (please?). Hats off to the boys [and girl] who have made such giddy live music a pleasure for so many over the last several years.

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