From my previous experiences, I have known not to come late to a gig. As I walked into the dark, grungy back room of Rescue Rooms, I could see that it was quite empty. All was to change quite soon, but this at least gave me the opportunity to wiggle near the front of the stage.
Having come once before to our beloved Bodega earlier this year following the release of this debut album, Sweet Disarray, his Nottingham fanbase was ever growing, and familiar to Dan Croll’s spectacular specs. Supported by Frankie Rudolph and Panama Wedding, who sounded like an electro version of Vampire Weekend, it was a good start to the night.
The crowd waited in anticipation, but as soon as the darkness dropped, the cheers began. The electronic slur of ‘In/Out’ started building up, which just made me want to sway and knock my head side to side. He went through classics from his album, like the cheeky ‘Home’ where he subtly hints at what not to do in his presence ‘..so if you ever come round to my house take your shoes off at the door/ ‘cause it’s impolite not to; you’ll be damaging my floor’. Dan Croll’s quite an entertainer on stage; so full of energy despite being midway through travelling around the country. However this didn’t really work to his advantage when he moved through the slower songs like ‘Thinking Aboutchu’ and ‘Can You Hear Me’ but nevertheless, this hopeless romantic’s efforts to capture our souls was well worth it.
Having travelled to South Africa a few months back, his surroundings inspired him to record some songs with the well-known Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Giving us a taster of them with ‘Hello My Baby’ gave his music a new light. Less hipster-friendly and more hip-shaking, which honestly is something I haven’t seen for a while in modern music. Nearing the end of the night, he said some of the few spoken words of the night, “This I think is the song which started it all off..” which we all knew was the cue for ‘From Nowhere’ to start echoing from the keyboard of his fellow comrade. He finally got the crowd singing along to every lyric, which I guess was a first for that night.
Overall, I think Dan could have had a bit more crowd interaction. With the one worded answers, and short, sweet smiles, the music definitely made up for the talking I guess. His echoing voice and band’s ability to flow across the room, captivated us all, and showcased us all why we paid to see him. ‘Sweet Disarray’ is truly an album worth buying, and it was worth seeing him live to capture the essence of those big, magnified glasses.
By Gabriella Ahmed