Dingwalls is tucked away in the corner of Camden market's Middle Yard, crudely doubling up as a Jongleurs Comedy Club by way of two signs on the door. Cavernous but with enough bar space for a travelling band of ants, tonight's line-up makes up for the fact that it often takes twenty light years to get served.
Support comes in the form of Sian Alice Group. "Ooh we don't know these, therefore they are evidently rubbish", Londonist thinks smugly. Sadly it turns out that everyone else has heard of them; they have been booked to play with Deerhunter and by ATP, and both Dazed and Confused and Vice magazine are quivering excitedly over them with their scenester barometer doing the same. Sian has beautiful hair and is cooler than you and her tinkling voice unwinds gently, resembling the languid crumbling of bricks in some ancient exotic ruin. They play a mixture of large-scale post-rock and shoegaze with occasional tribal beats thrown in, blanketing you in an ambient, primary-coloured, barbiturate-soaked dream before rudely trampling you out of it.
Quite a different kettle of fish, then, from the headliners, the largely (unfairly) unnoticed Veils. Eschewing recent trendier trends, singer Finn Andrews resembles an extra from Home and Away (you know, the mysterious stranger with the silly hat who wanders in with a guitar case in hand an a quirky name. Saul. Or Leaf. Or Finn). They could have remained a one-trick pony with a Doves' style classic rock mentality, soaring strings and full-blooded piano melodies, but there is a dirtier, bluesy side to the Veils that makes them all the more loveable. It helps that they write extraordinarily likeable songs, and tonight they play old favourites 'Jesus For The Jugular' and 'Advice For Young Mothers To Be' as well as excerpts from the latest Sun Gang LP. They're worth seeing live just to see Andrews' twisted facial contortions, intensity exploding out of the lines on his forehead and eyes rolling like a blues-ridden, holy spirit-filled troubadour.
Image from Ella Mullins' photostream under the Creative Commons Licence.