There was no doubt that Bad Sounds were going to deliver a stand-out show on a cold Tuesday night at the Bodega. With their new single ‘Are You High’ being announced as ‘Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World’ earlier that evening, their first headline show in Nottingham was lining up to be something special.
The performance began with ‘Hot Head Chippenham’, a tune that instantly got the crowd and the band both dancing. It was obvious from the get go that the love between frontmen Ewan and Callum was strong – with hands around each other’s shoulders, the two brothers energetically sang the quirky lyrics to the excited crowd.
The Bath based 5 piece then launched straight into ‘Meat On My Bones’, a song with disco infused baselines sitting below offbeat synthesisers and falsetto vocals. At this point, Ewan held out his microphone to the crowd and demonstrated hints of his hip hop stage presence – the genre has influenced much of their music.
Are You High was the third song of the evening, and despite nobody in the room knowing the words (it had only been released a few hours earlier), it didn’t stop the entire room grooving and eventually picking up the instantly memorable chorus.
One of the most captivating things about Bad Sounds is their ability to stack multiple layers of voices within the offbeat rhythms without it coming across as messy or crowded. When the entire front row of the band are singing at the same time, it only encourages the crowd to do the same, and this really came across with their next track, Zacharia.
In the interview they gave before embarking on this tour, the Ewan and Callum told the Mic that they were a little nervous about deploying some new songs to a live audience, a fear which was evidently unfounded after ‘Milk It’ was performed. The Bodega crowd instantly clicked when the band shouted ‘Holy Cow, I’m Milking It Now!’ before launching into another bouncing, funk infused track.
The set steadily continued to grow in energy until a massive wall of sound filled the room. Just as they exploded into the ever-popular ‘Avalanche’, there was a warm reminder of the brotherly love between the two front men. Callum picked up his younger sibling and carried him over his shoulder. This casual dynamic between the two boys is reflected so strongly in their music and stage presence, and is surely responsible for the care-free and laid back attitude that the band effortlessly display. The song finished with a beaming Ewan saying “We’re a bit in love with Nottingham now”, which of course was greeted with an enormous cheer from an ecstatic room.
The set concluded with ‘Wages’, a song which rose to gaming fame after being included on the FIFA 18 soundtrack. Looking around the room, every single gig-goer is singing back to the band, before Ewan finds a harmonica and confidently plays the infamous riff which completes the bridge. After one girl leapt onto the tiny stage, half of the room proceeded to copy, and within 30 seconds half of the venue were situated on the tiny platform. Despite the full blown stage invasion, the band managed to finish the song and left the venue to rapturous applause from a satisfied Nottingham crowd.
Stage Invasion – Photo by George Smith
With this being the first time the group have visited Nottingham on a headline tour, their subsequent return is something to be eagerly anticipated. Expect big things from Bad Sounds over the next few years…
Photo courtesy of ABP