Live Review: The Rhythm Method @ The Bodega
Coming off the back of excellent debut album ‘How Would You Know I Was Lonely?’, London duo The Rhythm Method deliver a stellar set of homemade British pop anthems.
The Rhythm Method are a band who have always seemed to be just on the edge of mainstream attention, flirting with success but never staying long enough in the spotlight to cause too much disturbance. Despite vocal appreciation from the likes of Elton John, Suggs and Chris Difford, it seems the duo (made up of brothers in arms Joey Bradbury and Rowan Martin) have not yet quite received the recognition their unique take on indie Britpop deserves. However, as those in attendance at The Bodega on a surprisingly warm Tuesday night can surely confirm, this is clearly an imbalance in the world of music that needs to be corrected.
The evening itself began with an accomplished set from local Notts band Sancho Panza, and although there may have been more people taking part in the weekly music quiz downstairs, the 5-piece remained unfazed (excluding a minor belt malfunction), delivering a selection of songs that proved both lively and refreshingly inventive in a genre that remains so overcrowded.
'Despite vocal appreciation from the likes of Elton John, Suggs and Chris Difford, it seems the duo have not yet quite received the recognition their unique take on indie Britpop deserves'.
As the time between bands passed by, slowly more fans filled the room, creating a turnout that, although certainly better than half an hour previously, still forced lead singer Bradbury to take part in some minor crowd control on his arrival in an attempt to create a more intimate atmosphere which his words could permeate. It actually worked surprisingly well, the empty spaces becoming less visible as they were pushed to one side.
Opening with album highlight Continental Breakfast, the live setup of the band becomes immediately clear; Martin provides backing vocals, instrumentation and irresistibly catchy beats from the safety of his side of the stage, whilst Bradbury – the entertainer, the performer, the showman – moves gracefully across the raised platform, towel around his neck, delivering modern day tales on gentrification, holiday resorts and slightly depressing pubs. Of course, he also caters for all the in-between-song chat, and it’s hard to keep your eyes anywhere else but firmly fixed on him for the entirety of the gig.
'Martin provides backing vocals, instrumentation and irresistibly catchy beats from the safety of his side of the stage, whilst Bradbury – the entertainer, the performer, the showman – moves gracefully across the raised platform'.
On initial inspection, The Rhythm Method might come across as a kind of deadpan version of Laurel and Hardy (or perhaps Penn & Teller would be more fitting, considering Martin doesn’t say a word). However, like the majority of unlikely duos, it is a match made in heaven. Martin is faultless in his delivery whilst Bradbury is on magnificent form; whether it's literally shushing the occasional chatter from the audience or commenting on the lack of dusting being done on The Bodega’s ceilings, he remains both provocative and captivating throughout - part stand-up comedian, part frontman.
As they race through Salad Cream and Ode2Joey, however, it is clear that the lead singer’s quick wit and humorous remarks are more than just a gimmick, with his extremely intelligent and honest lyrics portraying him as a true wordsmith of his generation.
Leaving the stage momentarily to showcase Martin’s talents on tender ballad Magic Hour, the frontman then returns once more to ask “who’s horny?” (a singular cheer from the crowd echoes back in response) before bursting into certified dancefloor banger Sex and the Suburbs. He follows this by taking time to ask the Nottingham crowd their favourite incarnation of Robin Hood and dedicating the next song to Kevin Costner.
A clear highlight of the night comes unsurprisingly from arguably the band's biggest single Something For The Weekend. Although Bradbury’s prologue that “it might be a Tuesday, but it’s the weekend somewhere in the world” may not be entirely factually correct, the sentiment remains the same, and they ensured no member of the crowd was left stationary.
As the end of the evening draws near, Bradbury takes time to plug some merch, limited though it may be (the band are only selling t-shirts in either Small or XL – the frontman offered the practical solution of putting it on a high wash if the latter is too big for you), before announcing “this is our last song, wink wink nudge nudge”, and launching into crowd singalong Local, Girl.
'It is clear that the lead singer’s quick wit and humorous remarks are more than just a gimmick, with his extremely intelligent and honest lyrics portraying him as a true wordsmith of his generation'.
Exiting the stage briefly, the band return to whistles and cheers for a final one-two of infectious, dance-floor filler Party Politics and last year’s world cup football anthem Chin Up – a track that, despite being ready made to be bellowed by a packed Wembley stadium, really didn’t get enough attention on its initial release. I’m reassured after the gig by Bradbury, however, that it will be getting a re-release next summer, accompanied by not only new lyrics but a master plan to get Crouchy in the video. For now, The Rhythm Method still remain highly undervalued, but if they keep giving performances as effortlessly entertaining as this, it won't be long until the big leagues come calling.