Looking around at the audience, a range of all ages and personalities stood eagerly waiting for Oh Wonder to step onto the intimate stage of The Bodega. With support act Rukhsana Merrise’s cheeky and charming attitude previously getting the crowd hyped for a great night, you could already see the anticipation growing an hour before the headliners were due to play.
As Josephine and Anthony finally stepped onto the stage, the once quietly patient crowd suddenly morphed into cheering fans. Being the bands first tour with their debut album, the utter joy on their faces when the audience recited back the lyrics to their opening song ‘Livewire’ was incredibly evident. And wow, did they sing back! After playing two songs the humble duo Josephine and Anthony introduced themselves “Hello Nottingham” – that was all that was needed from co-lead singer Anthony to make the crowd scream once more.
With something I can only describe as an organic, genre defying sound, Oh Wonder have managed to blend beautiful ballads with a gothic undertone and hints of dubstep, funky sounds of nature and much heavier bass that is present on the album.
“Last time I played in this room, there was only 6 people – so it’s amazing to see you all here” pronounced Anthony. It is clear both musicians have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are today. Exchanging tales of past experiences of Nottingham, Josephine giggled while explaining that the last time she was in Nottingham, she had gotten beaten up and had to hide in the toilets of Pizza Hut and wait for the police. “There’s no blood on my face yet – so that’s a great start!!!” she proclaimed. Who knew that as well as a gig the crowd would also be getting a hint of stand up comedy?
Continuing their set with songs such as ‘Drive’ and my personal favourite ‘Dazzle’, Oh Wonder continued to escalate the friendly and fun ambiance further. After playing ‘Body Gold’, the bands first ever song to write and upload online, it was clear that their music had formed uncontrollable actions within the crowd. The XX-esque vibes and Florence style dance moves the band provided were returned with constant ‘woops’, voices of ‘YES’ and lots of clapping and dancing: Oh Wonder definitely know how to get a crowd going.
Oh Wonders ability to captivate an audience was evident through the refreshing lack of mobile phones that were present. Apart from a couple of pictures or a video as memorabilia, the crowd didn’t want to miss a second of the performance and remained intensely throughout. Part of this may be due to the personal feel the band created within The Bodega; Josephine constantly smiled at any crowd members eyes she caught. It would seem that the wall which so many bands have during a live performance is completely non-existent here.
Having a range of upbeat feel-good songs mixed with softer nostalgic tracks, the set list for the show provided something for everyone. With catchy riffs paired with great lyrics and an ambient vibe, Oh Wonder seem to have created the perfect balance between two very different styles of music; the constant change of mood music was illustrated through an eye-catching lights display within their signature logo ‘OW’.
Finishing off their performance with their single ‘Technicolor beat’, there was an air of upset that the gig was coming to an end. “Thank you so much Nottingham, you do not understand how amazing this has been for us!” “WE LOVE YOU! YOU’RE AMAZING” screamed a loving fan, “No, we love you guys!!!!” Josephine shouted back; it really did seem like the night was the start of a blossoming relationship between the fans in the room and the band. I for one know that I will now be following the bands every move.
From being beaten up, to playing to 6 people, to playing their 17th ever gig in front of the most captivated, in awe audience, I’m pretty sure the next time I see Oh Wonder live there will be an even bigger family of Oh Wonder lovers. For me the night was 10/10 – make sure you check them out!