Mike Atkinson

NME Radar Tour (The Joy Formidable, Chapel Club, Flats) – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Thursday September 30

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Rescue Rooms by Mike A on October 1, 2010

Although smaller in scale than their annual ShockWaves packages, the NME’s Radar tours have helped to break a significant number of new acts to a wider public. In recent years, Friendly Fires, La Roux, Marina and the Diamonds and Hurts have all benefited from the exposure – but on the strength of last night’s triple line-up, it’s difficult to see who will be next in line.

One thing’s for sure: it won’t be Flats, who opened the night with a short set of uncompromising aggression that harked back to the second-wave British punk bands of thirty years ago. Quaintly, there was even a number (Rat Trap) which expressed their loathing of mods.

Outside the venue, a member of Chapel Club’s street team was cheerfully doling out so-called “download CDs”, in return for our e-mail addresses. These turned out to be designed for the express purpose of downloading and burning four exclusive remixes of the band’s new single. Or to put it another way: they were blank CDs. But they came with a nice cardboard sleeve, and the promise of receiving exciting marketing e-mails in perpetuity.

As for Chapel Club themselves, whose seven song set was respectfully if unenthusiastically received, perhaps their chances of wider acclaim rest on whether the world is yet ready for the next White Lies. (Remember them? They were the next Editors. Who, of course, were the next Interpol.) Competent to a fault, their familiar sonic template was beefed up with generous dollops of echo and effects pedals, lending it an agreeably expansive air.

Things stepped up a good few notches for headliners The Joy Formidable, who were clearly the band that most of the audience had come to see. The Welsh trio radiated good-natured bonhomie from the outset – particularly singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan, whose smile sparkled from beneath a razor-sharp platinum bob. The reference points here were late Eighties bands such as The Primitives, The Darling Buds and Transvision Vamp.

Although they tended to err somewhat on the polite side, the band pulled out all the stops for the set-closing Whirring, which morphed into a lengthy and increasingly chaotic instrumental coda. It provided a rousing end to a night which, although billed as a showcase for forward-thinking breakthrough acts, turned out to have more than a whiff of the retrograde about it.

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  1. Gigs of 2010 « troubled diva said, on December 31, 2010 at 11:42 am

    […] 1. Oumou Sangare, T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou 2. Candi Staton 3. Crystal Castles, HEALTH 4. These New Puritans 5. Noisettes 6. Scissor Sisters, Hurts 7. The Stranglers 8. Hot Chip, Casiokids 9. Whitney Houston (no, really, I mean it – sounds like we caught her on her one good night?) 10. Rod Stewart 11. I Am Kloot 12. The Gentle Isolation, The Camerawalls, Your Imaginary Friends, Kate Torralba (two gigs, same line-up) 13. Tom Robinson (60th birthday), Chew Lips, Toumani Diabate, TV Smith, Nitin Sawhney, Eugene McGuinness etc 14. Avi Buffalo 15. Hadouken!, Unicorn Kid 16. Jackie Leven 17. The Invisible 18. Plan B 19. Rihanna, Pixie Lott, Tinie Tempah 20. Bella Hardy Trio 21. Sugarhill Gang 22. Chris Wood 23. Belleruche 24. Squeeze, Lightning Seeds 25. Miike Snow 26. Owl City, Lights 27. Beverley Knight 28. The Low Anthem 29. Ellie Goulding 30. Bridget St. John, Michael Chapman 31. JLS 32. Rufus Wainwright 33. Kele 34. Joy Formidable, Chapel Club […]

  2. […] I saw both these bands on the last NME Radar Tour. Neither impressed me on the night, but both have redeemed themselves with their new singles – particularly The Joy Formidable, once I was persuaded to give “Austere” a second listen. Everyone deserves a second chance, don’t they? And besides, it’s about time we had a few guitar bands in here. […]


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