Trails / Swim Good / Dragons That Make Love To Pandas / Cavalier [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 6/9/14]

trails album launchThe Boileroom team sure know how to throw the quietest (or at least best-soundproofed) album launch parties in town. Once again, I missed the first two songs of an opening set while having a quiet chat in the beer garden – but did manage to catch most of…


…a group of self-styled “ACM heart-throbs” in possession of promising songs, plenty of raw passion, and an energetic and entertaining frontman. An interesting and fun set ultimately marred by a drum-dominated mix and (as some hecklers were quick to point out) not enough guitar or bass. Still, Cavalier are worth a second chance; hopefully it’ll come before school’s out again.

Dragons That Make Love To Pandas

That name could only belong to one of two things: An ultra-glitzy massage parlour in Chinatown, or an ultra-quirky math band. This time around, it was the latter – but next time I’m in Central London I’m going to keep an eye out for the former. Purely out of curiosity, you understand.

Anyway, DTMLTP (an unpronounceable acronym if there ever was one – go on, try it) deliver fleet-fingered math rock fronted by a cross between Guthrie Govan, Joe Satriani, and Biffy Clyro’s own Simon Neil. Throw in a wildly cheering and widdle-hungry audience, some tongue-in-cheek jazz sections, and song titles so weird that even the band members can’t pronounce them without effort, and you have something really exciting.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, the vocal felt too restrained this time around – a flaw that stood out due to the insane chops displayed on every other instrument. Throwing an epic vocal performance on top of virtuosic guitarplay would be a serious mindfuck for any performer (bearing in mind that even guys like Steve Vai shy away from it more often than not), but if anyone can deliver a total package, it’s Dragons That Make Love To Pandas. What’s needed now is (even) more time, more gigging experience, and a close look at the fierce local competition (see Maxi Curnow, In Dynamics, Arcane Roots, Signals, etc) with whom DTMLTP will soon be butting heads…or perhaps making love.

Swim Good

Swim Good rock good, and do so in many directions – often at once. Their music is a glorious mish-mash of sharp-edged alt-rock, fun and bouncy pop-punk, and the simple good-time vibes of old school rock ‘n’ roll. Big dirty riffs, emotive songs sung stageward by a loving crowd, a spacetime-bending frontman who’s everywhere at once, and the twisted lyrical rhythms of Yeah Yeah Great Yeah all begged the question: How many cans of Relentless were downed before Swim Good took the stage?


Trails get better and better every time I see them – but this was something else. Emerging from the anxiety-ridden world of Kickstarter stats and studio stress triumphant, airtight, and more focussed than ever before, Trails grabbed their audience by the collective short ‘n’ curlies for the duration of a rapturously received victory lap of a set. If the encore-callers had had their way, Trails would have wound up playing for the rest of the night – and I would have happily stayed for the whole thing.

Respect is very much due to Trails. What happens next is sure to be equally newsworthy.


Trails official website.

Swim Good on Facebook and Twitter.

Dragons That Make Love To Pandas on Facebook and Twitter.

Cavalier official website.

Failure By Design Records on Facebook and Twitter.

GU1 PUNX on Facebook and Twitter.

The Boileroom official website.

Follow TMMP on Twitter for more awesome music! If you’re a regular reader, thanks for the support! Don’t stop, and keep going!

Posted on 07 September 2014

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