Live Review: OneGirlOneBoy EP Launch (Red Rooms, Nottingham)
Celebrating the release of OneGirlOneBoy’s debut EP, tonight’s venue Red Rooms shelters a generous crowd about to witness a stunning selection of the acts Nottingham has bubbling under on it’s thriving scene. I’ve mentioned a few times, particularly in my coverage of tonight’s headliners, that the emergence of Jake Bugg and Dog is Dead has rightfully opened eyes to the gems hidden away in the Midlands. Natasha and Chris of OneGirlOneBoy have targeted the right crowd – this isn’t an evening all about them, in modest Nottingham style, it has become a showcase of what the area is offering musically, providing almost equal-length sets from all the performers and a crowd interspersed with supportive family, friends and local regulars.
Samuel.P’s opening set boasts the rich potential of a great voice and an acoustic guitar. Assisted with effective percussion, his talent for songwriting is proven on the sublime closer ‘Bloodshot’, leaving things safely in the hands of it’s memorable chorus. Evidently aware of his crowd, Samuel’s cover mashups do a great job of bringing his audience in and getting the evening going – most notably with a surprisingly cohesive blend of ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ and ‘Wonderwall’.
Also strumming an acoustic guitar, Jamie Moon approaches things very differently. His songs are impressive in their intricacies and whilst not as instantly catchy as his peers, the layers of beauty he conjures is astounding and his strongest trump card. Undeniably talented, the magnificent ‘Little Star’ works well as a finale piece, leaving the catchiest and most addictive hook for last and though it may have been a little more accessible than his other tracks, it loses none of Jamie’s mystique and emotional force.
Kicking off the electric sets, Great British Weather are a force to be reckoned with and absolutely raise the bar for local talent. Their material is killer and the boys certainly have a knack for instrumental choruses that are just as inviting and remarkable as any lyric-laden hook -their ambient melodies, reminiscent of The XX, dance over crashing drums and more crescendos than you can shake a drumstick at. Quality wise, not one song displayed tonight is anything less than pristine and polished but every single one maintains a rawness and credibility that makes their potential so exciting.
A surprise guest announced on the day of the event, Nottingham’s breakthrough artist Indiana took one of her final opportunities to appreciate the intimacy of a small venue before her trek to Glastonbury and Splendour in the coming months. Her gorgeous soulful and breathy tones define the set and her music, adding a unique flavour to the already innovative tunes and ‘Blind As I Am’ exemplifies her magic perfectly. It doesn’t end there though – Indiana’s set is full of massive anthems that make the room shudder under the heaving bass and electronics; ‘Mess Around’ and ‘Smoking Gun’ possess two of the strongest refrains, whilst ‘Animal”s backing vocals invade each of the speakers in turn, creating haunting atmospherics.
Haunting is just the vibe OneGirlOneBoy needed as they dim the lights and crank up their eponymous intro. New track ‘Dirty Town’ opens, proving that in their short career they’re well on their way to honing their signature sound – it’s driving, recurring guitar hook underlines Natasha’s enthusiastic delivery – she sounds more alive tonight than ever before. As the band logo adorns a framed screen between the two members, the visuals have taken a massive leap forward – evolving from edited video footage, the new videos are intrinsic to the songs and the dramatic, pounding ‘Beautiful Mess’ won’t play in your mind again without the aid of the multi-coloured explosions of colour that perfectly complimented it.
If Natasha sounded enthusiastic to begin with, it is all channelled into the most passionate performance of ‘This One Boy’ yet – every word that Miller sang was bathed in conviction and meaning. The song itself provided the set highlight – the sonic beauty of Chris Howarth’s guitar blossoming from the verses’ simple flickers to a soaring middle eight that sees him taking charge of the song and providing an intensity that manages to equal it’s counterpart; Natasha’s vocal delivery. ‘Wasted’ takes pride of place as the last song of the evening; it is defiant, attitude-soaked and a celebration of the band OneGirlOneBoy have become. You have never been able to deny the talent of Chris and Natasha but tonight is so much more than watching two musicians play – it’s a performance and a show, bringing together the visual, the emotion and the music into one being and proving with ease why they are heading to the top of the Nottingham music scene at a strikingly fast pace.
Words: Simon McMurdo