Review by Charles-Henry Volk.
The Macbeth pub in Shoreditch, London, has also hosted artists like Gallows, Plan B, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Snarky Puppy, and tonight on the 5th May 2015 three bands take to its stage: two local bands, Control and Nomad Soul, and a New York City-based band, the Dave Mackay Group. The latter are the headline act and are rounding off the UK stint of their UK/Europe tour
After a delayed start the first support act, Control, take to the stage. This is definitely a band to watch out for. The best way to describe the London duo would be if Royal Blood did progressive rock, as bassist Seb Tull agreed. In fact, just like Royal Blood, they demonstrate just how much noise can be made by only two people; with the 6-string bass and intense drumming (played by Jan-Vincent Velazco) making the whole room, and quite possibly my organs, rumble the most this evening. They weave their way through math rock-inspired technical beats, full on grinding sounds, and extended melodic sections with such a dynamic energy and stage presence that they are certainly a band to keep an eye on.
Watch our interview with the Dave Mackay Group below:
The next band, Nomad Soul, is a wonderful contrast to Control both musically and physically; with a full seven members on stage (guitar/vocals, drums, keys/vocals, bass, trombone, alto sax, trumpet) as opposed to two. Their jazz-infused indie rock is indeed entertaining, with the addition of the brass and alto sax lending their unique texture to long, breathed-out sections of harmony and solos. Although perhaps these were a little too long, as their set was unfortunately cut short due to the fact that the headline act were due to start five minutes after they played their last song. In fact towards the end of their set I looked around to see a few people taking short glances at their phones, anxious for the final act to start on time. Nevertheless, in the context of the whole evening Nomad Soul were a good choice of support act, and received some well-deserved whoops and applause.
As the curious choice of intermission music (sounding like a well-orchestrated snake charmer giving a dramatic monologue) fades out after they set up, the Dave Mackay Group jolt the audience to attention with the opening note of ‘Check Your Belonging’, the first song off their most recent album, ‘Flood’. The whole set essentially sounds like the soundtrack to an epic video game: there’s tension and suspense, delicate melodies, and gritty heavier moments. For a small stage in a pub, they put on a larger-than-life performance. The highlight for me was in the middle of their third song, ‘People Addiction’, when drummer JP Bouvet and bassist Antoine Katz dive into a groove-heavy drum and bass solo, demonstrating their dynamic and controlled technical ability. The band even treats us to some new material that hasn’t been recorded yet where the band’s pianist and frontman, Dave Mackay, adds vocals to the mix. This material sounds more like conventional songs rather than instrumental pieces, but they are no less engaging. They certainly didn’t hold back and left a resounding impression on the audience, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so on the rest of their tour through Europe.
Overall the evening was thoroughly enjoyable and an experience that attendees will not forget. You can catch the Dave Mackay Group at Trading Boundaries in East Sussex on the 14th May, or you can see them with Control at Fiddlers Club in Bristol on the 15th May. You can check http://www.nomadsoulcollective.com/ for upcoming dates for Nomad Soul.