Dream State at ULU, London

Welsh rockers Dream State have been on the Primrose Path tour promoting their new album and when they finally got to London’s ULU fans had packed out the place to hear their own brand of musical genius themselves.

First up were the local band Behind Blue Eyes who were entertaining if not a little samey, perhaps as they are yet to find their own niche or what makes them different from other bands in their scene. However, their energy was great and their songs had a little sing-along appeal so all in all, it was a good performance.

Normandie were up next and they as always put on a great show, this time however they were a touch dramatic, to say the least, but who doesn’t love a little drama? About halfway in they called for a wall of death and good on the crowd for obliging, they certainly knew how to hype the audience in time for the main act. It was someone’s birthday and so they led the audience in a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, and ironically for some of the Dream State fans it was the only song they knew from this particular set and could sing along to. To finish their drama-filled set a guitar got smashed to pieces in true rock and roll style.

By this point, the audience were well and truly primed to witness the beauty of Dream State who opened with ‘Made Me Smile’ to a packed crowd of feisty fans. They immediately showed off what makes them so good by being completely on point. Their technical team maybe not as much as we couldn’t clearly hear the vocals during this song, it just felt like the mic wasn’t loud enough. As the music stopped and vocalist CJ Gilpin addressed us it was nice to properly hear her voice.

Expressing how much the audience is a part of the band, that they are in this together “hand in hand”, it was a little obvious what to expect next and the cheers went up as the intro for their song ‘Hand In Hand’ began. Gilpin climbed onto the barrier and reached out so she could literally be hand in hand with the crowd, who rushed and pushed towards her, each trying to get close enough to reach out and grab her hand. For the next handful of songs, we were treated to old and new alike, so either that was tracks from Recovery or Primrose Path. Either way, the fans knew them, sang along to them, danced to them and generally had a good time.

Then came the audience participation part but this was a little out of the ordinary as the band want help with their setlist. We were given two songs to choose from: ‘Spitting Lies’ or ‘Out Of The Blue’. The instructions were simple, cheer for whichever song you want. Though when given their options many in the crowd cheered for both songs… what an indecisive lot! All joking aside it was a nice touch and ‘Spitting Lies’ won.

The crowd were relentlessly crowd surfing to the point where Gilpin said, “there’s no music but we’re crowd surfing anyway” and she was right — even in the breaks between songs when she was addressing the crowd, the steady stream of surfers did not stop. A highlight for the crowd was seeing Dream State perform ‘Primrose’ because it means they got to see Gilpin scream, and then they all screamed back just as loudly but without a mic.

The set was short and sweet, and afterwards, we were treated to an encore of ‘New Waves’ and ‘In This Hell’ and then sadly it was time to go home, but uplifted by a great night of entertainment none the less.

Photos by Ciara Wilkinson.


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