Swimming, Yunioshi, and Blind CavesEdit this event
Nottingham really is the place to be at this moment in time. Having waited more than a decade for someone from the local music scene to break through, 2011 has seen London's A&R scouts decamp to the city. For the first time in years there's an eminent buzz of expectation hovering around the bars and clubs. Even former Nottingham Forest footballer David Johnson is spotted in the bar earlier, suitably dressed in the kind of attire Andre 3000 would happily offer pride of place to in his elaborate wardrobe. Forget the fact tonight's headliners have flown from the sunnier climates of Texas, it's the other three bands on the bill the majority of those eagerly packed into Rescue's tiny Red Room are here to see, and for the most part there's little in the way of disappointments.
Sadly, a combination of late buses and unfeasibly early stage times mean we miss Blind Caves set, which we're told on several occasions was blinding. Damn. Quirky electro poppers Yunioshi could be classed as veterans of the local scene, having been plugging away at their Beck-influenced schtick for a good five years or so. Here on a bill with what is a largely guitar-orientated line-up, their sprightly pop is both a welcoming diversion if occasionally sounding slightly out of place alongside their fellow performers this evening. Technical problems don't help things run smoothly either, the lack of a soundcheck the root of their woes,so it is to Yunioshi's credit that they pull it back in the final third, like mini-Flaming Lips reared on the lo-fi sketchings of Bis.
Prog-rock experimentalists Swimming aren't exactly spring chickens either, having released their first EP back in 2005. However, their progression from those earliest recordings to the outfit standing before us this evening acts as an incredible advertisement for allowing bands to develop at their own pace. The promise hinted at on 2009's debut long player The Fireflow Trade has gradually come to the fore over the two years since, and even when confined to a small space - all five members struggle to fit on stage for the entire performance - they're a glorious melee of swirling guitars, glitchy keyboards and intuitive breakdowns that sound made for stadiums rather than tiny backrooms such as this. Their seven-song set, largely comprised of material from forthcoming long player Ecstatics International mixes elements of shoegaze ('Neutron Wireless Chrystal'), sci-fi chamber pop ('Kid Global') and errant psychedelia ('Panthalassa', 'Sun In The Island') in one all-inclusive melting pot that's aimed for the stars and beyond. Despite the superlatives that have been coming their way in recent months, Swimming still remain a relatively unknown quantity outside of their homely confines. However, we predict Nottingham's best kept secret to become household names in the imminently foreseeable future.
While Swimming prove a daunting act to follow, Austin's Love Inks seem quite non-plussed by the prospect. Although tonight marks their first visit to the city in front of an audience largely unaware of their existence, nerves don't appear to be an option as far as the Texas three-piece are concerned. Focal point and main mouthpiece Shelley LeBlanc exudes a sophisticated level of charm throughout, engaging the audience in between songs with stories about puppy play amongst other amusing quips. Musically operating in the same ball park as Beach House or to a lesser extent The xx, Love Inks purvey a repertoire that's difficult not to fall head over heels for hook, line and sinker. Playing songs drawn from their E.S.P. long player, 'Blackeye' is a gorgeously executed lament to hubby and fellow Love Ink Kevin Dehan while 'Can't Be Wrong' caresses the ambient side of the Cocteau Twins output exquisitely. Afterwards, the smiles on all three band members' faces while selling their own merchandise tells its own story; an eventful Friday night for all concerned and one which should ensure Love Inks next excursion to Nottingham won't be greeted by a room full of puzzled faces.