There’s not an awful lot of room for a lively six-piece band on the intimate Rough Trade stage, but the guys from Red Rum Club make it their own, setting out red electronic candles and scattering the performance area with their signature red roses for the debut album tour. It’s their first visit to Nottingham, but by the end of the night, the audience is sure it won’t be their last. With support from two local bands, The Colliders and the excellent members of The Chase, this was always going to be a great night.
Describing themselves as an ‘alternative’ rock band, Red Rum Club deliver something more than those usually defined by that genre. With the magnificent trumpet of Joe Corby added to a more traditional band line-up, the Red Rum Club dynamic is hoisted to a whole new level. The word ‘Tarantino-esque’ has been used about them and as much of an accolade as that is, it is also pretty accurate. Citing one of their musical influences as Ennio Morricone, the spaghetti western vibe is strong. This is yet another great act out of the creative hotbed that is Liverpool and the local influences are clear to hear: The La’s, The Coral, Echo and the Bunnymen, combined with some lovely retro guitar twangs complete their individual sound.
The set opens with Angeline, a Red Rum Club original, leaving the audience in no doubt that we’re witnessing something special. The sound is eclectic, polished and hugely exciting. Singer, Fran Doran, has a wonderfully rich, full voice, partly reminiscent of the great Scott Walker. He is a true showman and the audience immediately embraces his performance.
This is a high-octane presentation from each musician: vocals, three guitars, drums and trumpet. Superb musicianship without exception, beautifully tight harmonies and very, very professional.
The sell-out audience is completely behind the band for the duration, lapping up every minute of the set. A dozen original songs showcase the debut album, Matador, which I feel I must purchase before leaving, not wanting to let go of this incredible, unique sound. It genuinely doesn’t matter that there is nothing familiar; every single track is a gem. For me, the song of the night is Calexico, a love song full of passion and Latino influence. The samba beat is hypnotic, and the Rough Trade crowd move as one with the rhythm. The gig ends with the anthemic Would You Rather Be Lonely, a chance for everyone to join in with the infectious chorus and to be a part of the Red Rum Club music experience.
This band has to make it big and in my eyes, they are something very special. Buy, stream, download their sounds and, if you’re at a festival this year where Red Rum Club are playing, I urge you to put them on your ‘to see’ list. Your ears will thank you.
Red Rum Club played at Rough Trade on Thursday 21 March.