The floor clears as the crowd disperse to the bar or to another venue, rather like ‘Dot to Dot’, and next up on the stage, making his debut appearance, of any kind, was Kwoli Black and his band of friends/session musicians. The ‘main man’ doesn’t play an instrument, he just collaborates with the keyboard player with ideas and beats in his head and delivers his ‘good vibe/happy vibe’ music ‘live’ with the help of an excellent backing band.
Having volunteered to do some charity work crewing for UKSS at one of DHP’s venues, I found myself at the Bodega, 23 Pelham Street, Nottingham, for the majority of Sunday, supporting the ‘Beat the Streets’ festival, so I thought I’d review what I had the pleasure to witness.
First up and setting the bar very high, were Lincolnshire indie rock band ‘Vigilantes’, from Boston, with a powerful, edgy yet melodic set of original songs. For those old enough to remember, a pleasant blend of late 70’s Squeeze with Noughties Orson. Hooky choruses Ladened with overtones of the Killers, Kings of Leon and even Coldplay,( If Coldplay had any Balls about them that is?)would be a fair description of what they deliver live. Clearly there is a very strong writing bond between frontman James ‘Curly’ Woodliffe and drummer ‘Joe Desmond’, who’s close harmony work gave their songs much more appeal, whether it be an energetic number, reminiscent of the Strokes, or the softer, quirkier side of the kooks! They opened up with ‘ no money’, a raunchy number that cast out the net and trawled an audience of around 20/25 people, all hungover from a heavy Saturday night (a good turn out for a Sunday 1pm start) and closed to a ‘catch’ of double the amount of smiling faces, myself included. Hats off to the ‘in house’ sound engineer also, for a very punchy, full and clear mix.
It’s been a long time since I’ve witnessed a well rehearsed, very tight entertaining unit such as this. Their very new single(untitled as yet) is well worth checking out so I recommend visiting and liking their Facebook for news of its release.
I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time before Vigilantes get their ‘Mr brightside’ moment and breakthrough to the mainstream to open doors for the recognition they deserve.
They truly were a breath of fresh air in the current, saturated market of popular rap and R&B we are having to suffer……..Promoters, labels, management companies, check them out, and take them on, you will get your money’s worth!
Kwoli’s strap line throughout the set was ‘check’, repeatedly used, which sat well in his repertoire of funk rap, which was quite a contrast to the first act, but well received by the appreciative crowd who stuck around to dance, and who seemed pleasantly surprised. Though humble during his performance, Kwoli seemed very comfortable with a now swelling audience of about 100+, a likeable and natural entertainer, whose material had interesting lyrical content with real life experiences that he openly shared. Delighted with the reception, he took great pleasure in filming a live stream of the audience participation as he made them laugh and smile with his witty rapport and I wouldn’t be surprised if he sold a fair few of his ‘Imagine Free’ EP after the show! I am sure he would handle an arena with ease should he be successful.
I missed the next two acts as the day was long and so I had to grab something to eat. On my return there was a real buzz about the place as the Bodega reached capacity in anticipation for local up and coming Nottingham artist Rob Green, whom I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard of, but who I met after the show to find out we have a mutual friend in the amazingly talanted Natalie Duncan. Not to knock any of the previous performers, but Rob Green was in a different league entirely and the security at the Bodega had to stop people coming in as there was no room! The Social had yet another very humble man on the stage who had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand with quality original material and a medley ‘mash up’ of covers as an encore which the fans demanded before he left!
Rob was so overwhelmed with the reaction of the home crowd that he actually shed a genuine tear of joy. Definitely a star of the future or I’ll eat my hat!
Ryan Farmer had the unfortunate pleasure of following the best act of the day, but held his own with some soulful blues in his own distinctive style.
Contrasting the mood again were Those Howlin Sounds, another local ‘Garage’ band. No ‘stand out’ songs for me I’m afraid, a repeated formula that they are clearly pleased with themselves. A certain Nirvana meets Teenage fan Club was present in most of their compositions, which isn’t a bad thing I suppose.
As day turned to night, the next two acts leaned more towards the electronic side of art, with ‘Deadbeat at Dawn’ producing some technically brilliant beats with a live kit, laptop and keyboards that could easily have been film scores for Sci Fi blockbusters and Bone Cult producing a very visual show in a prodigy meets Slipknot fashion. UV lit designer skull helmet style masks, semi nudity, flashing lights exposing tattooed flesh, all in a rave like atmosphere, reminded me of the phrase…’and now for something completely different’! There was a lot of laptop action, along with conventional 4 string and 6 string instruments, though I’m not convinced ‘said guitars’ were active ….merely props, but nobody seemed to care as they soaked up the theatre.
Headliners Romo Tomassi closed the event with pure professionalism and amazing technical instrumental genius, to a packed venue. Light and dark, heavy and…..er heavier, with shared screaming male and female vocals that have to be seen and heard live to believe! Not everyone’s cup of PG tips, but you don’t need to be able to read the leaves to know that this band have a future..