Like his surprisingly gaudy rainbow tie-dye t-shirt declares, Example is ‘not a salad’. He knows how to work a crowd with a carefully designed setlist that phases from hit to hit, with the odd throwback before saving the best for last – ‘Kickstarts’ and ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’ sending the crowd into a frenzy in time for Example to duck out on a high. He knows how to get the crowd going, and has a good stage presence. It’s just a shame that what could have been a really fun show ended up bordering on being a mediocre recorded-music club experience.
Many of the disappointments of the evening weren’t actually Example’s fault. Rock City may have bitten off more than they can chew with trying to be both a music venue and student club all in the space of one night. Doors for Example’s show opened at 6:30PM with the man himself coming on at 8:25, meaning a bizarre situation where the whole gig was over before the time had hit double digits and while the night was still very young. In addition technical problems with the cooling fans made the venue an unbearably hot, steamy mess resembling a giant alcoholic sauna.
Rock City may have bitten off more than they can chew with trying to be both a music venue and student club all in the space of one night
Granted, they’re little gripes that although annoying, can be overlooked. Less easy to ignore however, was that a lot of the time Example’s vocals and most of the words of his songs were drowned out by an extremely loud generic thrumming beat – which should either have been turned down or the vocals turned up. This meant that it usually took a good minute of listening to the beat and the clashing noise of electric guitars with Example’s voice fading in and out before it was possible to actually work out which song it was, let alone be able to sing along. ‘Stay Awake’ for instance opened the show, and despite being one of example’s most popular songs which has a reputation for being great live, ended up as a mass of noise with the lyrics pasted barely audibly over the top. What could be heard however, it seemed like Example wasn’t putting any heart into, explained when, after then next song, he declared “That’s the shit ones out of the way”, which was quite unfair for those of us who like the song, and would’ve actually preferred that he didn’t do it at all.
the atmosphere was totally electric, despite the stark contrasts in fans; middle aged mums elbow to elbow with football-chanting hooligans and leather-clad bikers
The crowd didn’t seem to be fazed by much though, and the atmosphere was totally electric, despite the stark contrasts in fans; middle aged mums elbow to elbow with football-chanting hooligans and leather-clad bikers (albeit they were probably meant to be in the Anti-Nowhere League gig on the other stage). And to be fair, most fans probably weren’t there to listen to his genius lyrics such as “stick around like Elastoplast” anyway, so as an hour and quarter of club music it was definitely enjoyable. Most importantly, when the lights went up at the end of the show everyone did look absolutely ecstatic like they’d had a great time… as they tripped over each other in their haste to get out of the room before they feinted from the heat.
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