The Big Moon: Live In Nottingham
The Big Moon are back in Nottingham after two and a half years away, performing at Rough Trade Nottingham, playing songs from the band’s third album, Here Is Everything, which is available now at all good record stores and streaming services. This is my sixth time seeing the band live, the first being at Leeds Festival in 2017 when the band had just been nominated for the Mercury Prize and was one of the best acts of the weekend. I then saw them in London at the 2017 Mercury Prize ceremony and at the BBC Introducing Live 10th Anniversary event the same year. I then saw the band in Leicester supporting the legends that are Bombay Bicycle Club in 2020 and then in that same year, I attended their headline show at the Nottingham Contemporary, a weird choice of venue as the lighting technicians thought that switching theatrical lights on and off denoted strobe lighting (it did not). Every single time they perform, they always put on a hell of a show, and tonight, I expect no different.
Like most shows happening at any Rough Trade venue across the UK, this was an album release show, and I was expecting a stripped-back set with only a few songs from the new album and that’s it, but did we get that? Oh, no. We got a full-scale show with ten tracks performed, which was curated beautifully, showcasing the new album in its full glory but also included older songs too, and this was instantly great. The crowd got a full-scale set for the price of a CD or vinyl album, which was amazing! As Rough Trade is such an intimate venue, it felt as if we saw a new side to the band, their banter was hilarious, their love for what they were doing resonated with the crowd, and they gave a full-scale show in an intimate venue, it was condensed perfectly but without any loss of outcome.
The four-piece had some excellent band chemistry throughout, they were confident and extremely formidable (I just had to – sorry!). You could tell these guys are the perfect people to form a band together, and it showed. Frontwoman and guitarist Jools Jackson and Soph Nathan frequently played together side by side, showing pure love for the show, the band and each other, it was wonderful to see. The band’s instrumentation was sublime too, with drummer Fern Ford playing perfectly throughout the show, as did bassist, Celia Archer. What I really enjoyed was that during the band’s performance of This Love, Jackson perfectly captured the string instrumentation on the original mastered recording and played it on a synthasiser, re-creating nearly exactly the same sound on that as what was recorded on the song, honestly, it was brilliant!
The vocal ability of the whole band was absolutely exquisite. Every member sang in some form, and their voices blended perfectly together, with Jackson’s vocals being front and centre sounding just fantastic throughout, but it was bassist Celia Archer that had the strongest backing vocals out of everyone, I was absolutely blown away by her. This was probably helped with Archer being the front-woman of the British band, Gently Tender, an act I’m loving at the moment. The best of the band’s vocal abilities came towards the end of the set when they did an acapella version of Formidable, a version which astounded me. Performing acapella is always a very brave move, especially inside a venue well known for showing up mediocre vocalists, but their risk paid off and it was fantastic.
Some other big highlights from the show included the band’s wonderful stage presence, the fantastic setlist, as well as their performance of Trouble, that performance has given me a new love for the song. There isn’t much more to say because they were that incredible! Their finale of Your Light, the lead single from their 2020 sophomore album, Walking Like We Do was an incredible way to conclude the show. The euphoria that was inside the room, both on stage and in the audience felt like it could have rippled across the city of Nottingham because it was that powerful.
The Big Moon tonight provided us with one of the best live sets of the year. They had a setlist which was curated excellently, showcasing the very best of the band, as well as their new album, Here Is Everything, their vocals were sensational, they provided a full-scale show while still making the show feeling incredibly intimate and had some of the best band chemistry I’ve seen in a long time. The band have proven that they are one of the best acts in the UK right now, and this set is all the evidence you need. I urge you to go and see this band live, as I promise you won’t regret it.
You can read my review of Here is Everything – here
- Wide Eyes
- This Love
- Don’t Think
- 2 Lines
- Your Light