The Invisible – Nottingham Bodega Social Club, Wednesday March 10.
Imagine the thrill of having your debut album nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Now imagine the disappointment of playing to fewer than thirty people, on the second date of your UK tour, six months after losing out to Speech Debelle (hardly a roaring success in her own right, it has to be said).
To The Invisible’s great credit, the three players – singer/guitarist and jazz-fusion veteran Dave Okumu, bassist/keyboardist Tom Herbert and occasional Hot Chip drummer Leo Taylor – didn’t let the lack of punters stand in the way of putting in a powerful, authoritative performance. Instead, they absorbed the situation with relaxed good humour (“We’re not going to start playing until you all leave the room”), and proceeded to focus on the task in hand, displaying an impressive musical range which spanned from angsty, tense, doom-laden indie-rock to lithe, taut, choppy funk.
So engrossed were the band in the complex, rhythmically overlapping textures of their final number Jacob and the Angel – the sort of music that has you swaying blissfully from side to side, eyes closed, head tilted back – that they remained unfazed by the collapse of a young man at the front of the room. Thankfully he returned for the encore, smiling and seemingly unscathed.
The Invisible are exactly the sort of band that you would expect to be championed on BBC 6Music. If the corporation’s bean-counting bosses make good on their threats and the station is axed, it will become even tougher to find an audience large enough to sustain their career. So if you have stumbled across this review online, and if you are wondering whether to take a punt on one of the other shows on the tour, do both yourself and The Invisible a favour, and lend your support to this admirable and unfairly overlooked band.