Monday, February 2, 2015

Alvvays a Good Time in Nottingham

Once again, Nottingham correspondent MisterPrime is right in my wheelhouse. The band behind my No. 8 album of 2014 has just played his hometown. Alvvays will be knocking around Europe for a couple of more weeks before a triumphant North American homecoming opening for the Decemberists. Is it time to get tickets? Let's find out...

The Bodega
Nottingham, 26th January 2015

I've not been a regular at Nottingham's Bodega, despite, or possibly because of, the fact that it's apparently something of a hip young venue these days. I saw an incendiary performance there last year from Savages, but before that I don't think I'd been since it was still called The Social, when bands played with the front bay window as a backdrop (I don't think I'm making this up now), and I saw a very lacklustre show from the newly reformed Wire somewhere around the turn of the millennium.

Anyway, it's still pokey and a funny shape, so I can't imagine you can see much if you get stuck at the back, but it's not too hot, and the sound quality is really very good. Plus, despite it being a sell-out show, there was none of the lairy barging and beeriness of the following night's capacity crowd for the Sleaford Mods at the somewhat larger Rescue Rooms. This was more the kind of slightly polite and clean-cut group of youngish indie-kids that you'd expect given the unfeasibly fresh-faced band up on the stage. That said, Alvvays made full use of that decent-quality sound, playing their brand of dream-pop with a bracing twin-guitar attack and suitably chunky drum-thump that rendered everything much cleaner and sharper than the slightly muddy production on their debut album might lead you to expect. It's a confident performance, too, cheerfully chucking in ace card "Archie, Marry Me" early on in the set, ending on a new song and encoring with a well-judged cover of the Primitives' "Out Of Reach."

The jangly punk-pop of the faster numbers and singer Molly Rankin's touristy asides (she wanted the audience to recommend the best English chocolate bars and let her know if the Trip To Jerusalem pub was worth a visit) created a nice contrast with some of the more yearning ballads. "You guys seem to like the slow ones," she said as the band launched into "Ones Who Love You" with a Spectorish intensity, the soulful depths of the vocals in particular suggesting Lana del Rey tackling indie torch songs. For a "new" group, this was a good solid hour of entertainment and suggests that still better things are to come from this particular addition to the list of bands I'm gonna have to love despite their annoying names!

Lastly, as an aside, I'd like to apologise to Molly for the overly-literal nature of the audience in Nottingham: Despite a chorus of dissenting voices to her assertion that the Primitives song was "a hometown hit" that seemed to throw the singer slightly, I'd say it's probably fair enough to class the 50 miles between Nottingham and Coventry as pretty "local" -- particularly if you happen to be from a country as big as Canada.

1 comment:

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.