Fists, Cantaloupe, Kagoule – Nottingham Contemporary, Saturday April 21
(originally published in the Nottingham Post)
To mark the end of Record Store Day 2012, LeftLion magazine teamed up with The Music Exchange to present a free evening of live music at Nottingham Contemporary’s café-bar, a venue which has done much to promote Nottingham’s thriving music scene in recent months.
Teenage trio Kagoule, who opened for Dog Is Dead at Rock City at the end of last year, proved to be equally capable of impressing Contemporary’s largely older clientele. Their playing displayed a calm, steady purposefulness, and a maturity which was well beyond their years. Singer and guitarist Cai Burns, an intense but unshowy performer, formed an effective partnership with bassist Lucy Hatter and drummer Lawrence English, delivering brooding, low-slung grooves that evoked the spirit of Nineties post-grunge alt-rock.
For those who mourn the passing of long-time scene stalwarts Souvaris, who played their farewell gig at Contemporary in February, it was cheering to witness three-fifths of the band continuing to perform as Cantaloupe. There aren’t many acts who would introduce a track as their “disco” number and then perform it in 10:4 time, but Cantaloupe have a rare knack of twisting tricky time signatures into surprisingly dance-friendly shapes. Led by John Simson’s retro-futurist keyboards, the instrumental trio retain some of the experimental krautrock influences of their old band, but the overall mood is lighter, bouncier and sunnier. Cantaloupe’s debut EP (Teapot) is due out in June, on local label Hello Thor.
Fresh from a recent tour of the USA, Fists returned to their home city in triumph, filling the café-bar to capacity. It immediately became clear that the tour had done them the power of good, fusing the five players together as a tighter unit than ever before, but without losing their ragged, ramshackle charm along the way. Their searing, surging triple-guitar squall engulfed the room, and their deranged, devilish delight in performing was a joy to behold.