Lost State of Dance and Enjoyment
I met Lost State of Dance at TS One in Middlesbrough on one of those Whirling Dervish Thursday evenings. I was meant to do a write-up of their new EP, ‘Hot City Nights’ and they had invited me to their gig. It was rainy and quiet and, except for their energy and passion, a dreary night. What struck me most was that their music did not belong there. It should have been playing in some disco with flashing lights, colourful cocktails and girls in glittery dresses. Yet, each note of theirs was as much formed by the rain drops outside, the spittle on the pavement, and the raised voices of patrolling policemen, as by the musicians themselves. Because this was part of the area and community that had formed them.
On another similar night, another similar thing happened. This time it was as part of the Oxjam Takeover of Darlington, which took place on a rainy Sunday in October. They were scheduled to perform in the evening at Seen, a stone cellar that has the potential to become a steaming mosh pit. The nightclub adjoins a large, upmarket bar charmingly decorated with chandeliers, lampshades, mirrors and clocks. The Oxjam Music Festival is an exciting event in itself. Run by the charity organisation, Oxfam, the goal is simple: infiltrate a town or city through music, support established and emerging artists, generate interest in venues and towns. Do it for charity.
However, when I arrived in Darlington, it seemed more like a ghost town and Seen could have done with some human heat. Lost State of Dance were on stage performing to a handful of supporters and empty birdcages swinging from the ceiling. For the first time, I saw it distinctly. I saw the lampshade being lifted from the artist’s reality, the moment all he sees is a distorted reflection of his dreams and he hears the wasted time like millions of clocks ticking at different rhythms. The burning disappointment every musician, every band, every artist has to shoulder from time to time.
The night before Guy Fawkes, however, they found themselves one step closer to that club with flashing lights, cocktails and dazzling girls. They were part of the lineup in a gig deemed by NARC magazine as “positively bursting at the seams with exemplary local talent”, this time at Musiclounge in Stockton. There was that singular moment when the venue was still an open space of lonely tables, when no one was sure what the evening held and anxious looks were regularly shot at the door.
By the time they went on stage, a crowd had appeared almost out of nowhere. The DJ started flashing strobe lights in the musicians' direction, creating blinding technicolour cutouts of their songs. These burned like electric beams through the clouds of smoke puffing from the fog machine. They were wholly transported to the futuristic bygone era of their music and they took their audience with them, both becoming lost in a mental state of dance and enjoyment.
Lost State of Dance has gone through various musical permutations over its rough 10 year existence; permutations mostly linked to band members who have come and gone, and with them their particular tastes and styles. Daniel Drinkwater, the only original member left, talks about their first short, high-speed punk songs as if these were developmental stepping stones to something that was the complete opposite: the dance vibes and pop songs of the 80s.
When they perform, whether in front of no one or a room full of people, it is evident that it is a sound that is tightly stranded into Drinkwater’s DNA and what he has always longed to play. But it would be wrong to say that the other members, Stevie, Sam and D’Arcy, simply help their lead singer rehash 80s electropop. As dedicated artists, what they create is entirely original and they add that certain personal touch and Hartlepudlian flavour with soft peaks of contemporary blues and jazz. This is their ‘real’ sound and, as one of their fans recently told me, unlike anything else in the area.
To read my post on their latest EP 'Hot City Nights' and that night at TS One, click here.