Home Gigs Gig Review :Bad Touch with Bastette and Primal: The Bodega Social Club, Nottingham,15 February 2022

Gig Review :Bad Touch with Bastette and Primal: The Bodega Social Club, Nottingham,15 February 2022

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

After last months ‘Road Trip’ north, and my brief journey over to the ‘Emerald Isle’ to help reduce the level of the Guinness Lake, MPM Tog Manny and myself are back on familiar turf, with a short run to The Bodega situated in the Hockley area of central Nottingham.

A 200-capacity venue, that has been putting on shows since 1999. Tonight’s ‘Sold Out’ gig see’s us receiving a belated Valentine’s Day gift of three bands, Primal, Bastette and the main attraction Bad Touch on their “Better Late Than Never Tour 2022.

We make our way in and join The Merry Men and Women assembled inside, we’re upstairs in the main hall for this evening’s extravaganza.

Local boys, Primal are opening tonight’s show, the trio consists of Rory Wilson (vocals), Dan Biglands (guitar) and Ollie Green (drums). To date they have released four singles and a couple of E.P.’s

They walk up onto the stage and acknowledge the crowd, a short intro and it’s their first track ‘Too Long’ Wilson is cupping his mic, the quick lyric is complemented by Biglands’ dirty riff whilst tub-thumper Green controls the variations in tempo.

First song out of the box is a tight one. The Early Doors attendees are getting a treat. The next offering is introduced by Wilson simply as the ‘Zep Track’, it’s brought in with crashing drums and a short distortion ladened riff.

The song has a stop-start rhythm, with backing harmonies and a crisp vocal, this sound made me think of an Amy Winehouse and Chris Cornell ‘Love-child’.

The next track ‘Slick’ is played to a near full house now, the sounds these three are producing have enticed those drinking in the bar below upstairs.

Wilson is speaking the lyrics above an undercurrent of distorted blues guitar; the marching beat gets the crowd nodding along. Drummer Green shows it’s getting hot on stage as the sweater and T-shirt come off.

Dan Biglands is leaning over the front row as he produces a crushing solo. Without pausing we’re into ‘Slammy’. ‘Slammy’ by name and ‘Slammy’ by nature, with punching beats that you can feel on your chest, it finishes with a polished solo, the vibration through the room has everyone hanging onto their drinks trying not to spill them.

‘Into The Night’ starts with a nice blues harmonica, this one is a bit slower with Wilson’s vocal central to the sound, there’s a chugging riff complementing the harmonica, almost Blues verses Stoner.

We arrive at the final track too soon, ‘Lucky Soul’ starts with a false sense of security, almost calm, but by the mid-section all hell breaks loose with a heavy distorted ‘Sabbath-esque’ riff, Green is hitting the kit like he’s holding two heavy branches from Sherwood Forest’s Great Oak.

These three fellas made a superb noise, if you get the chance to see them, take it, you won’t be disappointed. The Bodega crowd gave them a great reception, and judging by the lads on stage they enjoyed it too.

Setlist: Too Long, Zep Track, Slick, Slammy, Into the Night, Lucky Soul

Bastette named after the Egyptian Lioness Goddess, were form in Blackburn in early 2019 by songwriter and lead singer Caroline Kenyon, she has added Sam Newiss (lead guitar), Eoin Kelly (rhythm guitar), Paddy Duffy (bass) and Rob Hirst (drums).

They are popular on the festival circuit, having played at Rockin’ The Bowl at the end of 2021, and at HRH NWOCR last month, witnessing and enjoying both performances myself, I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on in a smaller setting. The have released two E.P.’s.

Looking around the gathered crowd, there’s a good amount of Bastette T-shirts on display, the lights drop and ‘Layla’ starts on the P.A. the band make their way onto the tight stage, front center is Caroline Kenyon, long burgundy locks flowing along behind her.

A quick wave to the crowd and it’s ‘Talk About It’, Caroline is slithering and smooching around the stage her vocal, clear and precise, she’s drawing the crowd towards her, Eoin Kelly’s rhythm guitar tying the sections together.

The band already have the audience in the collective palm of their hand. Caroline introduces ‘Faultline’, narrating the opening verse, Rob Hirst brings in the drums, the crowd clap along. The song gathers pace, Duffy’s bassline easing us quicker, and quicker. This is a favourite amongst the fans’

‘Primal’ Kelly brings the track in, Caroline is serenading the front row, up tempo and rocky, then slowed down and controlled, before Sam Newiss lets rip with a solo that has the crowd punching the air in appreciation.

Hunter’ has a bit of an electronic sound, it’s moody and atmospheric as Caroline demonstrates the range of her vocal, she’s flexing and twirling, dancing around the stage.

‘Sunglass’ an acoustic sound intro from Kelly, Kenyon sings along carefully as she smiles at the crowd. A real Florence and The Machine feel to the track, there was a lot of emotion and passion put into it, it was another track that was well received.

Next, it’s ‘Rip Me to Shreds’, Newiss’ quick riff fires this track off, heavy bass and drums lift it up, a wave of Caroline’s hands get the fans clapping, an old-fashioned styled rock classic.

Caroline announces the last track of their set ‘Rollercoaster’. Her vocal encourages you to climb aboard, the band join in and carry you to the top, clever and defined pauses to build the anticipation, then Caroline’s vocal drops you over the edge and into a crashing finale. As it finishes, she punches the air and the crowd cheer. Brilliant.

I’ve seen Bastette three times since their opening slot at Rockin’ The Bowl, they are getting better and better. Don’t leave it too long before you decide to see them, at the rate they are banging in performances like this you may struggle to get a ticket.

Setlist: Talk About It, Faultline, Primal, Hunter, Sunglass, Rip Me to Shreds, Rollercoaster.

Formed in 2010 in Dereham, Bad Touch have grown and developed into a ‘Must See’ band. They include Stevie Westwood (vocals), Rob Glendinning (guitar), Daniel ‘Seeks’ Seekings (guitar/vocals), Michael Bailey (bass) and George Drewry (drums/vocals). Since their first album ‘Half Way Home’ was released in 2015 they have had a further three releases, their most recent being in 2020 with ‘Kiss The Sky’.

Bad Touch are on stage doing a quick sound check, Stevie Westwood who is looking rather splendid in his fedora/gambler hat and blue and red floral suit, says “As we’re all on stage now, we may as well start. Hi Nottingham, this has been a long time coming.

The crowd cheer as the band goes straight into ‘Lift Your Head Up’ the opening track from ‘Shake A Leg’ released in 2018, it’s upbeat and gets the crowd bouncing straight away, Drewry’s drum beat makes it impossible not to bounce along, Westwood’s vocal is warm and inviting, and Bailey’s bass nice and prominent throughout.

Next, it’s ‘Good On Me (Jeans Song)’ from the debut album, a bit of a Quo-esque sound to the intro, Stevie calls for a solo and Rob G complies, Seeks is leaning back and rocking out like no-one is watching.

Stevie calls “Brother Seeks” to the front of the stage, to bring in ‘Strut’ from the recent ‘Kiss The Sky’ album, it was also the first single released from it. It has a nice mix of tempos and each member is given the opportunity to showcase their considerable talent, a strong drum beat, punching bass, great lead break and clever vocals, the beat makes you want to strut.

Stevie asks everyone to either clap along or show him what they’re drinking, the result is a room full of arms raised aloft, ‘Dressed To Kill’ from ‘Shake a Leg’ has a Blues vibe that increases in speed, punctuated with pauses that allows Westwood to show just how good his vocal control is. I loved the jazz like jam in the middle. The Bodega crowd is jumping.

Stevie thanks the other bands for playing tonight, the crowd show their thanks too. “I want to see The Bodega shake as everyone has a good time” he flicks his hair back and it’s, ‘Let Go’ is taken from ‘Kiss The Sky’ it has a dirty, sleazy bar room sound.

Played with swagger and confidence, we get treated to great solo by Rob G, it pick’s you up and gives you a good shake. The impressive array of rings on Stevie’s fingers are sparkling as much as the glitterball hanging above the crowd. ‘Too Much Of A Good Thing’ again from ‘Kiss The Sky’ has a blues/rock sound to it, a real feel happy track, a ‘got to dance along to’ song, drummer Drewry on backing vocals adds great support.

“After two years of waiting, thank you all for sticking with us” a heartfelt message from Stevie, applauded by the rest of the band. Next, it’s the 1968 Edwin Starr cover ‘Twenty-Five Miles’, we see another great Rob G lead break and driving riffs, it has Stevie spinning on the spot, Michael Bailey powers the track along, it feels like we’ve covered twenty-five miles in two minutes. We loved it.

Laughing, Stevie mentions the small stage and that they keep bumping into each other. Looking at them it’s a bit like the old game, a square of numbered tiles you slide around to put in the correct order. Stevie, tambourine in hand and it’s ‘Waste My Time’ off of ‘Half Way Home’ a nice long intro consisting of quick beats, then it is joined with an equally quick vocal, this gets the crowd jumping again.

I Get High’ from ‘Kiss The Sky’ “The brand-new album, released 18 months ago”. As Westwood narrates the vocal, the band accompany with harmonies, this is a song that emphasises the range and blend of vocals within the band. A bluesy solo from Rob G, the rest of the band re-join one at a time, building to a thunderous finish. Impressive, I’d bet this would be superb done acoustically.

‘You Can Save Me’ from ‘Kiss The Sky’ has a Southern Rock/Blues feel to it, a slower number, mellow and soothing, a crystal-clear vocal from Westwood, Rob G’s solo shakes you from your gentle rocking to and fro in your chair on the veranda. Bailey introduces ‘Hand In My Pocket’ the 1995 Alanis Morissette song, with a funk style riff. But it’s not long before we’re rocking, it’s fast, it’s clever.

It’s played with respect for the original, and shows great ability in making an extremely well known and successful song, sound like one of their own. ‘Come A Little Closer’ opening track from ‘Kiss The Sky’, riff laden intro, with Drewry given the chance to smash his skins, high tempo, good old-fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll, Glendinning shows a fine piece of fret work. The crowd are bouncing and clapping.

Stevie tips his hat to the crowd, “We’ll pretend to leave, then play one more, you’ll all shout for one last song, and we’ll play one…got it? Now give me a Yee haw.

‘Outlaw’ taken from ‘Truth Be Told’, almost a ballad with emotion and passion, clever tempo changes orchestrated by the rhythm section, Westwood tells a great story. Glendinning’s solo is moody and hypnotic. Stevie unclips his mic and points it at the crowd for some Wo-ah’s. Nottingham responds. My track of the night.

200 people shout “One last song!”

‘99%’ from ‘Truth Be Told’ is arguably their anthem, a real sing-a-long. Bailey has a bass break that shakes your teeth. The perfect way to end their set, and follow the old adage of ‘Send them home happy’. Boys, looking around the crowd in The Bodega, you have definitely done that tonight.

Setlist: Lift Your Head Up, Good on Me (Jeans Song), Strut, Dressed to Kill, Let Go, Too Much of a Good Thing, Twenty-Five Miles, Waste My Time, I Get High, Can You Save Me, Hand in My Pocket, Come a Little Closer, Outlaw, 99%

Not only have I been at a Rock concert tonight, but I also feel like I’ve been to a party. So, to the bands that have performed here tonight, ‘Thanks for the invitation, I can’t wait to do it again”.

Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

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