What do you do five hours after you’ve run your first half marathon and you can’t put any weight on your left foot? Go and see July Talk, naively thinking it’d be a breeze post-run, that’s what.
I limped up the stairs of Nottingham’s Bodega just in time to catch a couple of songs from the support act, whose 70s inspired licks and hip shakes were a welcome warm up.
Having seen a few videos online I was excited, yet also nervous that the raw and polished tones of the main act may fail to come through on stage.
There was no need to panic. Their sound – something like The White Stripes, if they were fronted by Tom Waits and an angel – was even more visceral live than on record. Peter Dreimanis’ gravel tones barked out into the night, consoled by the sweet, delicate voice of Leah Fay. Their energy was infectious and I couldn’t help but dance with my two pints clearly very quickly going to my fatigued head.
Yet as the band played, I couldn’t help but think that this was a two-person show. The other musicians all dressed in black, fading away at the edges like session musicians deliberately kept in the shadows. Dreimanis and Fay certainly deserved the limelight, they have incredible chemistry and charm the audience no end, but there was a hint of them trying too hard, which will no doubt be ironed out as they progress.
Nevertheless, I’d jump at the chance to see these guys again. It’s an unusual combination but it works. As we left, the band offered to sit and chat at the bar with anyone who fancied. We were too exhausted to stay, but I imagine they were there until the venue chucked them out, regaling listeners with stories of old.