After a four-week break for the Easter holidays, The Mic was straight back to Acoustic Rooms held at Rescue Rooms every Monday night from 8pm until late, where a mixture of local acts and guest headliners perform all night long, filling the venue with music and talent.
May saw three weeks’ worth of great performances including five featured artists as well as the regular artists that we’ve come to know and love. The first guest was Homeless Shakespeare who usually performs with his backing band ‘The Pigeon Theatre,’ but for this performance he was only accompanied by his bass player Cam. They described their style as Gypsy Swing mixed with rap and they frequently paused their songs mid flow to interject some much-appreciated humour and crowd interaction.
Their Charleston-style number ‘Gyp-Hop Style’ got the crowd energised and singing along with their easy to learn lyrics and catchy upbeat rhythms, and another highlight of their set was their only cover of the night – ‘Without Me’ by Eminem, but reinvented in their unique style and sprinkled with their own humour and sarcasm throughout. The performance was a welcome twist on the macabre ballads that can often fill some open-mic nights, but this definitely filled the room with positivity and ensured every member of the audience were moving and dancing to the music.
The guest artist for the following week were The Ultraviolet, a four-piece pop punk band from Lincolnshire. They have supported bands including Lonely the Brave and Dreamstate, and have recently been featured on BBC Introducing Lincolnshire as well as the Spotify playlist ‘All New Rock.’ Their set was really stripped back, an interesting treat for fans who are used to a heavier and more energetic performance. They still conveyed their pop-punk roots and emotion-packed lyrics and a particular highlight was a performance of one of their more popular songs ‘Lost a Friend.’
The last Acoustic Rooms in May saw not only one featured artist, but three, who’s band members were a mixture of artists from each group. The first was Monty Taft who played a collection of his own songs accompanied by his acoustic guitar and was joined by his friend Pete on trumpet for ‘Delight’ which he released two years ago, as well as an additional performance of ‘Sacrifice’ with Tom and Raul from the next act up. His song ‘Acrylic’ stood out due to the energy and intelligence behind the lyrics.
Next up on the featured artists were Raul and the Rockets, an indie-rock four piece with a heavier sound, and their performance even included a full drum-kit which is unusual for the more traditional open mic nights. They maintained high energy throughout their performance but took their set back to the roots of an acoustic night for their last song, which was calm and stripped back, returning to the more traditional open mic set up.
Finally, the last featured act of the entire May Acoustic Rooms line-up were Karkosa, an alternative-rock five piece from Birmingham who have sold out venues in South Korea after being together for less than 12 months. They performed a high impact set drawing in sounds from bands such as The Amazons, Kasabian and Royal Blood, and ensured the crowd were moving, clapping and singing along to their songs. They hyped up the audience and when they ended with song ‘Sheffield,’ they made sure that everybody joined in with the lyric “I will never let you go.”
The featured artists at Acoustic Rooms over this month have been great highlights of their individual nights, but also over the course of the month we have seen other amazing acts come to perform either for one-offs, or as regular faces coming down each week to practice new material and excite the crowd.
Regulars who we have seen this month include January Moonlight, who never fails to entertain the crowd with his angsty music and was joined by guitarist Brandon for one of his performances. Chris and Stella came down to a couple of nights and did a selection of covers of classic rock songs including a few Bowie tracks. Jalle also performed, demonstrating his usual high standard of singing and rapping, cleverly intertwined to create a detailed performance that always captures the audience.
A few other highlights that only gave the one performance this month included the frontman from Hip-Hop outfit Exchecker, who performed a couple of new songs as well as a throwback to ‘Matters Matters’ which he released in August last year. Exchecker has had great success in his hometown of Northwich and is looking to break into the Nottingham music scene, so expect to see him and his cheeky but skilfully mastered lyrics around the city more in future.
Also, The Marcus Reeve Brothers brought their bongos and guitars up to the stage as well as some good-humoured jokes including clarifying to the crowd on a few occasions that they weren’t actually brothers at all. Their sound was a welcome change to the night and it’s always great fun when acts bring bongos to lighten the mood and add a bit of positive energy to the night.
The final highlight of the month was Joey Collins coming down to the open mic night before his headline performance at Dot to Dot. Joey used the open mic as a warmup and treated the crowd to a small, intimate show ahead of the award-winning festival that took place the following weekend.
Seeing bigger acts coming to practice before their larger shows is not uncommon at Acoustic Rooms and is a great way to catch more local talent in a more intimate venue ahead of larger shows and events in the city. Yet again, Acoustic Rooms failed to disappoint with a large variety of both local acts and those travelling from further afield to impress the audience and start the week off well. The Mic will be covering Acoustic Rooms until nearly the end of June before The University of Nottingham goes on summer break, but it is guaranteed to be another month packed with talented artists. Some of the guest artists to look out for include Callum Kerrigan, Christian Smith and Vincent Knight and with happy hour at the bar all night, it’s definitely worth checking out.
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