I first met George Gadd on a cold Thursday night at JT Soar in February last year, where my band supported his previous band ‘Little Bribes’. That night, the majority of the audience was made up of other band members that were also playing that night, but fast forward almost two years and Nottingham born and bred George has quickly built up a loyal following in the area and beyond for his self-named solo project. On Saturday night, George, complete with full band, was playing at Rough Trade for his single release ‘Not Human’, greeted with a jam packed audience.
George’s last solo effort ‘Better Shape’ was released in January, and his set included many songs from that EP. Many of the crowd sang along to ‘Milhouse’ and ‘Exit Strategy’, reinforcing just how far he’s come in a relatively short time. This has been down to hard graft, rather than a lucky break. George, with his DIY ethic, is often seen at Bodega/JT Soar/etc. watching or supporting local bands and is a big promoter of the Notts punk/alternative music scene. He had organised the whole night himself, which included support slots from Cameron Sinclair-Harris, Katie Cooper and Anwyn Williams. ‘Fan Club’, who raise awareness of women and non-binary people within the music industry and host monthly nights at Rough Trade were also there with zines and glitter, which greatly added to the atmosphere of the night.
It was new single ‘Not Human’ that was the highlight of the night, with its heartfelt lyrics and poppy hook it was hard not to sing along. The full band really suits George, who sometimes opts to play solo sets or sets with just Ciaran Grant (guitarist and backing singer). It’s the combination of George and Ciaran that really stands out to me, both through their guitar playing and also their vocal melodies, adding a nice depth to the music. Laughs were a plenty when Ciaran asked how someone that’s not been to the gym could call their EP ‘Better Shape’. He also pointed out how George could be twins with Sam Smith, with them not only looking incredibly alike but also being born on the same day on the same year. But that is where the comparison stops, musically, strong influences from The Menzingers, Frank Turner and The Front Bottoms can be heard throughout George’s catalogue.
At times the sound was slightly off, with the guitar overshadowing his voice, for example in their otherwise well worked cover of Bruce’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ the lyrics could not be heard clearly, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind, with many shouting along and dancing about while wearing their newly bought GG t-shirt. He ended the set with ‘Runaway’ before merging into three covers, which perhaps was too many, but I’ll let him off because one was Weezer’s ‘El Scorcho’. It was easy to tell just how much this gig meant to him and how genuinely grateful he was for everyone coming down, repeatedly thanking the crowd. This positive attitude really shone through his live set and it will be interesting to see what’s next in store for George Gadd.
Photo courtesy of Still Good PR