Hyphen Hyphen, Moseek, The Lawyers – Nottingham Bodega Social Club, Tuesday September 11
There was a uniquely international feel to the Bodega on Tuesday night, as participants of the World Events Young Artists festival packed into the upstairs space for a free gig, staged as part of World Music Village night.
Indeed, you had to search hard to find any familiar city faces at all – but with such a wealth of events for us to choose from, including three simultaneous free gigs within five minutes’ walk of the venue, it was scarcely surprising that townies were so thin on the ground.
That said, perhaps it was a good job that few of us were on hand to witness the opening act: four clean-cut Spanish law students, whose uninspiring choice of name – The Lawyers, what else? – was matched by the plodding timidity of their performance. Quite how they came to be chosen as ambassadors for Spanish indie-rock is anyone’s guess; if they had entered this year’s Future Sound of Nottingham, they wouldn’t even have made it past the first round.
Mercifully, this was one of those bills where each act was at least ten times as good as its predecessor – which is not to damn Moseek with faint praise, as the Italian three-piece delivered a sparky, energising set, salvaging the night in an instant. Led by corkscrew-haired, permanently smiling Elisa Pucci (lead vocals, guitar and songwriting), and underpinned by the lofty, dreadlocked Fabio Brignone on bass, the players displayed an easy, natural rapport, and a relaxed good cheer which spread throughout the room.
The arrival of headliners Hyphen Hyphen, an electro-rock act from Nice, signalled another quantum leap upwards in every respect. Their bodies daubed in day-glo warpaint, the two glittery girls (Santa on vocals, Line on bass) and the two bare-chested boys (Puss on guitar, Zac on drums) gave it all they had, storming the stage with devilish glee.
Stylistically, they bore immediate comparison with Late of the Pier – indeed, the much-missed Donington lads are officially credited as an influence on their Facebook page – and fans of Yunioshi, Swimming and Navajo Youth would also have found plenty to enjoy here.
Material from their two EPs – Wild Union and the brilliantly titled Chewbacca I’m Your Mother – dominated the set, and Santa in particular established herself as a forceful, fearless presence, whether ordering us all to drop to our knees, or skipping right to the back of the room, mid-song, in order to reward her sound engineer with a kiss. This was Hyphen Hyphen’s first Nottingham show; let’s hope that it wasn’t their last.