We’re warming back up to our gig-going now that exams are well and truly forgotten. Last week, Nottingham saw visits from Kate Nash and Wilkinson. Here’s what Impact Music thought…
Kate Nash (Rescue Rooms, 11/02/17)
Kate Nash delivers a performance of style evolution, girl power and straight talking. Gone are the days of sweet, soft indie soul as Kate begins a new era of punk freshness.
Kate and her all female band threw themselves onto the stage to a crash of noise and excitement that did not cease throughout the show. Even when pleasing the audience with ‘Foundations’, Kate reminded us that she was no longer the feel-good pop nineteen-year-old, creating complexity with heavy drums and guitars. There was an eclectic range of tunes, from sing along acoustic, garage punk and electric, brought to life through an intense light show and almost mini-music videos playing behind the band.
“Kate thrived in the environment, creating humour and relationships with the audience”
The gig itself was sold out, but intimate. I worried about a possible awkwardness owing to the small size of the venue. Yet this seemed to produce the opposite effect as Kate thrived in the environment, creating humour and relationships with the audience. She trekked through the audience, sung and danced and made impassioned speeches.
After heavy punk numbers such as ’Fri-end’, Kate would quickly change tune, recounting to the audience her own struggle with mental health. Nash created a sense of trust and inclusion throughout the audience, whilst keeping them on their feet and maintaining a party atmosphere.
The intense drum and bass of some songs would resonate in your chest, alongside Kate’s high energy persona and banter with the crowd that created a night of dancing and laughter. One thing is for sure, Kate is back, unapologetically strong and better than ever.
Wilkinson (Rock City, 11/02/17)
Following a hugely successful summer of festivals and with the release of his second album due in mid-April, drum n bass music producer Wilkinson hit Nottingham’s Rock City on the third stop of his Hypnotic UK Live tour.
Preceded by rising DnB duo Fred V & Grafix, and young singer/producer TC, Wilkinson’s aptly named Hypnotic set did not fail to deliver either musically or visually. Having reached mainstream commercial acclaim with pop tinged drum n bass tracks such as ‘Afterglow’ and ‘Take You Higher’, Wilkinson’s live band, fantastic visuals and mix of chart hits and newer, heavier DnB tracks lifted the roof off Rock City.
“Wilkinson turned Rock City into a sea of hands held high in W signs”
‘Sweet Lies’, one of three singles released from the upcoming album, was the opener and, as became the case throughout the gig, Wilkinson warmly welcomed onstage a vocalist, starting with British singer-songwriter Shannon Saunders. The opening song was well received by the crowd with arms in the air, dancing freely, ready for the night and the atmosphere to only get better.
Microphone in hand, hype man to his right, and with a wall of lights and lasers behind him, Wilkinson turned Rock City into a sea of hands held high in W signs, bouncing wildly to ‘Dirty Love’. This was followed by recent release ‘What’, a return to classic drum n bass sounds with its heavier drops and few, repeated lyrics. After that, ‘Too Close’ was played, a track which Wilkinson himself jokingly called a “more family friendly track”, perhaps reflecting the huge age range of the crowd; from glitter-faced, plait-haired teenagers to older, middle aged groups, and everyone in between.
The first few beats of ‘Half Light’, having been played relentlessly at festivals and clubs over the summer, were welcomed by furious dancing and cheering by the now exhausted yet grinning crowd, eager to “jump, jump” as echoed by Wilkinson’s relentless onstage hype man. ‘Brand New’, a brand new track from the album, no pun intended, was recognised, applauded and mosh-pitted to, over shouts of “go, go, jump jump” from the stage.
“Rock City was packed-in tight and sweaty, with everyone jumping”
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly Wilkinson’s final song, ‘Afterglow’, which was performed only after the crowd restlessly screamed and chanted, knowing that it would be the best and only song that the set could possibly finish with. Warm yellow lights, smoke machines and frenzied lasers galore, Rock City was packed-in tight and sweaty, with everyone jumping, the happiness clear throughout the crowd.
Overall, as expected, a fantastic night with an amazing atmosphere. From the nonstop, back to back play of the setlist to the stunning vocals from Wilkinson’s multiple special guests, to the frenzied lights and smoke machines, Rock City enjoyed a remarkable performance by a drum n bass name who surely is only set for bigger and better things.
Encore included, Wilkinson’s set lasted only an hour and forty five minutes, and more time on stage would undoubtedly have been well received by the energetic crowd but to be honest, I doubt the crowd would ever have had enough.