The atmosphere was buzzing. The lights were dimmed low. The soft glimmers of the cracking bulbs as everyone cosily slouched on the sofas and window ledges of The Lacehouse, was perfect for the treat of a night we were all in for. This charity gig, organised by The University of Nottingham’s very own UNICEF UK society pulled through absolutely perfectly, raising them over a whopping £600.
First up was Freddie Scott. New to the scene of live performance, he started off the night nicely with an acoustic version of ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley. There was something about this guy which got you a bit tingly and in the mood to see what he’d play next. He went through not to disappoint, with a few original songs ‘The Girl from Brighton Pier’, and ‘Blame it on You’ which showcased his one man one guitar vibe perfectly. I was thoroughly impressed at how good he was for a newcomer to playing in front of an audience. He ended his set with a body swaying cover of a mashup of ‘Get Lucky’ which he had stated he had only finished today superbly, and an original piece, ‘Sunny Day’. Freddie is definitely one to watch, and I’d love to hear more of his work soon.
Next to hit the stage were daring duo, Xavi and Imi; their harmonies fitted perfectly together like jigsaw pieces in a muddled puzzle box. What I liked about these two, were the fact despite them doing covers, that they weren’t doing generic well-known songs, but songs which suited their voices and tones. They started of with a beautiful cover of ‘Desperate’ which gave me a sense of romanticism in their songs to come. A few songs later, a familiar cover of KT Tunstall’s ‘Stoppin’ the Loving’ just made me tap my fingers to the guitar strums and on point high pitched tune of Imi‘s voice. The ended it with a fast-paced version of ‘Jack Rabbit’ which was a delightful end to a lovely set.
Oliver James Shaw’s variance in music genres in his covers was interesting, how he pulled off each song with his guitar and bluesy voice. He started of the night scatting with every strum to ‘Gold Digger’ which really got the crowd going. Shaking his head throughout as he got really into it was really refreshing, as it’s not every day when you see a acoustic cover of a rap-esq song. He then went onto a few songs later cover ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone, which was breathless to say the least. Getting the crowd into awe and a bit of a laugh, he went onto do a unique take on ‘Then I got High’ which left us all amused, as he fed into my personal favourite, ‘Lonely Boy’ by The Black Keys. He ended on a quaint rendition of ‘Heartbeats’ by José Gonzáles, which made all the couples in the room sway in a dreamlike fashion.
To kick of the night’s foot stampingly Ben Howard-esq set, came George Holroyd. He captivated everyone with a head bopping version of ‘Come Together’. Having just recently released his debut EP, Peru, and playing around venues in Nottingham such as The Bodega and Jamcafé, his music has become locally, and for a good reason. His husky distinctive tone, almost traditional like, made you want to just grab a lover from the streets to take to a barn and line-dance. ‘Howl’, ‘Seven Million Songs’ and ‘Go’ showed us the soothing side of this Notts lad. Everyone was standing up, swaying in-sync to the ambience he had created. He ended on a lively note with a version of ‘Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes’ which set the mood for the next act.
Cheshire and The Cat concluded the wonderful night, with a set full of excitement and energy, This really got everyone on their feet moving and shaking to the jazzy sax and trumpets. With hits like ‘Milk in the Morning’ and ‘Countdown’, their new take on swingy ska vibes was something original.. something we don’t hear often in the sea of Indie and House music currently dominating the scene. Everyone got up onto their feet as they carried on entertaining for the roaring crowd.
This definitely was one of the best show closers I had seen, and overall this gig was worth every penny to this life-changing charity. Well done UNICEF at UoN.
By Gabriella Ahmed