Last night was a special Acoustic Rooms celebration evening marking the 10th birthday of the acoustic night which has featured thousands of artists since it began ten years ago. The night promised free cake alongside the usual happy hour bar prices and some extra special acts to truly highlight the talent we have on the current Nottingham music scene.
The night kicked off when current Acoustic Rooms host Laurie Illingworth introduced the night and sang a couple of songs alongside his piano playing. He started with his own song and his voice immediately filled the venue and grabbed the attention of the audience, with many crowd members reaching for their phones so they could film. The second song was Laurie’s cover of ‘Dead Boys’ by Sam Fender which is stripped back and slowed down. Laurie gives the song extra force with his vocal style and his version rivals the original.
Next up were the start of the guest artists who had all been given half an hour slots to perform. Chloe Rogers began singing whilst playing her guitar and did a mixture of covers as well as her own songs in a bittersweet style which resembled a slightly darker Eliza Doolittle. Her penultimate song was her own and dedicated to her grandad who passed away last year and was very moving and then Chloe finished with her own version of ‘Melancholy Hill’ by Gorillaz in a slowed down and dramatic style which was barely recognisable as the original yet beautiful sung.
Alex Milne, another talented musician with a calm and sophisticated style of folk music, followed Chloe accompanied by her guitar. Alex performed original songs which had very powerful and emotive lyrics, as well as a couple of covers and again demonstrated the variety and talent currently around in Nottingham.
Next up was Adam Peter Smith who created a darker and broodier vibe in the venue. His music focused heavily on instrumental sections which added to the ambience, and he also had a great sense of humour between his songs. He finished his set with an original song that he had written about a tree as well as a perhaps unintentional quote from Michael Caine.
Making his acoustic rooms debut, Sam Heaton from Eyre Llew was next up performing alongside Laurie on piano. Speaking with Sam previously he had been unsure whether to perform at Acoustic Rooms but there was definitely no need to worry as his guitar and vocals not only added extra depth and texture to accompany Laurie, but when Sam took the spotlight himself his own voice captivated the audience. They ended with ‘Blood Bank’ by Bon Iver which Laurie had performed before previously, but Sam enhanced the performance and the two even added some crowd participation at the end.
There were still three special guest acts left and with such great performances already as well as the free cake making an appearance, it was shaping up to be a successful night. Mollie Ralph, who has recently released her debut EP as well as being featured on BBC introducing East Midlands, performed next. Mollie’s voice was another one to immediately grab the attention of the audience with a unique vocal sound. She started with a cover of ‘I Got Life’ by Nina Simone and then went on to cover ‘Back to Black’ from Amy Winehouse and ‘Toxic’ by Brittney Spears, all with her unique spin which suited her vocal style well. For her final song Mollie brought out previous performer Chloe Rogers for a duet of the classic Elvis song ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ which was a beautiful end to a strong performance. Mollie also revealed that her and Chloe were currently in the process of writing and recording an EP together so be sure to watch out for that.
The penultimate guest artist was Jonny Olley who recently performed at Acoustic Rooms alongside Tash Bird at the start of her acoustic tour. Jonny was joined by Laurie on keyboard and Tom Purwar on guitar and singing. The three performed a couple of songs together including one Jonny told us was based on when he lived next to Park Rec and got up to “Some naughty stuff” which got a laugh from the audience. After the first two songs, Laurie left Jonny and Tom to perform a few more including their original “Tender Trap” and “Liquid Love”. Jonny’s voice and style has an Ed Sheeran feel to it especially with his lyrical style and if you wanted to catch him performing then he will be supporting Eyre Llew on 25th April at The Bodega.
Finally, rescue rooms regular Jaque Seviour ended the night with a performance of covers and original songs. Jaque informed the crowd that he had been drinking since about four o’clock so take the performance with a pinch of salt, but that didn’t alter the quality of his set at all. He played his own version of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Funk Soul Brother’ as well as Tom Petty’s ‘Free Falling’ which the whole crowd ended up singing along too. He also went on to perform ‘The Pina Colada Song’ and a bit of Foo Fighter’s ‘All My Life’ and finished with the second Amy Winehouse song of the night ‘Valerie’. Jaque’s set showed great variety and demonstrated his range and vocal ability as well as his sense of humour and confidence in front of an audience.
Although that was the end of the special guest artists for the night, in true Acoustic Night fashion, the night ended with one last performance from a volunteer acoustic act who had actually been playing his harmonica accompanying various songs throughout the night from the crowd. He had a country feel to his music and ended the night on a high.
The night was a great success and was a well-deserved celebration of the talent and organisation of an Acoustic Rooms night every week for ten years. The night promises to continue to be a great platform for performers to either practice their new material or to impress crowds with well-know favourites. Acoustic nights are essential in the music scene to allow musicians to build their confidence and get their name out there, but also a brilliant way for people to go out and meet people with common interests and basically just have a good time together. The event was being filmed all night so be sure to look out for clips of the evening if you missed it, or if you went and want to look back on what was a great night.