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AAA Music | 16 September 2019

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Stag & Dagger: The Radio Dept. @ The Legion

| On 30, May 2010

London, 21st May

Among many stages set for the Stag and Dagger Festival, the one hosted by The Legion was probably the most nostalgic, where fans of shoegazers Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine invaded Old Street to worship the band that better than everyone else embodies the spirit of those late 80s early 90s distorted dreamy guitars. We are talking about the Radio Dept., the (now) trio from Lund that convinced critics from all around the world with three marvellous albums and countless EPs that are maybe even better.

The Legion is packed and is terribly late when the band comes in. The gig starts with This Time Around, from the latest record Clinging to a Scheme.

Let’s be honest, the sound in this venue is awful, but my heart seems not to care because it accelerates straight away to keep the pace of the song.

This is the impression that I feel during all the time of the gig: delighted by the magnificence of the tunes and at the same time annoyed by the poor quality of the sound the venue can offer, with a small complicity of the band that persists in not showcasing with a real drum set. The result is the ‘sacrifice’ of songs like ’Ewan’, ‘I don’t need love, I’ve got my band’, and ‘Where damage isn’t already done’, that would have the best live impact. This said, the quality of the songs themselves saves the night and transforms the Legion in a living room where everybody seems to love each other. Heaven’s on Fire, the latest single, earns a long round of applause, while Keen on Boys and 1995 rewards the fans that followed RD from the very beginning.

Pulling Our Weights is by all means the acme of the night; this tune deserved more glory and space in one of the albums.

The gig confirms the hard task taken by the Swedish three-piece.

The Radio Dept. songs are jewels carved and chiselled with mastery; hardly on stage they can repeat the magic coming out the studio. For sure they deserve a venue where their sound can be represented in all its complexity.
Author: Lorenzo Coretti
Photo: Lorenzo Coretti