Rescue Rooms, Nottingham ~ ...and so on a cold Monday night I head back to one of my favourite venues, The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham for a triple header. Gender Envy will start us off, followed by Delights and then our headliner for the night… King No-One. Nice.
Nottingham has also come out to play early tonight with said venue filling up nicely with every creature of the night having made an effort. Flamboyant make up, numerous piercings and even a few sets of Spock / Bilbo ears (you choose) are on show which should all make for an entertaining evening. Let the show begin.
Gender Envy - And so at the allotted hour Gender Envy enter stage right for the start of their 4th ever gig which they apparently they got because they bombarded someone’s instagram page - such is the power of social media. They introduce themselves as a student band as they all hail from Nottingham University, which shows from the off as the crowd is packed with their ‘class mates’.
It’s a seven tune set starting with ‘Chasing’, quickly followed by ‘Threads’ and it’s now evident that the Uni has a policy of supporting their own as the audience response is worthy of a headline act any day.
It’s all delivered at break neck speed with ‘Doormat’ and ‘Corrosive’ up next, but it’s ‘Paper Planes’ their ‘current single’ that everyone is waiting for, so they duly deliver.
‘Over You’, a story of broken love, and ‘In Your Eyes’ finish us off before the obligatory plea for all to visit their Merch Stand with a promise of free stickers (whoo-hoo) and a commitment to honour a request for their tunes to go on to Bandcamp.
It was all one mad rush seemingly, and we were done and dusted in 25 minutes. It has to be said that it was a bit rough around the edges, and in the middle, but stage presence is something that has to be learned over time, and not something you’d expect from a band on their 4th time out - but when the crowd is full of your fello stoodents, you can (sort of) get away with anything. And they did, so fair play to them. 7/10 for effort.
Delights - …are a 4+1 piece out of Manchester and their mates aren’t in the crowd and it showed as they weren’t as well received as Gender Envy - but they should have been because this was a set of funky semi-disco groove tunes done very well and a stark contrast from the punky efforts of GE. I was hooked once I’d comprehended the change in musical styles. ‘Utopia’ begins proceedings blending straight into ‘Tender’ which has a real funky baseline.
We stop for a moment whilst our Front Man introduces the band as they’ve never ventured into deepest Nottingham before and then asks for a level of sympathy as his team were ‘pumped’ last night (Man United getting hit for seven by Liverpool) and he was still smarting from it. He didn’t let it show though as he dons a guitar and starts ‘Telephone Baby’ which itself is blended with ‘Iris’.
By now, I’m thinking that this is quality stuff, not least because the baseline lines are getting funkier and Nottingham has also gotten into the style change and are responding in a way that the band deserves.
‘Sweet Spot’ maintains the groove. It’s all smooth, melodic stuff to begin with but it gets heavier as it goes on and is liked muchly. The boys now pay homage to the 80’s with a tune called ‘1989’, a decade they yearn for apparently and one that I can recall personally - probably the only one in the room that could, but there you go. We finish with ‘Sometimes, Lately’.
So, Delights, I’ll take advantage of being able to use the cheesy line that you were a delight (couldn’t help myself, my bad), you produced some of the silkiest bass lines I’ve heard in a while, packed out with keys and a lead come rhythm guitar, and all backed up by a solid drum beat. Your lead singer sports an interesting choice in knitwear and your percussionist (the plus one part) carries a ‘tache that’s straight out of every 70’s porn film you’ve ever seen - but never admitted to. I won’t hold any of it against you because your funky semi-disco groove tunes were a pleasure to behold and I look forward to seeing you again for a full session perhaps, not just a Supports ‘seven songs and out’.
King No One - Now, I hadn’t heard of King No One when the call to review came through, so you do what everyone does and Google them, and the first thing I read is the Press Release for the new single, ‘Dead Hotel’ which states “This track holds the concept of nihilism and ego death and fragility wrapped up in a quintessential indie sound.” Needless to say, I’m none the wiser and after two disparate Support Acts, I’m totally confused and have no idea what to expect.
It all becomes clearer though once the band arrives on stage and immediately launch into said concept of nihilism segwayed in with ‘Halo’. It’s a good start and Nottingham respond with the acclaim previously reserved for Gender Envy.
We’re about to experience ‘Toxic Love’ when Lount stops the show as heckles fly in from a tiny part of the crowd but he’s shut down in a rapid manner and by the fourth tune (‘Pop Up Superstar’) ‘Johnny Heckles’ has been subtly removed, such is the efficiency of Security.
The band prides itself on providing safe spaces and the minor piece of nonsense doesn’t dampen anything for anybody, in fact it galvanises everyone together more than they were before and by the time ‘Bad Porno’ and ‘Millennium’ are savoured, it’s all long forgotten.
The love is strong and Lount is praised for his jacket, voice and his shoes - £20 from Primark, if you’re interested - and we’re in need of a subtle moment which is delivered by an acoustic version of ‘Apologies’ which is dedicated to Chloe who’s “too young to cook” or words to that effect. Phone Torches are duly lit and waved with a passion.
The subtleness continues and sees Martin take over the acoustic and we see the duo deliver the softness of ‘Say Nothing’, with the back line joining in later with harmonies - it’s all a very pleasant affair.
‘Two Islands’ is a big favourite and dedicated to Basile’s family who put the band up whenever they play. ‘Roll of the Dice’ is defined as a banger and ‘Antichrist’ tidies everything up nicely. No encore as there was Merch to sell, but there was no upset and everyone went home happy. and finally, a big shout out to the bass player for having legs made of rubber with dance moves to prove it and Basile for playing Premier drums - which most people wouldn’t have noticed, but I did because I also do.
So, to the A50 and the next time…
Written for Rock at Night Magazine
Full set of images coming soon...