Cards on the table: I love Dexters. From when I first heard Recover to the first time I saw them (Leadmill), to sharing Sambuca at Doncaster Leopard and Wakefield Warehouse 23 to sitting in a pub listening to Tom do his David Prowse as Darth Vader impression I love Dexters as a band and as people.
Not always a good thing when it comes to music. There's nothing worse than a band you love letting you down. (I'm thinking Waterboys and Room To Roam here). So with Dexters long awaited album due out on March 17th and live dates to follow it was a nervous time. Could Dexters follow up on their early promise?
I'm an idiot.
Of course they could. And them some.
Debut album Shimmer Gold is a masterpiece. From indie gems Recover, Start To Run and The Hard Way, to the simply stunning Springsteenesque builder that is Shimmer Gold to Can't Sleep (which shows Bombay Bicycle Club where they went wrong on their new album) it is one of the finest debut albums ever. The title track is worth the entrance fee alone.
Dexters live though have always surpassed Dexters recorded, for me the sign of a great band. If you can't cut it live then don't bother. Not only are they musically gifted they are also, well, just, fun basically.
In Tom they have one of the most charismatic singers on the circuit right now. 'Still with us Sheffield' he asks half way through. The responding roar is deafening. 'Have you heard of a song called Reco.....' He doesn't get to finish that sentence.
The set is all off the album with the exception of Nature Of The Beast. A song so good it means I won't have to be nervous in the build up to the second album. They open with Cloudfest. Tom sweating in his sheepskin coat but still the epitome of cool. Bass player Jamie on a speaker stack before the fall that I promised I wouldn't mention. (A late sambuca got him back up there), Ben defying his earlier statement 'I'm the rubbish guitarist.' The crowd are already in the palms of Tom's hands but the band just build and build. It's a moshing mess.
Oceans ends the set, as energetic as the opener.
Dexters live is an experience everyone has to enjoy at least once. See them once though and you'll just want more. A ten song set list that is over far too soon leaves the crowd desperate for more.
The future is Shimmering Gold
Never A Right Time
Nature Of The Beast
The Hard Way
Start To Run