Concert Review: Freckfest presents Dogtooth with support from The Underscene

Freckfest presents


With support from The Underscene 

Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine- Scotland- 01.02.2019 

A Scottish music gem, The Harbour Arts Centre is a brilliant venue; a small theatre- the HAC (as it’s otherwise known) is an intimate, dark, snug – warm and welcoming on a cold, wet Friday in February. Despite the weather, a full crowd gathered and comfortably seated to watch the Freckfest presented show featuring headliners Glasgow-based Dogtooth and support act, Ayrshire’s The Underscene

The Underscene 
The Underscene // Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine // Photo Credit: Kerrin Carr

These feisty young Kilmarnock indie-rockers are Lochlan Miller (Rhythm guitar/ lead vocals), Ryan Dixon (lead guitarist), Murray Dixon (bassist/vocals) and Paul Kelly (drums). With a confident lead, The Underscene belted out Oasis/Artic Monkey/ Cat Fish and the Bottlemen-esq influenced mixed set of covers and original tracks….‘Dictate’, ‘The Express’, ‘Conjecture’, but, for me, it was original track ‘Back to the Wall’ that stood out; its fast, punk tempo deserves nothing less than a pit packed full of hardcore sweaty kids- tonight wasn’t that night- but it’s on the cards for The Underscene. With more self-assurance, this band have potential. 

Ryan Dixon of The Underscene // Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine- Scotland // Photo Credit: Kerrin Carr 

Interestingly, the band also decided to include a cover by legendary Kilmarnock heroes, The Cider Spiders- from the album ‘The Manhunt of Archie Thompson’ (2018) the track Russian Roulette. A great cover, well done. 

The Underscene are sharp – they look and sound the part- with more experience they will find their own sound and style; hopefully, 2019 will hear more original tracks from The Underscene.

You can catch The Underscene headlining Live@Troon’s Under 18 Stage (Saturday Night) – for tickets click here


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Their first gig of 2019, yet clocking up well over 300 gigs to date, Dogtooth are, despite their youthful years, practically old-timers in the Scottish music scene. Formed in 2013, when as the story goes, a chance meeting between John Hewitson (lead vocalist and guitarist) and Craig Morrison (bassist) at the Millport Scooter Rally brought two talented music-loving young teenagers together, and later joined by drummer Robert Lang to complete the Dogtooth line-up.

John Hewitson of Dogtooth // Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine- Scotland // Photo Credit: Kerrin Carr

Their determination and experience was on a high note at the HAC; their boldness and confidence strong- Dogtooth have come a long way since forming as 10, 11 and 13 year olds. Although still not old enough to get into over-21 venues, you can clearly see that Dogtooth’s maturity is fast developing. 

Roots in Mod, Punk and Brit-Rock/Indie genres, Dogtooth are forming their own unique groove.  This band have bags of rhythm, dirty bass lines, grinding guitar hooks and ridiculously catchy melodies. Their 3-piece set up has a great dynamic with Lang banging out loud and fast, whilst slamming out snarling backing vocals- perfectly complimenting Hewitson’s passionate vocals and brooding demeanour, and Morrison’s ‘way too cool for school’ style.

Craig Morrison of Dogtooth // Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine – Scotland // Photo Credit: Kerrin Carr

Morrison, dressed monochrome from top to toe- black boots and washed-out black drain pipe jeans- with a black and white striped baggy jumper and long silver chain, oozes classic style. Morrison is captivating with his long, slicked back hair and pensive stare – the boy has a distinctive flare. I caught Morrison relaxing just enough to forget his seriousness and crack a few smiles (I counted at least 4 smiles!). I really liked that- after all, this band are young lads -it would be nice to see them have more fun whilst performing.

John Hewitson of Dogtooth // Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine- Scotland // Photo Credit: Kerrin Carr

Yet, that intensity is exactly what gives Dogtooth their edge; their set covered tracks…‘Rebel’ (2016) – with anthemic vocals “why (won’t you wake up, why won’t you wake up) Why…(won’t you wake up, why won’t you wake up)…Why!..”… cue guitar rip up! I defy you not to sing along to that incredibly catchy chorus …‘You Could Be Mine’ (2017) – brilliant atmospheric backing vocals from drummer Lang….Epic guitar noise in the upbeat ‘Breakthrough’ (2017)……” Oasis influenced track ‘Hey You’ (2018) – strong vocals, bouncy rhythm… Ambitious guitar noise from track ‘Pass Her Bye’ (2018)….. A fantastic set of original tracks from three lads who quite clearly live and breathe rock music.

Dogtooth are playing Glasgow venue Broadcast next (15th February 2019). For details check out their website.
For upcoming events from Freckfest check out here.

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