NOTTINGHAM ROCKS – Review

It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since GEORGIE ROSE, AMBER RUN, HARLEIGHBLU and SAINT RAYMOND took to the Theatre Royal stage with a 14 piece orchestra for one of the most magical nights that the Nottingham music scene had seen, but time does indeed fly. Now that those lot are all off sodding about on huge headline tours and being bezzie mates with celebrities, it’s time to give four more acts the spotlight.

But time does indeed fly, and it’s back again. This years Nottingham Rocks saw THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT, NOAH, SHELTER POINT and JOEL BAKER all perform alongside a 14 piece orchestra at the Theatre Royal, and I’m sure you can imagine, it was a very special night.

THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT were up first, bringing their huge big-band Hip-Hop sounds which were only amplified by the massive orchestration going off behind them. They’ve come a long way since winning FSN back in 2012, and they’ve really developed as a band. Anyone who’s familiar with the band will know that the’ve already got a HUGE sound, but the addition of the orchestra made them even funkier than usual. I’m pretty sure I saw a few grannies skanking in the audience!

NOAH were next up bringing their beautiful Folk sounds. Masters of telling a story through their songwriting, their harmonies filled the room. There were two standout moments for me – the first was “David”, their story of child abuse, a very difficult topic to cover through the medium of song – but one that they convey in a touching, and tear-jerking way. And the second was their set closer “Set A Fire”, which really is something else. Beautiful is an overused word in the Folk genre, but that is the only word that does that song justice,

SHELTER POINT brought their absolutely stunning Electronic sounds to the stage next. Signed to RCA, and with fans such as Zane Lowe, these guys had a lot of expectation placed upon them, and they more than pulled it off. It’s hard to put into words what Electronic music with an orchestra sounds like. Liam’s falsetto brought plenty of men to tears, and “Serenity” sounded ridiculously epic. The boys played plenty of new songs, so we can’t compare them to studio recordings, but what we did hear was how truly different these guys are, and how ridiculously gorgeous Liam’s voice is.

JOEL BAKER absolutely smashed it as a headliner. Now, Joel does have the benefit of having a bit of orchestral backing in most of his tracks anyways, but you cannot hold that against him for the performance that he put on, cos everything about it was next level. From the funky take on “Woman” which saw Joel go acapella with just the double-bass accompanying him, to the incredible “Further Than Feelings”, which with the addition of an orchestra was extraordinary. “No One In Heaven” was my personal standout, as it’s an honest relatable breakup song, with one of the catchiest hooks I’ve heard in years.

As Joel headed off the stage, the crowd demanded an encore from the soulful man himself, so to round things off Joel went into “Every Vessel, Every Vein”, which saw the crowd become his gospel choir – and ended up being one of the most powerful, beautiful moments I’ve ever seen in music.

This was a special night. And shows the raw talent that Nottingham has on offer. These four acts all have very big things ahead of them, and I’m sure this will be a big moment in their careers. Nottingham, you do indeed rock!

Yours in Love of New Music,
Sam Nahirny x

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