Cast your mind back to the Britpop era and to the crop of fantastic British bands that emerged during its heady days, and you’ll no doubt have a gritty, guitar-drenched ditty lodged in your head in next to no time. Fallouts, misfortunes, sea changes or side projects spelt the demise of many a great Britpop outfit; but after a hiatus of their own, Dodgy are one of that class still rolling with us today. Their acoustic show, which sees them performing a collection of their heyday hits, recent rippers and rarities in the stripped-back style that they were written and initially rehearsed, is certain to drop you right back in the ‘90s groove, but if you need a little titillation first, here are five tracks to introduce you to the group. A big hits, high and grassman if you will!
Staying out for the Summer (Homegrown, 1994)
With its instantly recognisable guitar riff the first thing to register, it’s no wonder Staying out for the Summer was a smash in ’94 and had a re-issue and repackage for the summer of ’95. Its melody has the same wonderfully slack and lofty quality as those sung by Bobby Gillespie and Jarvis Cocker on other hits of the year, while its groove, lyrical breeziness and its rocksteady guitar solo, make it a mainstay. It’s one of the group’s most popular tunes, and one that hints at a vulnerability that makes it perfect for stripping down to the bare bones.
Grassman (Homegrown, 1994)
Behind every great single is an equally great, if criminally under-appreciated, album opus. Like a kindred spirit of ‘70s Dutch songwriter Rainman, lead vocalist Nigel Clark spins a soft yarn over the pliable “grassman”, before tearing into an emphatic chorus with gospel backing vocals reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage/Eclipse. A big guitar solo follows and a step into the major key for the bridge keeps resting ears alert, before returning to the soft motif that begins the number. Finally, in true “hidden track” fashion, the song returns ever so slightly with a Beach Boys-esque, reverb drenched coda, a music fan’s finish to an outstanding track that shows the boys at their best.
Good Enough (Free Peace Sweet, 1996)
Charting at no. 4 on the UK singles chart upon its release, Good Enough was the biggest commercial success that the band enjoyed. The sunflower on its cover hints at a band revelling in their sunny disposition, shared by the likes of Supergrass and Ocean Colour Scene, who too evoked that sense of Summer freedom with some of their singles Alright and The Day We Caught the Train in ’95/’96. It’s yet more golden indie-rock, with the hallmarks of a band in fine form.
Only a Heartbeat (Stand Upright in a Cool Place, 2012)
With the release of their 2012 studio album, Dodgy proved they were far from finished, penning numbers like Only a Heartbeat which nicely highlighted the acoustic guitar and their polished group harmonies. More than just a musical venture, the track and accompanying video had a charitable focus too, being created in association with UK homelessness charity Crisis to help raise awareness for their work.
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) (1965 Frank Wilson single)
Following the release of their 2012 album Stand Upright in a Cool Place, Dodgy released their rendition of Frank Wilson’s classic Motown single-that-almost-never-was, to commemorate the great songwriter and producer. Every band has their influences but Dodgy’s are broader than you might think, and their rendition of this classic, given UK status at Wigan Casino, is proof of that.
Get your advance tickets for Dodgy’s acoustic show here.