Tricky has been gracing the British music scene for almost two decades and as the proud owner of a set of vocal chords that produce what I can only describe as aural sex, I was pretty darned excited that he was visiting Nottingham.
Showing that it’s not only Patrick Batemen who likes to psyche himself up to a bit of Phil Collins, the band came on stage to In The Air Tonight. All settled in their respective places, they began their first track; a dark, heavy instrumental version of Sweet Dreams which Tricky appeared from the mist of the smoke machine to whilst lighting a cigarette. Rebel. With his back to the audience, he pulled off his top and began dancing to the rhythm to reveal what can only be described as an incredibly ripped body for a man in his forties.
The second track of the night blasted straight in with Led Zeppelin style rock sounds with the bass and drums reverberating through the floor and into the crowd’s chests. Although the vocal mix was a bit low, it was clear that Tricky’s partner on stage, Veronika Coassolo, has talent coming out of every pore: a clear, strong and adaptable voice that became hypnotically enchanting when she lowered it to a whispery husk for Overcome from Maxinquaye . It was a good job she's been blessed with talent as she carried the show from start to end.
The band were on top form, with Tricky’s music swinging from rock, to hip hop, to soul, to grime, to trip hop - they handled each track masterfully and had the crowd bouncing around on more than one occasion despite the average age being over thirty. With a hefty chunk of the set taken from the new album, there was also a very Tricky-esque cover of Ace of Spades where his signature head shaking move made it look like he was about to twist his head clean off his shoulders.
Unfortunately, it became apparent early on in the night that Tricky, to put it kindly, had a right one on him and seemed a little twisted if his gurning, body rubbing and lack of input was to be taken into account. Which was a shame because although the band and Veronika were amazing and the guest appearance from Terry Lynn made for a more than welcome addition to the show with her energetic, tuneful vocals on Kingston Magic, the crowd had paid to see Tricky. Chain smoking and barely touching a quarter of the tracks, he was more a perfunctory presence than a performer.
I was somewhat disappointed when he left the stage but the crowd seemed to be loving it despite the surprising low key Tricky element. His exit prompted about five minutes of screaming, shouting, whistling and clapping. Until the house lights came up and everyone slumped. Doubly done over.
Tricky will always be a musical hero in my mind, nearly God indeed, but I left Rock City feeling like a woman scorned.
Tricky played at Rock City on Monday 18 October 2010.