Proving to be a rising inspiration in the world of hip-hop, Marlow recently took to the stage at Nottingham's Bodega. Dominic Allum reviews.
Halfway through a much needed second week of freshers, we weave in and out of the packed Nottingham streets, as we make our way to the opening performance of Marlowe’s long overdue UK tour. Taking the scenic route, we decide to stop off at Rescue Rooms for a couple of pints. With the quiz in full swing, the only answer I shamefully manage to contribute is the real name of Puff Daddy. We take this as a sign to leave, swapping one in-house lager for another, as we prop ourselves up against the Bodega bar. Nodding our heads to the DJ kicking things off, we try to enjoy the sounds of Jurassic 5 whilst a drunk guy proceeds to call me Otis for 10 minutes.
''Maintaining high energy levels throughout, he delivers each word like he’s saying it for the first time, gliding in and out of the lights that envelop him''
Shifting to the sofas at the back of the room, I take stock of the crowd slowly filling the room; a varied group, it predominantly comprises students, 90’s hip-hop old boys and several people that I’m convinced truly believe they are the real slim shady. We move to the front of the crowd, placing ourselves front and centre as the duo take the stage.
Made up of Seattle-based producer L’Orange and North Carolina based rapper Solemn Brigham, the duo known as Marlowe have been slowly but rightfully making a name for themselves in the hip-hop community, releasing two exquisite albums in the space of three years. Both of them also arrived on tour off the back of respectively great solo albums, with Brigham releasing his debut solo record only a few days before the gig took place. However, it’s the Marlowe tracks that kick off the show, and as the lights dim, there’s no better place to start than Lost Arts – the first track that announced Marlowe to the world. Arriving onto the stage full of energy, Brigham doesn’t miss a beat, reeling off lyrics with a charismatic confidence that assures all eyes remain firmly fixed upon him.
Hip-hop is notoriously a genre that can be underwhelming live. But, in the case of Marlowe, this is far from true. As L’Orange works his magic, curating beats from the shadows at the back of the stage, the rest of the floor is given to Brigham, and over the course of the night he makes sure to cover every inch of it. Maintaining high energy levels throughout, he delivers each word like he’s saying it for the first time, gliding in and out of the lights that envelop him.
Brigham proves to make excellent company all evening, engaging with the crowd about his love of the city’s nickname ‘Notts’, and dedicating tracks to the weed smokers and mothers in the audience. Revealing that this is his first ever gig outside of America, he couldn’t be made more welcome, as the Nottingham crowd shower the duo with loving responses. Following a stellar rendition of Future Power Sources, Brigham turns to call-and-response, as an echo of “Marlowe! Marlowe!” reverberates around the room.
Following a brief interlude with a track from his solo album, Brigham closes the set with a speech about creativity. An inspiration to anyone in any field of art, he acknowledges that it can be hard to always be in the right mood to write lyrics or make music, but maintains that the greatest achievement is just pursuing the ideas that are close to your heart, and that you are passionate about. Do that crazy idea that’s on your mind. Make that project you’ve always wanted to make.
Written by: Dominic Allum
Edited by: Amrit Virdi
Featured image and in-article images and videos courtesy of Dominic Allum. No changes made to these images. Permission to use granted to The Mic.