Live Review: Last Dinosaurs, Millions, The Griswolds

24 April 2012 | 9:24 am | Jessie Hunt

Last Dinosaurs have poetic teen angst - and the screaming fans to go with it.

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Each of the bands that took over the Oxford Art Factory had vastly different styles and sounds, yet something seemed to connect them all together – each act managed to achieve a sense of authenticity, cutting neatly through the buzz-band hype to deliver music full of genuine emotion and complex, elegant musicality.

The Griswolds announced one track with “This is a song about losing your virginity in the backseat of the car… It didn't happen to me, but we write songs about stuff that we don't know about.” Yet you can't tell, as their songs are sadly romantic, with a clear strain of gritty realism. Mississippi showcases perhaps the best thing about this band in their ability to marry long instances of silence with frenetic, hugely loud percussion moments.

Millions create echoes of genres within their sound – surf rock, grimy rock'n'roll – and weave together a narrative with sounds of bygone eras. The distinctive riff and wild pace of their final track Those Girls drove the crowd wild. Each time they play, Millions become more solid, their sound becoming tighter and more interwoven. This reviewer awaits any new release by this band with great anticipation.

In the moments before Last Dinosaurs took to the stage, the venue seemed to be working hard to contain the revellers. A projection onto the black felt curtain announced the arrival of these indie rock heroes and the curtain fell back to reveal the band. Their quiet little waves and shy smiles seemed at odds with the audience's deafening screams. Last Dinosaurs arranged their set well, first delivering fast, frenetic tracks, which seemed to drive the crowd into a frenzy. Everything about this band seems underrated, from their explosive indie-pop anthems to their quiet stage banter. When vocalist Sean Caskey asked the crowd if anyone had the album yet – and the audience delivered an enormous scream that seemed to indicate the affirmative – he said quietly, “Well then, I'm in love with you all”.

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Last Dinosaurs toe the line between carefully arranged, tightly-rehearsed tunes and music full of teen angst and nascent passion, with tracks full of meditative, poetic lyrics as well as huge vocals and rhythms that interfere with your heartbeat. Hopefully all punters here enjoyed the intimacy of this show, because one suspects this will be the last time we'll see them in a venue this small.