Live Review: Turin Brakes, Rescue Rooms (18/02/2016)

I was hopeful for what the evening had to offer. Turin Brakes were a band I knew vaguely courtesy of Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist feature, but were somehow not particularly memorable – for reasons that would only become apparent later that evening. Amongst the few that had already arrived both my friend and I were a young minority which, though atypical in comparison to my other experiences at Rescue Rooms, was not unusual for many of my experiences of live music here in Nottingham.

The most pleasant surprise that evening however proved to be the obscure opening act; a three man band named after lead vocalist Tom Speight. Whilst it was tempting to dismiss the act due to the horrendous feedback from the speaker system, this became easily forgivable. Every song felt deeply heartfelt, from ‘Willow Tree’ to ‘If I Belong’, onto ‘Something To Say’, ‘Green Eyes’, and finally ‘Little Love’, for which they collaborated with Turin Brakes. Each of their performances were energetic, impassioned and vulnerably beautiful in equal measure.

‘Something To Say’ was particularly memorable. Tom Speight spontaneously unplugged his guitar and performed the song in the midst of the audience! Where the audience had previously distributed themselves sporadically, that performance saw the audience gather around him. Conversation amongst the audience died away once he returned to the stage, and the audience watched the rest of the set thoroughly captivated. I had forgotten how much I loved acoustic music and how moving it could be. Whilst the trio will never hold a candle to the likes of Laura Marling, their performance certainly restored my love for a genre I had given up on years ago, which doesn’t happen often.

Before I knew it a deafening roar welcomed Turin Brakes onstage. Though unexpected it was in no way unsurprising. Each element of their songs; lyrics that were just shy of being overly sentimental; chord progressions and changes that were predictable; intermittent guitar solos which though somewhat adventurous were no more memorable; was incredibly derivative of classic/pop rock that sounded like a music baby born out of a nostalgic Zeppelin, Floyd, Elbow, U2, and Disney Channel wedlock. That combination really shouldn’t have worked, but it did. So well that I found myself cheering along with the audience as they called for an encore not once, but twice! Yet as wonderful as that blast from the past was, it certainly isn’t a memory I would care to replicate or recreate anytime soon.

Nadhya Kamalaneson

Image: Paul Hayday via Flickr

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

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