On a warm and humid night in Nottingham it seems my trusty companion and I have got it right again. After a brief chat outside with some of the bands on tonight's bill, we make our way up the dark and narrow stairs and out into a dark-as-usual Bodega. It looks, however, like the owners of the Bodega have been splashing out as the customary black walls look even blacker, and it also looks like they've installed some new lighting gear. The stage has been cleared of the usual crap discarded by other bands that have played there. It used to look like a random graveyard for all kinds of delights. I thought I spied a small Amazonian Tribe up there once but I could be wrong. After sampling some of the refreshments on offer, we take our place in the half empty room and it isn't long before the first act comes on.

Luxury Stranger are a local band. As they take the stage you get the feeling this is no ordinary outfit. The drummer Tim Smith sits down at his drum stool rather quietly and Tim Bond who is on bass and live backing vocals makes his way across to the right, while the enigmatic figure of Simon York on vocals, guitars and keyboards moodily stares into the crowd. After a short while, he announces that they are Luxury Stranger and they burst into life.

The first thing you realise is that this chap has got a serious voice. Combining dark post-punk with the theatricalism of 70's glam, they cruise into the first couple of tracks. York's vocals really are amazingly strong, and he has that 80's new wave pout and a mannerism likened to David Bowie and Iggy Pop mixed with a dash of Bolan glam, the dark and melancholic sound of Joy Division and early Cure. If you grew up like me in the glam/goth/new wave/early indie sound of the late 70s, 80s and early 90's, you'll see splashes of Depeche Mode, the Chameleons and Echo & The Bunnymen in there as well, which all mixed togther make them something a little different.

They have a certain togetherness too which shines through with the backing vocals and harmonies from Bond. Tim Smith may have seemed initially a quiet one, but once he unleashes himself on the drum kit it is a different matter. A tight, loud expressive and passionate start to our night is met with applause and big grins all round.

The brilliant the Amber Herd, a five-piece post punk/alt. rock band from Nottingham. are on next. They have self-released two singles and one E.P. to date, and have spent the last three years in their current line-up playing festival gigs at Bearded Theory, High Voltage, Glastonwick and Headstock as well as headline shows in London and Nottingham and Leicester. They have also played support dates with the likes of Delays, Sound of Guns, CUD, Ultrasound, Milagres and That Petrol Emotion at Nottingham venues such as The Rescue Rooms and here at the Bodega.

With all the hype that is surrounding Nottingham and its music scene at the moment after the success of Jake Bugg, it seems that it won't be long before another local artist/band hits the spotlight. Watching their blistering set tonight I feel that Amber Herd - which consists of Neil Beards (guitar and vocals), Paul Wentworth (guitar and vocals), Mark Lasbury (drums), Ollie Powditch (keyboards) and Rob 'Fitz' Fitzmaurice (bass) - are possible contenders.

And with that in mind, it was on to the little known act who are headliners. Dead Wolf Club are a little hard to get gossip and facts about. They seem to keep themselves to themselves until they get on stage, and then they become part of you in more ways than one. They are Alwin, John, Martha and Serra, who have released their second album 'RAR' this year. They hail from London and Tintagel, and as we are politely informed one member actually lives in Czechoslovakia. "They describe themselves as "dark punk, geek rage, post punk," and according to their website apparently "are coming to smash up the guitars in a town near you." Good shot, I say!

They certainly have an energetic flare to them. The lead is only a small lad bless him but he has a massive stage presence. Totally unpredictable, he jumps and shouts and kneels, and takes a near end sojourn to the middle of the crowd when he feels like it. The guitarists are like chalk and cheese, with one sporting a devil's woolly hat with horns on it and mainly motionless, and the other a maniac of all proportions wandering around the stage and doubled much of the time. They are a joy to see up close and personal, and have a sound to go with it. The sweaty and dark Bodega is just the place for this intriguing band.

All three bands have complemented each other, and congratulations have got to go to Paul Wentworth from the Amber Herd for organising this diverse but enthralling night of brilliant music.

So, I wander back into the Nottingham dark with my trusty companion who is now sporting a large, cheesy grin and I can't make out if it's the beer or the music or a bad case of wind or a combination of all three. One thing is for sure though. I'll be buying some CDs this week.


Luxury Stranger Set List:

Wash
Love and Lust
Nothing Holy
Ripple
Face
Chances Gone


Amber Herd Set List:

Another River
StageFright
RedGold
TinMan
Three Ring Circus
Leaving Home
She


Dead Wolf Cub Set List:

ABC
Radar
Magic Ratio
Dance to the Conflict
17
Wave
In the Clouds
Melt
Strange Letters
Metropolis

















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Commenting On: Bodega, Nottingham, 8/7/2013 - Dead Wolf Club, the Amber Herd and Luxury Stranger








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