Nottingham Rocks – Natalie Duncan, Nina Smith and Indiana – Theatre Royal – 22/9/12

All eyes are on Nottingham at the moment as its music scene continues to go national and the Nottingham rocks gig is simply more proof of what the city has to offer. The all-female line up of Indiana, Nina Smith and Natalie Duncan are tonight backed up by an orchestra in the fabulous Theatre Royal, an amazing setting for what will turn out to be an amazing gig. First up relative newcomer Indiana cuts a figure somewhere between Lana Del Rey and Marlene Dietrich and standing under a single spotlight begins her set with ‘Bound’. Now Saturday night home turf crowds with the addition of beer can be a rowdy bunch but the immensely respectful audience hang off her every word, never has the phrase ‘hear a pin drop’ been more apt. ‘Blind As I Am’ elicits the biggest cheer but for me her closing song is the most powerful of the set her remarkable voice cutting through the silence as the strings swell to a crescendo ‘it’s nothing you’ve said, nothing you’ve done, I want to hurt you just for fun’ her nerves, evident between the songs, banished in a commanding performance. Next up is Nina and her band will a much fuller sound in direct contrast to the raw, stark Indiana, Nina exudes a cheeky confidence that shows in her stage presence and as she says herself ‘most of these songs were written in my bedroom so to hear them like this is amazing’ and I’m pretty sure the whole room was in agreement. More pop than the other two on tonight’s bill Nina’s music should tease the mainstream charts before too long and deservedly so. For her closing song, a rendition of R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’, she is joined by the GOA choir and with strings, full band and her voice this becomes another breath-taking moment. Last but not least is Natalie, now a consummate professional, everyone is expecting big things and she doesn’t disappoint. Opening with the title track from her debut album ‘Devil In Me’ she starts with just her voice before everyone kicks in and its clear even this early on that the addition of the orchestra not only proves just how good the songs she has written are but also elevates them to another level all together. ‘Sky Is Falling’ sounds like it should always be this way and ‘Find Me A Home’ and ‘Flower’ are particularly enhanced by the stirring string sections. But in amongst all this beautiful chaos is Natalie herself her voice and piano playing something truly astounding to behold. It would be hard to pick a highlight in a set this solid, for me it was ‘Villain Hands’, but I imagine it would be different for everyone in attendance. What is the same though is that we all recognise what a formidable talent Natalie is and as if in any doubt the standing ovation seals the deal. With a performance coming up on Jools Holland, her debut album still receiving positive reviews and live shows this good she is already cementing her place among the greats. What is evident from this showcase is that in the near future we can expect even bigger things from all three and with too many ‘hairs standing up’ and goosebumps moments to mention here, tonight just goes to show that Nottingham does indeed rock.

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One Response to Nottingham Rocks – Natalie Duncan, Nina Smith and Indiana – Theatre Royal – 22/9/12

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