Playing their biggest headline show to date, indie-rock risers Dutch Criminal Record had no issue filling the iconic PowerHaus venue (formerly Dingwalls), which has previously hosted huge names from Coldplay to Foo Fights and Etta James to The Sex Pistols. The energy in the room was electric and it felt as if I was witnessing a historic show in the making before they even arrived on stage as the eclectic crowd eagerly gathered at the barrier.
Following the captivating performances from support acts The Boy From The South and Bonze, spirits in the room were high despite the £7.50 pints. As the clock struck 9.30pm Dutch Criminal Record arrived on stage to a warm reception of cheers and hollers.
One thing I knew we could expect from Dutch Criminal Record was their vibrant surf-pop sensibilities that would undoubtedly get the crowd jumping up and down straight away. It was surprising then when they opened with their slower spoken-word number ‘It’s gonna be okay’, but it made complete sense. The steady beat and passionate vocal delivery froze a moment in time and a sense of unity was quickly apparent, the young teens clearly at their first gig and the dancing dads in leather jackets were now the same and it really did feel like everything was going to be okay.
The crowd began to flood closer to the front as they went into their second song ‘00’s Nostalgia’ which encapsulates their signature sound of breezy melodic vocals and sun-soaked riffs.
For the next few songs the band were joined by Things Happen Fast frontman Fred who was taking the mic in place of vocalist Sam who shared he had been suffering with a chest infection. This new addition to the band for the night went down a treat, with their chemistry you’d never know he wasn’t actually part of the band and he commanded the room with a staggering stage presence. With the pulsing bass drum intro of ‘Wasted Time’, the crowd got low and projected themselves into the air when the beat kicked in. The high energy resumed throughout the next few tracks and the quality of the performance was sky-high, despite a slightly temperamental PA.
It was clear that this Portsmouth trio are building a dedicated fanbase when they played their most recently released single ‘C’est La Vie’ and the audience cheered and sang the lyrics back to them. It was also quite striking how versatile the band were with their sound, for example with unreleased offering ‘Oat Milk’ which flaunted a post-punk shimmer – think The Cure but a bit happier.
By this point I was confidently convinced that Dutch Criminal Record are destined to fill out larger and larger rooms. Hands in the air, phone torches swaying and even a bit of moshing towards the end, I could see the fans fall in love with the live performance and it was reminiscent of when I as a teenager, pressing myself against sweaty strangers in a box room to see a band I really believed in and they almost always went on the headline festival stages within a few years.
I definitely can’t leave out their cover of ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’, which they should 100% release and last but by no means least the encore. This wasn’t one of those performative encores you so regularly see these days at concerts, it was very much the case that this crowd were not going anywhere without hearing at least one more song. The three-piece returned with their live band and played two more tracks. I’m pretty sure I saw someone crowd surfing.
Most times when I walk away from a show where there’s pricey pints, dodgy speakers and a lead vocalist who is unable to perform, I’d likely be feeling a bit bitter. This couldn’t be further from the truth with Dutch Criminal Record’s life-affirming performance that would convert anyone who didn’t really know too much about them (me) into a superfan.
Check out some of Dutch Criminal Record’s top tracks below (and thank me later):
New music is on the way very soon and check out their socials for upcoming live dates:
It’s gonna be okay
Return to dust
C’est la vie
Now or never
Living in dreams
Murder on the dancefloor (cover)
Socks and sandals