Thursday, 14 August 2008

Gig Review: Dengue Fever @ Rough Trade East

Last night I had the pleasure of watching my favourite band out of L.A. right now, Dengue Fever, play a free gig at Rough Trade East in London.

Dengue Fever Perform @ Rough Trade East

Taking to the tiny cramped stage they plunged straight into a mixture of songs from their recently released album ‘Venus On Earth’. If you haven’t already heard their music, I’d describe it as a mixture of psychedelic rock meets Cambodian pop music with a heavy sprinkle of indie 60’s surf. Synchronized bopping and almost Shadows-esque swaying of guitars (and come to think of it, their guitar sound does have a hint of a speeded up, more twangy Shadows) from Zac Holtzman (formerly of Dieselhed) and Senon Williams (also of Radar Brothers) provided a great energy to the performance.

Some of their songs are sung in Khmer and a few in English but before you British readers out there even begin to think of categorizing them into the ‘World Music’ section of your local record store (which is basically the kiss of death for most bands trying to make it in the UK), you have to check out Chhom Nimol’s quite frankly amazingly talented vocals. Originally from Cambodia, her beautiful voice is captivating and even though I have no idea what she is singing about when she ‘goes native’, I find myself humming along - God knows what I am actually singing but it feels good (but most probably doesn’t sound it!)

Zac Holtzman

Because it was a free concert and this is London (where you usually get zilch for free), I was expecting them to play maybe 5 or 6 songs max so when they played basically a whole albums worth I simply couldn’t believe my luck! The audience lapped it up and a few were even dancing (again not such a typical British response, we usually stand still, both arms folded when there’s no beer available, staring with the occasional hip sway, nod of the head and maybe even a foot tap.)

Dengue Fever @ Rough Trade East

After the show I took the opportunity to chat with their charming (and very tall) bassist Senon who informed me they have been in a studio laying down some new tracks over the last couple of days. Can’t wait to hear new material and can’t wait to see them again.

I have my tickets booked for their next London show in November at the ICA, do you?

I must also mention that Rough Trade is hosting an impressive lineup of free concerts over the coming weeks including Yeasayer, Adam Green and The Breeders. For more details check out their website.

If you’re interesting in knowing more about Dengue Fever, here are some links:


This is a track called 'Sober Driver' off their current album 'Venus On Earth'.

Sober Driver - Dengue Fever

There is also a film about the band’s recent journey to Cambodia called ‘Sleep Walking Through The Mekong’. Directed by John Pirozzi, the film follows them as they perform for the first time in Cambodia.

Here is the trailer:

And while I’m at it, here are some tour dates:

16 Aug 2008 20:00 Beautiful Days Devon, England
29 Aug 2008 20:00 Festival Musicas Do mar Povoa do Varzim
30 Aug 2008 20:00 Festival de Beschaving Utrecht, Holland, Utrecht
31 Aug 2008 20:00 Electric Picnic Dublin
20 Sep 2008 20:00 Street Scene San Diego, California
20 Nov 2008 20:00 ICA London

Sorry to all you guys that missed out!

***Photos taken By Chalky -If you would like to use any of them, please credit this blog by providing a link, thanks***


Cookiemouse said...

Great mix of genres.

chalky said...

Cracking band! So happy to get a chance to see them live :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow Chalky I'm jealous! I was just there too! Too bad Dengue Fever didn't play a few days earlier I definitely would have been there.

You should really go see Yeasayer. Although I wasn't a huge fan of their live show when I saw them open for Man Man they are still worth checking out if you haven't seen them.

I miss London (especially the free tube newspapers)

chalky said...

I'd love to check out Yeasayer again-saw them once last year at the ICA (near Buckingham Palace) but their sound set up was pretty awful that night. I'm gonna be spending time with my family that weekend so will have to miss it, I'll try to catch some of the other free gigs and report back though :-)

I'm glad there are still a couple of independent record stores around like Rough Trade, they make the difference. Nice staff who are happy to chat about music etc.

Hope you can make it back to London soon! :-)

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