Dakota Beats @ Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – 3rd March 2012

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Review and Photos by Paul Broome

Dudley’s Dakota Beats are one of the very brightest of local talents around in the indie scene at the moment, and after working hard to build up a faithful following over the last year or so with their own regular ‘Dakota Beats Presents’ gig nights, and numerous high profile support slots, last Saturday it was time for all of that hard work to bear fruit in the form of their debut EP.

The capacity crowd at the Slade Rooms had already been entertained by a trio of local bands, including the excellent The Two n’ Eights (another ‘one to watch’) – and the party atmosphere really hit home when the headliners hit the stage. Despite this only being the launch of their first EP, the band already has a pretty enviable cache of quality tracks under their belt – and they exhibited that quality with a superbly planned set list which had the crowd hooked from the start. Kicking off with the double-header of ‘New Song’ and ‘Back to Me’, through the mid-set anthem of ‘Come Home’ and finishing off with the crescendo of ‘Belper Row’ and (the superb) ‘The Tides’.

While the band pay homage to several leading lights of the indie scene from the last twenty five years or so – with echoes of everyone from The Smiths and James, to Cast and The Libertines (even a hint of Shack) in their music – they also bring something unique to game, with dual guitars to the fore, rhythm section driving everything along purposefully. No time for shoegazing here, they wear their emotions on their sleeves – this is high energy, intensely emotive music for singing along to.

Vocalist Daniel Harris is a natural entertainer – just the right combination of confidence, talent and the slight sprinkling of arrogance which any front man needs to succeed.

This gig was definitely a celebration – and not just of the EP launch. A celebration of the work behind them, and of the success that inevitability awaits them.

Set list: ‘New Song’, ‘Back To Me’, ‘The Guilt’, ‘Sir Frank James’, ‘Come Home’, ‘Fire Desire’, ‘Mary Jayne’, ‘Belper Row’, ‘The Tides’.