First up was John Marriot, or “John from Forest Fields” as he introduced himself. He treated the early arrivals to bluesy punk poetry, humorous, satirical and was greatly entertaining. Full of local stories and women at Gedling Miner’s Welfare who look like Cathy from Eastenders. A definite must-watch if you get the chance.
A short interlude, and then Aggressive Ben stepped up, ukulele in hand. He regaled the crowd with dreamy love songs that could melt your heart. Self-composed tales complimented by delicate covers of Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl (complete with rapping) followed shortly by Slipknot’s Left Behind.
Lulled nicely into thoughts of romance, the peaceful gallery was quickly torn asunder by 5-piece beat combo The Wickets. Part grunge, part post-rock, all noise. The set felt like a mesmerising flashback to the 90s, with all the joy that comes with it.
There was then some time to get acquainted with Library Music, a four-piece guitar band that makes music you can get lost in. Made up of harmonies, epic build-ups and some folksy vocals. A bit like The Decemberists would sound if the 19th Century had reverb.
And the stage was set for Practical Lovers. No sooner had they entered, they launched into Textbook Romance, a song that never fails to find its way into your head and take up residence for several days. The duo put on a show of persistent electro beats, with Mark’s driving bass and Jack’s doleful vocals.
In among their tales of failed relationships, there was a Future Islands cover and enough dry ice to temporarily create an impenetrable wall of fog between the band and the crowd.
The evening was rounded off perfectly with the main event, the new single No Reply. The song, unsurprisingly, is an introspective account of aggressive, jaded love, sung over an ever present and demanding bass riff. The guys hadn’t failed to deliver. Definitely pick up the single, and while your at it check out the video for Textbook Romance as well.
Practical Lovers single launch for No Reply took place at the City Gallery on Friday 7 September 2012. Listen to No Reply on Bandcamp.