The Week in Live Music: Laurel and Toothless

March is upon us and spring (finally) approaches! With sunny evenings just around the corner, Nottingham was treated to a healthy dose of luminous Chamber-Pop, in the form of visits from Laurel and Toothless (of Bombay Bicycle Club fame). Here’s what Impact Music thought…

Laurel, Rescue Rooms Red Room (01/03/17)

Playing in the intimate Red Room at Rescue Rooms on 1st March, Laurel unveiled an evocative performance in a small, sparse space with just a handful of audience members.

That being said, every individual in that room witnessed a visibly emotionally charged acoustic performance by Laurel, not better seen than through the track ‘San Francisco’, which was introduced as a song for those “who you love, but are too far away to be with”.

Laurel’s standalone voice was the biggest surprise of the set. Whilst listening to the studio-recorded tracks, with percussion and production included, it is hard to appreciate the unique, ethereal lull that is Laurel’s voice.

The tracks played from her Parks EP, released in 2016, left nothing to be questioned. Fan favourite ‘Hurricane’ stunned the small audience to silence and a state of reverie. Laurel channelled sounds similar to the brooding longing of Lana Del Rey and strong, overdriven guitar riffs that were reminiscent of Courtney Barnett. However, I’m unable to liken Laurel’s sound to anything too specific, which is a testament to her individuality, in both mannerism and sound.

Paras Sehmar

Toothless, Bodega (02/03/17)

Bombay Bicycle Club bassist Ed Nash’s side project, Toothless, has enabled him to step out from behind Jack Steadman’s shadow and sees him exchange four strings for six.

 Though the capacity of Bodega is quite different from the type of venues that Nash is used to playing, he nonetheless seemed genuinely thrilled to be performing to us. He even said at one point that he was going to hang out by the merch stand because he fancied going for a few drinks after…

Liz Lawrence, who has previously toured with Bombay, put in a great shift as both the opening act and band member of Toothless. Magique were on just after and sounded impressively confident (despite looking so very young).

Toothless played the majority of their debut album The Pace of the Passing and the best crowd responses were to the tracks ‘Sisyphus’, ‘Palm’s Backside’ and ‘The Sirens’. There are strong echoes of Bombay Bicycle Club’s influence, but at the same time Toothless’ sound is distinctly different and unusual – their music is almost too melodious and too annoyingly catchy, but in the best possible way.

‘Sisyphus’ is a prime example of how expansive and dreamy they sound. The song starts with a minimalist electronic motif, layered with vocals, which is then undercut with a blistering, dirty guitar hook. The songs keeps building and races along unrelentingly with layers of harmonies. I imagine it’s a tough track to recreate live and yet its delivery was remarkably close to the studio version.

Whilst my views on the band’s name are minimal, thankfully this confident five piece doesn’t seem to be lacking in bite.

Amaya Carruthers

Image courtesy of Pomona PR

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