The Mic Awards 2019: Nottingham Gig of the Year

Winner: Two Door Cinema Club @ Rescue Rooms

When British indie-rock favourites unexpectedly turn up to play an intimate 450-capacity venue in support of a new record, and then play a sixteen-track career-spanning set for the measly price of £13, you make sure you attend. Ben Standring sums up The Mic’s Nottingham Gig of the Year for 2019. Photography from Tom Morley (Follow him on Instagram @tamvisuals now) 

It has become increasingly popular in recent years for artists to offer the opportunity to fans to receive a sneak preview of a new album in the intimate setting of a local record store or small venue. Many artists have treated Nottingham’s music fanatics to an array of stripped-back, vibrant shows in the last twelve months, with The Amazons, Sundara Karma, DMAs, Marika Hackman, Turnover, The Japanese House and many more all gracing Rough Trade’s famous loft. The city has been offered some brilliant names in 2019, but when one of the nation’s most-revered modern indie-rock bands decided to come to town, with little warning and even less information as to what to expect, a hive of excitement instantly reached boiling point.

Two Door Cinema Club’s status as indie kingpins was cemented as early as 2012, when sophomore album Beacon was released. Despite a four year break and a shift to a more electronic-oriented outlook, the band returned in March 2019 with Talk, their first single from their fourth record False Alarm, details of which were announced in April. The Northern Ireland trio’s return to the frontline of alternative music in Britain was confirmed with a series of festival headline slot announcements, from Truck Festival to Y Not Festival. In preparation for the release of False Alarm on 21 June, the band announced a series of album release shows, including a date at the 450-capacity Rescue Rooms on Thursday 20th June, in correspondence with and organised by Rough Trade.

Rescue Rooms’ restricted width and spacious balcony makes the venue compact and concise than its capacity would suggest, and the arrival of the indie trio to celebrate their upcoming album sparked jubilation into an already joyous summer’s day. With tickets costing a mere £13, many fans anticipated a short set comprising predominately of new album tracks and a couple of older favourites, yet they couldn’t be more wrong as the trio rattled through a blistering sixteen-song set.

Whilst Talk, the first single from the new record, kicked proceedings off, Alex Trimble and co. chose only to play the four already-released tracks from the new record, with the rest of the set consisting of anthemic hits from across the band’s decade-spanning catalogue. Undercover Martyn, I Can Talk, Are We Ready (Wreck) and This Is the Life sparked fervour into an already shaken Nottingham crowd, before new favourite Dirty Air allowed Trimble’s newfound confidence to shine through. Donning a blue suit and neatly shaped sideburns, Trimble took to the mantle as commander-in-chief, leading the crowd singalong of Next Year before Bad Decisions infused a deeper groove into the crowd.

With the release of their fourth record a mere three hours away, the trio treated the Nottingham cohort to the first live performance of Once before launching into Changing of the Seasons and iconic favourite What You Know. From start to finish, the Rescue Rooms environment swept flailing limbs and sweating bodies into a hysteric mass before Something Good Can Work and Sun shaped off a startling occasion in one of Nottingham’s most loved and important venues. Nottingham has had the privilege of seeing numerous rising bands take Rescue Rooms’ stage by storm over 2019, with Fontaines D.C., Sports Team, Do Nothing, JAWS, Yonaka, Little Simz and many more all delivering stellar sets, but the arrival of a true national indie behemoth, playing a storming sixteen-song career-spanning show, takes the award for Nottingham Gig of the Year 2019.