Live Music Review: Nathan Fake at Nottingham Contemporary

15 April 17 words: Eileen Pegg

The electronic musician was touring in support of his latest album...

Image: Tim Saccenti
Nathan Fake's latest album Providence is out now via Nina Tune

Often, the words ‘electronic music’ and ‘midweek gig’ don’t go together hand-in-hand, with the first statement being synonymous with weekend antics. However, none other than Nathan Fake presented Nottingham with some sonic explorations on a Wednesday night in April, supported by Deadbeat at Dawn at a night organised by Leicester-based collective Robot Needs a Home. While he’s no stranger to the dance floor, this gig - held at Nottingham Contemporary - took on more of an experiential experience.

If it could be summed up in a phrase, it would be ‘small but perfectly formed’. When we arrived we weren’t sure we’d actually come to the right place, with no noise to be heard seeping out the doors as we approached the entrance. But that was due to its location, held in the back concert hall room part of the art gallery, tucked away from the public eye. Inside this sparse room was a singular Nathan on stage with a small table, a laptop, a mixer and some sort of live controller. That was it.

While on paper it doesn’t sound like much, it’s the details that made this unpretentious gig a night to remember. Although ‘The Space’ is somewhat of a blank canvas, its acoustics were incredible. The only décor was a large white screen behind the stage; but the visuals playing throughout Nathan’s set were a psychedelic sight to behold, starting with geometric pastel scenes, morphing into black and red lava-like creations and turning back into the cotton candy shades again, displaying a glitches out interior scene featuring houseplants, window sills and even throwing in the kitchen sink. Where Nathan lacked in equipment he made up for with noise, flow and audience awareness and by constantly moving and grooving all night, this one-man band projected energy like no other across the room. Small this gig may be, but the results were nothing but huge.

This extraordinary indulgence into premium electronica is a result of Nathan releasing Providence, his first album since 2012. Catching up with him before the gig, he spoke about the format for the night. “It’s mostly stuff from Providence but there’s some older stuff too which I’ve updated and stuff. I like to rework older things in the set, makes it quite fun.”

This was apparent in his set, with the organ-like melody of recent single DEGREELESSNESS heard amongst the live, semi-improvised soundscapes of, sometimes harsh, electronic fuzz, yet all blended together so delicately. Staying true to his word, of course, the instantly recognisable chords of standout track The Sky Was Pink also crept into the hall, with many members of the crowd looking around at each other for affirmation when the much-loved tune kicked in.

While it was a live gig, the show rarely stopped; Nathan played for a solid hour, locked into his groove without any interruptions.

When asked how he hoped to leave his Nottingham audience feeling, he responded, “I’m not sure.. hopefully satisfied and I hope some people will have had a bit of a dance. I think some people don’t really know how to dance to it but I think it’s pretty danceable. Nottingham has always been a good party in the past so I’m quite excited to see how this one goes.”

And party we most certainly did. Welcome back Nathan Fake.

Nathan Fake was at Nottingham Contemporary on Wednesday 12 April 2017. 

Nathan Fake website  

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