Heading towards the venue a few minutes after six, it is nice to see a queue still formed after doors have opened. Any previous trips to The Bodega have seen a half full room, but tonight’s sold out crowd are packed into this intimate venue, touching the stage at the front all the way to the back where the merch is set up.
First up are pop punk outfit, The Gospel Youth from the South of England. Upbeat riffs and soaring vocals greet the audience, who mostly seem unfamiliar with the band but enjoy them nonetheless. Their short set is packed with emotion, with vocalist Samuel Little commanding center stage, while the rest of the band use what little space they have on the small stage. Songs such as ‘Guidelines’ and new single ‘Hurricane’ show just why The Gospel Youth are the perfect openers for tonight’s bill.
Next up are Californian crew, I The Mighty, who instantly take over the room with songs like ‘Psychomachia’ which mixes catchy as hell with occasional screams, grabbing the attention of everyone in the room. Bassist Chris Hinkley and vocalist / guitarist Brent Walsh double the energy in the room, throwing themselves around the stage and interacting with the crowd. Part way through the set guitarist, Ian Pedigo, has some difficulties with his guitar, and later on Hinkley breaks Walsh’s mic stand, but nothing stops the flow of songs coming. From ‘Slow Dancing Forever’ (a song about dying in a plane crash on the way to a funeral) to ‘A Spoonful Of Shallow Makes Your Head An Empty Space’, I The Mighty never dip in quality, and have certainly grabbed the attention of new listeners, while satisfying all of those already singing a long.
Last but not least, headliners Hands Like Houses enter the room, kicking into ‘I Am’ . The sold out venue seems to get smaller as everyone crowds closer to the tiny stage. They blast their way through most of new album Dissonants, while throwing in a few songs off second album Unimagine – such as ‘Wisteria’ and closer ‘Introduced Species’ – along with the solitary Ground Dweller offering ‘Don’t Look Now, I’m Being Followed, Act Normal’ (which is possibly one of the greatest titles for a song ever) A few songs in we find out that the set is being live streamed on Facebook, giving the night that extra special spark, and a unique memento of the evening.
Tonight, in this little venue in Nottingham, we have been shown what the alternative rock and pop scenes have to offer, with three bands hailing from three different countries (England, USA and Australia) The level of talent on show is spectacular, and anyone who has the opportunity to see any of these bands should snap it up immediately!
I The Mighty
The Gospel Youth
Hands Like Houses
Words and Photos from Carrie-Anne Pollard