I’d spoken with Bad Sounds’ singer Ewan two weeks previous, took in all I could of EPs and singles. We talked aspirations and milestones to date. We chewed through influences and weaved around subjects like Bad Sounds stitch up their samples. It was cool, it was easy, free flowing.
So I had some idea of the evening, figured I knew what was coming. The last supporting act played my entry; a band with big ideas not quite yet fulfilled in line with Paul Simon, Phil Collins and width set for stadium settings. If their baby faced fan club are tomorrow’s star-makers then maybe by then the band might fit the light.
Change in band, change in audience. Some remained, some arrived, upstairs at Bodega at floor bending capacity. Midway through the set Ewan professed he was nervous, said their last time in Nottingham nobody came… we could not be further from last time. The Intro repeats the band’s name in stretches and Bad Sounds arrive front of backdrop.
Half a song in and I’m frat-party fodder; its Beasty Boys Beta and Jackson Omega and I’m hopped up on nothing but high spirits and high hopes; hoping this hyper won’t end. Caution never made in the building. Reserved didn’t even leave the house. Minimal and subtle are cities away and en-mass amnesia makes us forget that anything anywhere’s worth worrying about.
Synth, samples, drums, guitars, bass, five on stage, four on vocals with brothers on lead. Vocal tricks range from Q&A rhyming to four-piece falsettos that summon up Jackson 5, Supremes, TV on Radio. In break-neck speed shuffle we’re served new ways to swallow Stevie Wander, Marvin Gaye, Kung-Fu fight Motown and disco all dressed in the happiest of De La Soul and 90s hiphop. Some older tracks verging on most early Zutons. Cinderella to Madchester and Baggy. Mixtape, no DJ required.
Why sell intent when you have infection? Looking so easy never once looked this easy, relentless in grandeur and camp. For no other reason apart from it does, Queen’s Under Pressure comes into my mind but that doesn’t rival this hell-bent on good time. It’s a proudly owned study of all that’s before them, cherry picked and delivered with style.
We end on an invite on stage, so many head up it takes time to empty when the party winds down to its close. One or two frightened faces in post-show Kerplunk.
I saw that support band’s ambition. We all see Bad sound’s destination. And for someone who prefers to spend parties in kitchens, I was glad to get swept up along.
– Will Wilkinson
Bad Sounds played Bodega, Nottingham on November 14th.