London’s Scala may need to start looking for a new roof after Dinosaur Pile-Up blew it off the other night.

Ripping straight into Arizona Waiting, it took little to no time for limbs to start flailing in the crowd. Finger points in the soaring chorus and jovial shoves and shoulder barges in the song’s upbeat peaks set the tone for the evening. The tempo only elevated further with a rip-roaring rendition of Stupid Heavy Metal Broken Hearted Loser Punk – the first of the 9/10 tracks from 2019’s triumph Celebrity Mansions that were featured throughout the performance.

The reception that this second song elicited was a testament to just how terrific the new Dinosaur Pile-Up album is, and it was actually the new material that fans seemed to resonate with the most. While the likes of Peninsula and White T-Shirt and Jeans are undeniably a crucial asset to the DPU discography, they did not manage to whip the crowd into the same frenzy as the fresher Pouring Gasoline.

That said, old-favourites My Rock ‘n’ Roll and Traynor are always welcome inclusions in the setlist. In addition to the fact that they are undisputed belters, they serve as a perfect point of reference from where the band originated. While they are enjoying a newfound level of success after signing with their first major label (Parlophone), the band’s fundamental dynamic really hasn’t changed that severely. They are sticking true to what they do best, and what initially won fans over – huge riffs and catchy hooks.

This isn’t to say that Dinosaur Pile-Up haven’t evolved. They’ve homed in on that early dynamic and are on their way to perfecting it. Moreover, frontman Matt Bigland has started to flirt with rapping and, while initially eyebrow-raising, long may it continue. It offers a new twist to their sound and has ensured that the new material won’t grow stale.

Regrettably, train strikes prevented me from enjoying the band’s encore which featured those two champion hits from Celebrity Mansions. I was, however, fortunate enough to catch the band back in June where they closed with the same two songs – Trash Metal Cassette and Back Foot. There is no doubt in my mind that they closed out 2019 with equal aplomb.

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Aaron Jackson

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