I’m back at a venue that needs no introduction, it’s Rock City in Nottingham. If you’ve been, you know how great it is and if you haven’t, why not?
I’m here tonight to see 3 American bands gaining in popularity in the UK. First to the stage is Phem.
It’s a very crowded stage. There are 3 drum kits set up on the stage (for each band) and it doesn’t leave much space for Phem and her band, but my goodness that doesn’t stop them using every bit of space available. Phem looks phenomenal with her green hair and I frogs shirt, strutting around the stage and getting the crowd waving their arms and moving around. The bass player had a ‘hello kitty’ bass, a black string vest and a trucker hat. A strong look he pulled off with ease. First song was a cover of heaven by DJ Sammy, the rest were all originals. Phem played guitar on dead yet, then straight into breakdown, a new song not out yet, but they wanted to test it out. There was even a QR code on stage back drop with a link for the new song.
Phem set list
Heaven – cover
Next up is Bad Suns. All the way from California where they formed in 2012, this is the first time they have played Nottingham. They have a cool indie rock sound, inspired by post- punk pioni from the 1970s & 1980s. The dancefloor is packed and the crowd are bouncing in unison. Christo gets everyone moving, arm waving a just generally dancing. The audience love Bad Suns and enjoy every minute of the set. The guys hang around after to chat to people which I thought was a really nice touch. They are clearly loving the tour and meeting new audiences.
Bad Suns set list
Heaven Is a Place in My Head
Outskirts of Paradise
Dancing on Quicksand
Baby Blue Shades
Life Was Easier When Only Cared About Me
Daft Pretty Boys
After the stage being so full at the start of the night, there’s now just one drum kit in the centre of the stage. This is where Otto will sit. To the left is Geoff on lead guitar and backing vocals and just off centre to the right is Awsten on vocals and rhythm guitar. The stage is in total darkness and you can just see the silhouettes of the band. Then there’s, lights, smoke & noise. It’s absolutely electric. The entire back drop of the stage is animated throughout the set and it’s a constantly changing. The visual are fantastic. Awsten is playing a flying V guitar, which in my opinion is the absolute best and coolest guitar and I can’t be swayed on that. He tells us how cool it is that the song Telephone is used on a British Netflix show Heartstopper.
Someone from the audience gives Awsten a tiara and he suggests drummer wears it. Otto puts it on, we cheer. He takes it off, we boo! The band really love interacting with the audience and have having the best time and it really shows. During reboot he asks for crowd surfing, which isn’t actually allowed in Rock City, they are lots of signs starting you will be ejected for crowd surfing, but right now it’s ok. This clearly delights some of the audience as they crowd surf to the front and security help them down Awsten starts to play I miss having sex.
He sings two word, then let’s audience finish the next part. The drummer and bass player leave the stage and Awsten plays alone on an acoustic guitar, he gets audience to sing first verse of 21 questions, fruit roll ups & not warriors. We get to hear two new songs, Funeral grey and brainwashed. Both sound really good live and were met with enthusiasm.
Stupid for you
Watch what happens next
You’d be paranoid too
I Miss Having Sex but at Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore
Fruit roll ups
Lowkey as Hell