Spotlight Kid – Bodega Social Club / Grey Hairs – Nottingham Contemporary, Friday October 26
The last time that Nottingham’s neo-shoegazers Spotlight Kid played the Bodega, just over a year ago, a friend and I agreed that they sounded like fifty thousand bees trapped in a wind tunnel, but – and this is the crucial bit – all flying in the same direction.
A year later, with a deluxe edition of their Disaster Tourist album ready for release and a clutch of new tracks ready to debut, they brought their buzzing, triple-guitar squall back to town, in front of a warmly appreciative crowd that contained many of their fellow musicians; members of Amusement Parks On Fire, Swimming, Grey Hairs and We Show Up On Radar were all in attendance.
“More guitars!” someone shouted after Budge Up, the opening track. “Did someone say MORE guitars?” exclaimed singer Katty Heath, in amused bafflement. But if truth be told, this was a slightly more mellow and restrained show, which highlighted Katty’s sweet, classic pop melodies, shaping the noise into song-like form. So, perhaps just twenty thousand bees this time around – which is still an awful lot of bees.
After the show, the band and much of their audience made their way down to Nottingham Contemporary, to catch Grey Hairs performing for free in the café bar. Although strictly speaking a side project – the four players are all members of other more established bands, such as Kogumaza and Fists – Grey Hairs are beginning to make a name for themselves in their own right.
No less powerful than Spotlight Kid, but in an altogether different way, the Grey Hairs sound is punchy, brutal and primitive, making them worthy successors to the likes of The Pixies and The Breeders. They can play dumb at times – one song in particular was driven by a single chord for the first couple of minutes, which made the eventual appearance of a second chord feel like the most exciting thing in the world – but the dumbness couldn’t mask the band’s underlying precision and skill.
Two amazing bands in two great venues, on the same night? This city’s on fire right now.