The Bodega is an intimate place. With a stage that barely rises above the floor, it’s a hall that barely surpasses the size of your archetypal living room. This gives your typical gig-goer the ideal setting to see bands without having to muscle past the larger types and struggle to catch a site of the musicians they love. Therefore I am happy to be able to see one of this years most exciting bands before they outgrow these smaller and much-loved venues.
It is the second time I’ve been to Nottingham when Chapel Club have stopped over to play. The previous occasion was the Dot to Dot festival; an event that often highlights many of the forthcoming years acclaimed bands. They packed out the Trent SU that day and only a few weeks subsequent to the release of their debut LP Palace, bring a similar mass of bodies into Nottingham’s Bodega Social Club.
‘Surfacing’ kicks things off; a steady bassline and shuddering kick and snare beat develop this monster while Lewis Bowman’s broody vocals reverberate many a joyous lyric, “bodies swinging in the sycamore tree” being a brilliantly miserable example.
Momentum is maintained as album favourite ‘White Knight Position’ screams into play with its Tokyo Police Club-esque widdly guitar squealing triumphantly. This is quickly followed by ‘Blind’ and previously released tracks ‘Roads’, ‘Bodies’ and personal highlight ‘Widows’, taken from their Wintering EP.
As we promptly reach the latter stages of the performance, the attentive members of the Bodega are once again grabbed by the scruff of the neck for a riotous rendition of ‘Five Trees’ before the encore; Bowmen commands the gaze as he gracefully decorates his vocals in amongst the raucous that his band mates orchestrate.
It’s a tough one to call with Chapel Club, for all the cynics calling out for obvious comparisons with Morrisey and the similarly gloomy White Lies they could be seen as unoriginal or uninspired, but it’s their manic punk-ish moments which give them this edginess and added intrigue. They can deliver the gloom, but can make us dance at the same time.
White Knight Position
O Maybe I
All the Eastern Girls