It’s Friday, it’s cold and I’ve got a last minute gig: Manchester outfit Douga at the warm and old school boozer The Castle; happy days.

I love live music in pubs. Before the trendy bars and O2 academies became the staple arenas for every kind of music imaginable, the local watering hole was the perfect place for locals to enjoy a chinwag, a pint of bitter and a shindig. Even though Douga’s music isn’t as jolly or folky as the groups that would have graced pubs like this way back in the day, fingers crossed their music hits the mark and translates well, despite the rustic and small space.

But first, Chew Magna are up and they do indeed raise some pulses. Not in a Sex Pistols or Jesus & Mary Chain type of way, but their sound is high energy, uplifting and generally every song has a decent hook and riff to engage an audience. They remind me of an American group called Little Star, and at times lead singer (insert unknown name of local band member here) gives me visions of Billy Corgan during the recording of Melon Collie and….(you know the rest). Not in a balding, pretentious twat kind of way but through his emotion and lyrical delivery. All in all, a great set and certainly a band to witness if you like subtle yet charming passion.

Sadly, as Douga start to play, I can’t give equal praise. I credit their tightness and I’m not questioning their musical ability whatsoever, however, it’s just all a bit boring. As I stand at the back of the small room, I become more and more interested in my pint and start to genuinely consider leaving early. There’s no bite, no punch, it needs something else. The mad camera projection shit is also slightly annoying. That’s probably why I can’t stand a lot of those psych revival bands of Liverpool and Manchester, the projections behind and sometimes over the group, usually consisting of some of the most grotesque colours in existence (such as every shade of purple). It’s distracting and just says to me that the music alone isn’t enough to hold a crowd’s attention.

This is certainly the case with Douga and it’s not often I am genuinely gutted by a live performance, however their sound just hasn’t grabbed me and instead left me wanting a lot more. I could google their songs, quote their lyrics and name the members to try and pad this review out but frankly, it’s best to end it here. I haven’t a clue how they could change to get me on board but they don’t need me for validation, there are certainly lots of people in the room who enjoy this chilled, what I would describe as low lit dining room music for twenty somethings who enjoy wine and chatting shit; similar to Cigarettes After Sex.

Sorry Douga, you’re just not for me. Over and out.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC