French Indie-folk duo Herman Dune returned to London to play at iconic nightclub and occasional gig venue Heaven. Regular gig goers will know that choosing a nightclub as a venue often means an early start and an early finish in order to accommodate the club’s main clientele for the night later on (on this occasion it was G-A-Y Porn Idol; on which I cannot report as I had to catch the last train.) So it was a 730pm start for support Act Allo Darlin’(of whom more later) and everything was done and dusted by just after 10.
Last time they were in town Herman Dune played the hallowed turf of the Union Chapel. As I recalled these hushed ecclesiastical environs rather suited them and their mournful folk-pop. They went down well with an attentive audience, packing the serried ranks of pews.
This time out it didn’t gel so well. Heaven is a dank succession of railway arches, perfect for a sweaty club but draughty and chilly and a bit lacking in atmosphere for an early evening gig. A somewhat restive audience seemed to never quite get into it although each song was greeted with warm if a bit unenthusiastic applause.
Latest album Strange Moosic is their most accessible and it was songs from this which provided the set’s highlights; the upbeat “Be a doll and take my heart”, “The rock”, and “Tell me something I don’t know” stood out for me”.
Everything was played with precision, in particular Nemon Herman Dune’s subtle and rhythmic drumming is ear catching and there is an obvious chemistry with the guitar of David-Ivar Herman Dune, tonight augmented by bass guitar.
An interesting, if not exhilarating set.
Earlier, Allo Darlin’ generated rather more excitement. Looking around, audience reaction suggested many people had showed up for the Anglo-Australian quartet and were evidently familiar with their eponymous debut album. If you haven’t heard it, it is well worth a listen – very much a cut above the indie tweecore run of the mill. Immediate and catchy, its highlights stood out tonight; “My heart is a drummer”, “Dreaming”, “The Polaroid song” and the brilliant “Silver dollars”.
Their set was built around showcasing new songs from soon to be released 2nd album “Europe” On first hearing, these seemed to lack the immediate infectious pop of the older material, but it sounded good and will I am sure repay repeated listening when the album comes out.
In singer Elizabeth Morris they have a songwriter and performer of genuine warmth and talent. She paid her respects to main act Herman Dune of whom she is clearly a fan. For me though, tonight Allo Darlin’” rather stole the show from the more established headliners.
They seem to be on the up, and, are headlining established indie festival Indietracks this summer.
“Europe” is out on Fortuna Pop now