Alfie Templeman Live In Nottingham review EJ Scanlan
Alfie Templeman is currently one of the biggest trending names in the British Indie Music scene. From four incredibly successful EPs to becoming the runner up of the 2021 Prospect Music Award to his sensational mini-album “Forever Isn’t Long Enough” being released last year, Alfie has had a big few years, and the multi-instrumentalist’s journey is about to get even bigger with his debut album “Mellow Moon” coming out at the end of May.
The first time I saw Alfie live was in 2019 when he was just 16 years old when he supported Sports Team at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, the venue he’s headlining tonight, and he was fantastic. He had a brilliant live presence and was incredibly engaging, even encouraging the 450 capacity crowd to start a successful mosh pit, something that is unheard of for support acts (and I can confirm – that mosh pit was awesome), and tonight I expect the same thing, only bigger. Alfie’s fan base has grown considerably in two and a half years and he has gotten more critical attention. Templeman, now 19, has matured as an artist and will undoubtedly give an excellent live performance.
Now before I begin my full review, it’s important to note that the sound mixing throughout the entirety of tonight’s set was absolutely abysmal, some of the worst I’ve ever heard for a headline show. The terrible mixing resulted in me not being able to hear specific vocal parts of the set at all, and as around a quarter of the set was brand new material that hasn’t been released yet, my review of those songs is incredibly patchy and not up to par. After looking further into the issue (I spoke to a venue manager that I know very well), Alfie’s team did bring in their own sound engineer and the venue did not provide this, so I do place the blame of this issue on the production crew, and this has impacted the show as a whole, and my critique of this part of the show I will not place down to a technical issue, because it could have been avoided.
The crowd screams as Alfie and his band come on as he says: “Hey guys, I’m Alfie, and things are about to get Shady…” and goes into, conveniently, “Shady”. From the very beginning, the energy in the room and on the stage was unreal, but the main standout here was the instrumental section of the song towards the end, which boiled down to some sensational band chemistry from everyone on stage. It was a great opening to the show. Going into “Who Am I”, we hear a more diverse sound coming from Alfie and his band, but is definitely an anthem for basic white indie bitches (which isn’t an insult, as I’m secretly a confessed basic white indie bitch!) but this didn’t matter. Why? Because the sound works! The crowd were loving it, Templeman was performing it very well and it was certainly a vibe, with wonderful chemistry from the whole band.
As Alfie takes a sip of beer (alcoholic this time), he goes into “Stop Thinking (About Me)”, and this is where the problems begin to show, as the lighting went to green and purple, reminiscent of Roly-Mo from the iconic CBeebies show, The Fimbles (I just unlocked a serious memory for you there!), but that lighting didn’t work here, at all. Templeman’s stage presence was lacking for the first time here too, but even more worryingly, it sounded like he forgot his words and was mumbling through a lot of the performance (which wasn’t down to the mixing this time). Having said that, the band chemistry was once again great here, but Alfie randomly stopped midway through to introduce the drummer, which would have been fine, but not midway through a performance unless it’s the drummer’s big moment to shine, which this was not. The finale to the track was great though, which despite Alfie’s occasionally off vocals, was fantastic to watch, especially the band’s chemistry, those guys were really tight tonight.
“Candy Floss” is the first of Alfie’s new songs to come from his debut album “Mellow Moon”, and the instrumentation on this track was fantastic. It’s such a shame that I could barely hear Templeman’s vocals here, so I can’t judge the overall song, but I can tell you that the lighting was solid and that the instrumentation was excellent. This is then followed by “Film Scene Daydream”, my 15th favourite song of 2021, and I was beyond excited to hear it live. The song is incredibly atmospheric, captures the vibes of the lyrics perfectly and transports you to an American coming of age movie. However, I’m gutted to report that live, this isn’t the case. On stage, it felt like they were playing a demo version of the track before they added everything else in, and it sounds like a shitty cover of the original. It was bland, and it wasn’t particularly great to see. The guitar replacing the saxophone was also a missed opportunity. Alfie is an incredible multi-instrumentalist, and I’m incredibly disappointed that he hasn’t shown any of this in his set thus far, but this would have been the perfect opportunity to get out the saxophone and for Alfie to play it. He didn’t, and so the overall disappointment of that, alongside the terrible mixing made this out to be a pathetic attempt at recreating an iconic song.
Alfie then explains that the last time he was in Nottingham is when he supported Sports Team on tour, as he and the band then played a small section of the band’s brilliant track, “Fishing” from their 2020 Mercury Prize nominated album, “Deep Down Happy”, which was a lovely tribute performed expertly. Going into “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody” however, it was the complete opposite. The guitars sounded so mismatched, the issues that I previously mentioned for “Film Scene Daydream” are amplified here, it felt amateur, and again, the terrible mixing also had a part to play. Having said that, the crowd loved it, they sang along to every lyric and resulting in the first mosh pit of the evening, with the finale being breathtaking to watch. The instrumentation of the band in that final section was incredible, it concluded by Templeman saying “Nottingham, you fucking legends”, adding to the emotion of what’s just happened, making this one of the big highlights of the night, despite it not being performed as efficiently as expected. The second new song of the night is the title track of Templeman’s debut album, “Mellow Moon” and was performed very well despite the dire sound mixing, which I know wasn’t his fault. The crowd were once again loving it, clapping away, and the finale sounded fantastic too, despite the basic indie sound it has.
At this point, Alfie played two new songs, “Leaving Today” and “Like An Animal”, and I can’t really write a review on these because the mixing was so bad that it would be unfair to give a full critique of both songs. What I can say is that I did have the same notes for both tracks: They sound incredibly basic, there were some off vocals, but the live chemistry and performance of the band were brilliant. It would be incredibly unfair to fully analyse these to both Alfie and his management and you reading this, as, as I’ve said, I couldn’t hear a thing as the vocals were so quiet.
“We’re gonna get a bit funky now”, Alfie says as he performs “Circles”, one of my personal favourite songs by him, and despite the dire mixing, was performed with a lot of energy and provoking a massive mosh pit. It was great, it just would have been greater if the sound engineer had been better. Going into “Colour Me Blue”, the last of the new songs Templeman was performing tonight, I beg the question: does he want to be a Smurf? It’s funny as even though I initially thought of this as a joke, the song did genuinely sound like something you would find in one of the Katy Perry Smurf films, but I don’t mean this as an insult, because the song is actually pretty good. The live presence was amazing, which had great energy running through it and some fantastic instrumentation from everyone involved.
“Obvious Guy” is next to be performed and I didn’t have much to say here either as the mixing was that dreadful, but from the little that I heard from Templeman’s microphone, his vocals sounded great, and the band had great energy too. That energy continued through “Wait, I Lied”, and at this point, the sound had near enough gone and I could see the entire band was getting really pissed off from this now, but I was beyond impressed that they carried to the amazing level they did despite this. The crowd were on point here too, screaming along with the lyrics and fully living in the moment, not letting this situation get them down.
The biggest surprise of the night came when Alfie and the band covered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and absolutely killed it. It was only short but it was the big highlight of the night for me. His bassist took on the vocals here and it worked very very well. I don’t like covers unless you give something slightly different or if you can pull it off (ideally both), and these guys did this song justice. Kurt Cobain would be proud. Now we have the lead single to “Mellow Moon” titled “3D Feelings” (said as Three Dimensional Feelings) and this was great. There was a real energy in the room and it shows off what this album is going to be like, and it makes me beyond excited for its release on 27th May.
It took Alfie just 30 seconds to return to the stage for an encore, and he began with his latest single “Broken”, which is a song I love! Live, the songs atmospheric, gorgeous to listen to and with the sound issues mostly sorted (finally!), this is what the entire show was missing this entire time. Templeman then finished his set with the funky “Happiness In Liquid Form” and despite those sound issues still being there, the atmosphere in the crowd was undeniable. It was a fun yet energetic way to end the show.
I don’t really know what to say about tonight’s performance if I’m being honest; besides the fact that I feel incredibly sorry for Alfie and the band, as despite them giving this show their all, their terrible sound mixing was absolutely atrocious and ruined the atmosphere for a lot of people. You can tell that they did a great show, but it didn’t transpire because the mixing was terrible, and that, especially coming from their own engineer, is completely unforgivable. There was a severe lack of Templeman’s multi-instrumentalism in the set, no attempt to play anything else other than his one guitar, which was disappointing, other instruments that he could have played were done via a Sample Pad which was a wasted opportunity, and songs that really add that atmosphere on record lacked it in execution. I’m incredibly disappointed about tonight’s performance because the show could have been fantastic, but due to some unacceptable mistakes, it wasn’t. Having said that, the band chemistry was mostly brilliant and I know that without those sound issues, it wouldn’t have been a five-star review, but it would have been a memorable night, for all of the right reasons instead of what we ended up with.
- Shady [Forever Isn’t Long Enough]
- Who Am I [Don’t Go Wasting Time]
- Stop Thinking (About Me) [Sunday Morning Cereal]
- Candy Floss [Mellow Moon]
- Film Scene Daydream [Forever Isn’t Long Enough]
- Fishing [Sports Team cover]
- Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody [Forever Isn’t Long Enough]
- Mellow Moon [Mellow Moon]
- Leaving Today [Mellow Moon]
- Like An Animal [Mellow Moon]
- Circles [Don’t Go Wasting Time]
- Colour Me Blue [Mellow Moon]
- Obvious Guy [Happiness In Liquid Form]
- Wait, I Lied [Forever Isn’t Long Enough]
- Smells Like Teen Spirit [Nirvana cover]
- 3D Feelings [Mellow Moon]
- Broken [Mellow Moon]
- Happiness In Liquid Form [Happiness In Liquid Form]