Local talent Ady Suleiman lets us know What’s The Score as he performs a soulful reggae infused set to a sold out Bodega.
With Nottingham being such an important city in the UK’s music scene, it’s always nice when an artist comes home to do a show in the town which started it all for them. Ady Suleiman’s show was no different – the Bodega was absolutely packed. The atmosphere was so warm and friendly, and it was clear that lots of proud friends and people close to Ady had come by to see him play. As the support acts took to the stage, if felt as though we were all in someone’s living room at a secret, intimate house party.
The first (surprise) support act turned out to be Ady’s band mate and long-time friend Jay Alexzander. Though he struggled at times to capture the crowd, the last song of Jay’s set called “I Don’t Remember” (a ditty about how he and Ady used to go out during university and would get so blind drunk that the next day they couldn’t remember anything) seemed to resonate well. Jay is a strong talent with a great voice and is definitely one to watch.
Next up was the quietly confident, spirited Mahalia, a singer-songwriter who hails from Leicester. Talented and witty, she had the crowd mesmerised with her sweet lilting voice, and kept them stiches with her anecdotes. The highlight of her set came in the form of a song about dreams and growing up called “Matalan” (yes, really) which combined spoken word and acapella singing. It was a beautiful, unexpected lull which made everyone sit up and take notice. What made her performance all the more startling was the fact that she is only 17 years old (which she cleverly revealed in a story about how she had spent the whole of last year trying to procure a fake ID). If she’s this accomplished now, you can be sure to expect great things from her in the future.
Finally, the moment that everyone had been waiting for arrived – Ady was about to take to the stage. With a trumpeting fanfare from his six-piece band, he casually bounded onto the stage and went straight into his first song, “Why You Running Away”. His confident swagger, the curl of his lip as he sang his soulful tunes and his effortless dancing proved that he was incredibly comfortable up on the stage and reveling in the adoring gaze of the crowd. The energy in the room was electric.
Having released 2 Eps (This Is My EP and What’s The Score) Ady had plenty of material to draw upon for his slick, well-rehearsed set. Upbeat songs like “What’s The Score” went down a treat with the crowd, whilst some of his darker songs such as “Drink Too Much” highlighted his lyrical ability and soulful, raspy voice. The addition of a full band featuring guitar, trumpet, drums, bass, keyboard really helped to take his songs to the next level, and highlighted the ska and reggae influences behind his music. A particularly gorgeous moment was when he got the crowd to sing back to him during “Need Somebody To Love”, showing the incredible connection he had to them.
Ady’s lyrics showed that he just gets what it’s like to be a young person today – they were brutally honest reflections on relationships, feelings and daily life that clearly resonated with the crowd and showed off his own lyrical ability. Closing his set with the catchy yet philosophical “State of Mind” had everyone in Bodega singing along and getting their groove on.
All in all it was a fantastic night of live music which helped to cement Ady’s status as a rising star in Nottingham’s music scene. As 2016 fast approaches, the future is looking bright for this charismatic performer.
By Betty Owoo