Live Review: Clean Cut Kid @ Bodega (28/10/16)
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It’s the first night of a Halloween weekend, in Nottingham, and local hero Jake Bugg is playing the city’s most iconic venue.
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For any band’s tour to visit on the same night, there’s potential for disaster. Yet, melodic pop outfit, Clean Cut Kid, rightfully managed to pack out the Bodega.
Clay bought the party right from Leeds as the opening set. Donning a leather jacket as a stamp of confidence and possessing all the charm of a legendary front-man, the entire band were fiercely focused.
With a rock star swagger about them, they worked the stage and the crowd with sultry moves and flirting eyes. Firing through their already-established fan favourites, ‘Sun Dance’, ‘Honest’ and ‘Nothing Happened’, their infectious blend of sharp electronics and breathy vocals won over the crowd.
How do you know your hidden secret of a band is no longer that? The guy next to you is bragging he’s met the bassist. Saul, you’ve made it.
Whether it’s Clean Cut Kid’s bright and ironically cool appearance, their obvious chemistry on stage or their deliciously sweet oddball pop, there is so much to love about them.
Folksy guitars and twanged vocals make the band’s stories come alive performed live.
Pleading, begging and declaring; obvious changes in tones washed over the crowd’s enthusiasm to sing alongside front-man, Mike Halls. Though, nothing could overpower the harmonies between he and wife, Evelyn. Songbird-like, it’s these sweet moments that define them in recent single, ‘Make Believe’, emotive ode, ‘Jean’, and softer ‘Paper Heart’.
Asking with a cheeky grin, "Can you fucking understand me?", the Scousers’ chatting between songs strangely only added to the lemonade fizzling excitement that lit the room.
Despite the band singing their deepest emotions, their electric arrangements and high energy delivery provided a cathartic release. Sweating out the past with grooves (‘We Used To Be In Love’) and arm waving in time to the urgency (‘Pick Me Up’), before finishing with a healthy dose of ‘Vitamin C’, the band conducted carnage on stage.
Even Ross Higginson on drums received an appreciative scream for wearing a Bruce Springsteen tee.
Debuting tracks from the forthcoming full length, Felt, the band performed with confidence and excitement; tight, with wickedly fast tunes. Songs whose recordings can’t be found online, ‘Brother Of Mine’ and ‘Evelyn’ (a love song that had everybody swooning), had the hardcore fans knowing every word.
This is the best way to experience Clean Cut Kid. Grinning in a sweatbox, crammed tight, subject to eye contact and covered in Babe Magnet (the band’s homemade record label) tattoos.
Catch them now before the academies swallow them up.
The 'We Used To Be In Love' EP is out now