WANDERLINGS & GREAT BRITISH WEATHER
29 MARCH 2013
Great British weather, how ironic. Its blooming freezing tonight but it is about to get a little hotter at The Jam Café, quickly becoming the place to be on a Friday night for its high quality of bands and beers. Only two bands playing tonight and the first gig in an age for GREAT BRITISH WEATHER. I got my first tip about them well over a year ago, I checked them out, they were great, and then they disappeared. Tonight they are back out of a long hibernation. With new recordings in the bag, working with HOT TROPIC and more gigs planned it seems that GBW are back on it.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and neither should you judge a band by its look, but if you did then GBW would win best looking pop kid’s award! To the Orlando from Maccabees looking Tom (Drums), the “quiet” one Lewis (Bass) with his amazing fro, even guitarist Tom with his shaven head “I got a bad haircut so I just shaved the lot off” looks good and then you have Andrew, with his 50’s quaff, leather jacket and hooped earing, basically they look great!
There is already a lot of expectation on the shoulders of a band in their infancy, tipped by Left Lion and Dom Gourlay from Drowned In Sound, as a band to watch in 2013, people expect. Tonight you can feel it a little. The band don’t get off to the best start, two songs in and the drum kit decides it has had enough and tries to leave the stage and disintegrate at the same time, adding to the tension and pressure this band already put on themselves.
Once they sort it though they deliver a set that that shows a band that are fresh, young and hungry. They sound like early Foals with Tom and Andrew alternating chimey guitars and Andrew producing a Joe Strummer punk pop vocal. Tom, on the drums, is a machine; he is a fine drummer and with Lewis on bass, provides the backbone to the bands at times math rock stop-start sound.
Tonight they play a short set and maybe the lack of gigs is showing but they are a very promising band. Even playing at half their game they are already better than most. I have a good feeling about these.
You know when you see someone and you think “they’re in a band”, as with GBW, tonight’s headliners WANDERLINGS look the part, Rich (BASS) is Nottingham’s answer to Mani with a Tim Burgess bowl cut whilst lead singers James and Richey provide the girls with something to swoon over. Toby (Drums) is too busy to pose; he has to concentrate on his escaping drum kit! Then you have Josh on keys and tambourine. Like all great tambourine players, Josh is hammered. I spent most of the set watching him waiting for him to fall over, taking every piece of equipment with him, unfortunately he doesn’t. Shame, it would have been funny.
They play a great set of psychedelic 60’s surf pop and with the likes of Peace and Swim Deep gaining momentum it seems now is never a better time to be doing it. By the last song, Josh decides to leave the stage and dance around the packed café with tambourine in hand and a drink in the other.
WANDERLINGS, like GBW have some cracks to iron out but tonight we could be seeing the future of Nottingham. Both bands are rough around the edges and they need to be! Who wants perfect bands? Not me. They have the vitality, energy and more importantly they have the songs!
With time, both these bands could be living up to the hype, but for now just worry about the important stuff like escaping drum kits and haircuts because when it comes to rock and roll, that’s what matters. [Live Review by Rob McCleary]
LONG DEAD SIGNAL
27 MARCH 2013
Tonight saw five local bands take to the main stage of one of Nottingham’s biggest and most popular music venues – The Rescue Rooms (second only to DHP’s own Rock City.) IKE Productions have long been a promotions outfit that has championed local and unsigned music, and tonight was no exception.
Things kicked off with Nottingham alt-rock band DISTURBING THE DEPTHS. Mixing elements of Post-Hardcore, Alt. Rock and Post-Rock, they proved to be a promising young band, showing lots of stage presence and playing ability. There’s still room for them to establish a tighter identity as a band, but in time as their song writing matures they could well have a bright future ahead of themselves.
Second to take to the stage were PAPER CAPE, a band that have been making waves on the local scene in recent years. Having not heard them before, it was easy to understand why as soon as the opening song kicked in. Armed with a sound that is reminiscent of 90’s Seattle rock music, tinged with progressive elements harking back to the glory days of bands like Pink Floyd, they showcased some great songs during their set. For a 3 piece they have a huge sound, and the tight rhythm section of the drums and bass offer a great backbone to the atmospheric wash of guitar and strong lead vocals. A particular stand out was actually a cover of a cover; a storming rendition of Placebo’s cover of ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush. Despite perhaps lacking a little stage presence, the band seems confident in themselves and their music and it feels like they are only at the beginning of a promising career.
Next up were one of the most interesting bands of the night. Another young band, THE BYSTANDERS had a very unique sound that places them ahead of the curve – for a young band this is a rare thing, with most younger musicians merely following it. Front man James Denham sang with a voice reminiscent of the late Ian Curtis – a deep, resonant yet fragile voice that belied his tender years. Unsurprisingly, there was a big element of post-punk to their sound and so of course Joy Division instantly sprung to mind. But as their set developed it became obvious there is much more to this band – each song became a sprawling soundscape that at one minute would evoke Arctic Monkeys style indie, before wandering off into a long instrumental, post-rock style jam. It’s a special thing when a band manages to bring to mind so many influences whilst at the same time creating a sound that’s entirely their own. With plenty of time to grow as a band – these are one to keep an eye on!
A change of pace came next from the excellent THE GORGEOUS CHANS. Describing themselves as a ‘Nottingham world-pop band’ – they instantly put everyone in a dancing mood with their feel good sound. Combining elements of Latin, and African music with Indie-pop they’re a band that are very hard to dislike – even for those not typically a fan of this kind of sound. They clearly have their fan base in full force this evening as a swarm of people rush to the front of the crowd – singing, dancing and clapping along to every song. The band themselves look like they are having the time of their lives, with their eclectic array of instrumentation creating a huge big band style sound.
Last but most certainly not least are headliners LONG DEAD SIGNAL. Long Dead Signal are a 5 piece Alt. Rock band that since their inception have gone from strength to strength. Since starting in 2010 the band have played at Trent FM Arena, Rock City and toured the festival circuit also. As well as that they’re no strangers to the main stage at Rescue Rooms, having played there several times – and it really shows tonight. If you’re looking for a show – the fabled ‘live experience’ – then this a band that really nails it. In matching black suits, coveted in atmospheric lighting, the band definitely looks the part. They are well rehearsed, extremely confident and possess excellent stage presence – front man Ben Hellings winning over the audience with his charming charisma. Although their set is rehearsed in meticulous detail, this doesn’t prevent them from offering up a revamped version of fan favourite ‘A Question Of Violence’, and many songs have been extended and re-worked, offering a unique experience that offers the best of studio perfection and live energy.
Opener ‘Nostalgia’ begins with two delay-tinged guitars and swirling synths – dripping in atmosphere and melancholy. Joined by Hellings’ hushed vocals it offers the perfect introduction, grabbing the audience immediately before the tight rhythm section kicks in. From then on their set builds up to an explosive end, mixing a perfect balance of new and old material.
It’s constantly surprising that the band haven’t been snapped up yet – their set tonight being proof that they are more than ready to take on that next big step. With a new single out this year and plenty of great gigs to come, it’s no doubt 2013 is Long Dead Signal’s year. [Live Review by Marc Reeves]
HAGGARD CAT BOTHDAY PRESENT
22 MARCH 2013
Unfortunately due to the dire English weather I missed the opening acts RYAN THOMAS and BEARD OF WOLVES but the general consensus within the venue seemed to be that acts were splendid. Sorry lads you can blame the snow, or El Niño for that one.
By the time I arrived at the Jam Café, albeit cold and late, the place was already filled to the gills and operating a one in one out policy. Luckily, I managed to squeeze inside, grab a quick beer and perch myself by the bar just in time for DEAF BRIDGES.
Deaf Bridges are a sort of INFL 3 piece super group made up of members of fallen cult heroes Hot Japanese Girl and current gloom superstars Practical Lovers. Both great bands in their own right I had illusions that Deaf Bridges might strut on stage like Cream. What I found was a million miles away from Cream, but that’s a good thing because Deaf Bridges ferocious delivery immediately conjured up thoughts of Million Dead but played by Lightsabre Cock Sucker Blues era Mclusky. It’s early days for this lot but all the hallmarks for greatness are there already. They also seemed to have come tonight armed to the teeth with catchy as fuck riffs. In particular “Get to the Chopper” will almost certainly become a live favourite. With a debut record already being recorded we wait with baited breath to see if the record lives up to the impressive live performance they produced tonight. A couple of words to sum it up? Ace.
And so to the main event of HAGGARD CAT BOTHDAY PRESENT who were tonight launching their debut album Charger. The record, recorded in one day, partly improvised and with limited overdubs is played in its entirety tonight and Matt and Toms dirty, heavy, boozy, punk rock blues is just as powerful live. There’s liquor spilled, liquor spat, and an audience willing the band to play harder, and faster as the sat progresses. At one point Matt leaps in to the audience who happily lap up his sweaty flaying limbs as he effortlessly glides over the top of them. Having enjoyed the album leading up to the show the highlight for me tonight was Beard o’ Leeches but it’s Alligator Tightrope that’s received the loudest, however it must be stated that the whole album works brilliantly as a complete body of work. HCBP are a fantastic live band and as the show nears its end, after numerous encores, and more crowd surfing, the whole thing implodes in on itself leaving the crowd utterly exhausted having witnessed HCBP lay waste to the Jam Cafe.
Despite the British weather Nottingham music is enjoying a renaissance of people bothering to come out to gigs and both bands tonight proved why spending a fiver on some cans can’t compare to seeing bands of this quality in tiny surroundings such as the jam cafe. A great night. [Live Review by Ian McGinty]
15 FEBRUARY 2013
Tonight, for the first time since I started covering gigs for NottinghamLIVE, Rock City was packed, and I mean packed as a sold out crowd squeezed into Nottingham’s most famous music venue. The reason? JAKE BUGG, our very own chart topping music sensation was playing the home town leg of his latest tour, and becoming the first Nottingham act to totally sell-out the Talbot Street venue.
The atmosphere was immense as Jake took to the stage, chants of “Nottingham” rang around making the venue sound more like Meadow Lane than Rock City at times, this was the moment many had been waiting for, a chance to welcome home the biggest Nottingham musical artist of a generation.
The crowd ate up every moment of the gig, singing along to love classics like Trouble Town and Two Fingers with even mini NottinghamLIVE kicking away to tracks such as Lightening Bolt.
Watching Jake on stage it is amazing to think that the first time I saw this youngster was back in 2009 when he was standing in as guitarist for a band playing the first ever NottinghamLIVE gig at Seven, that night he played in front of a dozen people – tonight 2,000 fans – including the likes of Vicky McClure and Shane Meadows were there to see him – and it didn’t faze him one bit.
Such is the appeal of Jake’s bluesy style guitar music that the crowd was as diverse as any I had ever seen at City, ranging from teenagers right through to those heading into the retirement years, and everyone it seemed was having equally great a time. Jake, it has to be said, is not one for stage banter or chatting between songs, instead letting his music do the talking, but then when you produce tracks of the quality of Country Song that is hardly a surprise, however he was keen to thank his hometown for coming along and supporting him and to point out how great a time he was having – a sentiment shared by those watching.
As well as all the favourites from his self-titled number one album Jake treated the crowd to two brand new tracks tonight in Slumville Sunrise and Seen It All both of which will soon rebuff any critics that may think this young man is a flash in the pan, one album wonder.
After a fantastic set that thrilled throughout Jake wrapped things up with a cover of the Johnny Cash classic Folsom Prison Blues, it takes quite the confidence to attempt one of the Man in Black’s tracks but Jake Bugg had that confidence and pulled it off in style delivering an outstanding version of the track that went down a storm with the crowd.
This was THE gig Nottingham had been waiting for and boy did Jake deliver. Rock City was buzzing tonight and those that were there witnessed not only a fantastic show but also a piece of history. Earlier that day it had been announced that Jake was to be the first Nottingham act to headline Splendour Festival this summer, if you weren’t at Rock City last Friday we suggest you make sure you’re at Wollaton Park on July 20th for what promises to be an unmissable show.
Live Review by Geri Patterson
THE MOST UGLY CHILD, HANNAH HOLLEY, YVONNE LAKE
THE GOLDEN FLEECE
21 FEBRUARY 2013
British people love eccentrics and when YVONNE LAKE assembled a pop-up tent on stage my hopes were high for an intriguing and experimental performance.
It was a strong start with Yvonne’s deep husky voice complementing her neat finger picked guitar playing on the song ‘Should’ve been me’. What shone through on this song was the emotion on show; it was clear that the lyrics meant something to Yvonne.
After this strong start Yvonne found it hard to maintain the audience’s attention; the lack of hooks meant that often the songs faded into nothingness, therefore making it hard to distinguish one song from the next. Perhaps some more musical accompaniment would also have benefited this performance; at times the tracks seemed to be a little sparse.
Yvonne Lake rounded off her performance by inviting her two ‘friends’ on stage; however the duos ‘rapping’ really didn’t appeal and left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth after a decent performance from Yvonne.
I got the impression that Yvonne Lakes’ music would be better suited to a more intimate campfire environment for at times she seemed a little lost up on the stage. At her best moments there were echoes of ‘Bat for Lashes’ in this artists sound; and with a bit more consistency Yvonne Lake could well become the interesting an intriguing artist she has the potential to be.
Next up was the sweet and soulful singer HANNAH HOLLEY along with her guitarist Tom. The guitar and melody combination provided a radio friendly appeal which evoked memories of early noughties singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia. Tracks such as ‘Never Say Never’ and ‘Wash my Hands of you’ provided neat melodies and an easy listening appeal. At times the songs bordered on being generic but I feel that every time it felt like attention was waning Hannah Holley managed to draw the audience back in with a stand-out track.
Lyrically Hannah was at her best at her most confessional where she displayed a darker side to her songs. Lines such as “he ain’t worth dying for” really stood out when sung with passion. The most captivating moment of this performance came with the song ‘Tell me I am not too Late’; described by Hannah as an attempt to woo a boy (which we were informed worked!).The combination of honest lyrics and catchy melody marked this song out as being a potential hit.
All in all it was a strong performance which left the audience applauding enthusiastically after each song.
The press release for the THE MOST UGLY CHILD describes them as being akin to Tom Waits but I feel a stronger comparison would be to June Carter and Johnny Cash. The talented duo wound their harmonies together beautifully to concoct a blend of Americana and Country music.
One aspect which stood out to me was the strong stage presence; both members of the band looked at ease when on the stage. This confidence exuded into their music where their good eye for a hook was displayed on songs such as ‘He’s all Dressed Up (with nowhere to go)’. It’s always a sign of a good song when you’re left humming the melody to yourself on the way home.
A criticism I would level at this band is that at times they’re too in debt to their influences; it would be nice to see them break free from these shackles and innovate with their sound a little more. Whereas it is nice to have the throwback to the great American Country singers it can be hard to relate to this when you’re living in Nottingham.
Out of the three acts tonight I feel that The Most Ugly Child have the most potential and I will certainly be keeping track of their future Endeavours in the Nottingham music scene. They are a band I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in American, Country or Roots music.
Live Review by James Kellett