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Live Music Review: The Big Moon at Rough Trade

19 January 20 words: Laura Phillips

London’s kick-ass indie rockers The Big Moon were back in Nottingham to debut their sleeker, stripped back second album Walking Like We Do at an exclusive in-store gig at Rough Trade...

Credit: Pooneh Ghana/Press

The girls have seamlessly slotted into the space between girl group and riot grrl rockers over the past six years since their formation. Their debut Mercury Prize-nominated album Love In The 4th Dimension was a catalogue of intoxicatingly care-free bangers and only the beginning of their blossoming music careers.

Taking a step forward from their first album, the band have meandered their way into a new genre, putting an electro-pop spin on their unruly guitar music, refreshing their setlist and incorporating a keyboard – which, let’s be honest, adds a touch of class to any song. Love In The 4th Dimension is rather angsty, playful and introspective, unlike Walking Like We Do, which is more grown-up, refined and outward-looking.

The band kick off their set with a throwback to their first album, exploding into energetic bop Sucker before breaking into their new material with the jangly Take a Piece. The track’s lyrics, like a lot of the new album, are written and performed as though frontwoman and lyricist Juliette Jackson is genuinely pondering her mind right there and then on stage. It’s emotional and powerful and leads to brutally honest, sometimes funny, feelings being shared; creating a considerably more intimate atmosphere.

“It’s a shame you caught us at this point in the week,” guitarist Soph Nathan says apologetically as they tune their guitars. “Yeah, Soph called Jules ‘George’ in the dressing room earlier… we don’t know a George,” bassist Celia Archer laughs. Nottingham is the eighth consecutive show of back to back album launch gigs, but despite this, the girls still execute their setlist with precision and enthusiasm.

The thumping bass of Don’t Think begins, and the crowd groove along to the inescapably rhythmic beat. Briefly pausing to swap instruments (because that’s just what you do on your second album), the band break into opening track It’s Easy Then, an effervescent synth-laden melody featuring sun-drenched vocals, followed by the glimmeringly forlorn Why.

The Big Moon are charismatic and humble. “It’s so nice to see so many of you singing along,” quips Jackson, before the band ease into the delicate keyboard-centric Waves, building the vocals throughout the track until the room is aurally drowning in sound. It’s a passionately raw and exquisitely melancholic composition baring Jackson’s soul for all to see.

Coming to the end of their setlist, the band return to their feisty roots, launching into their tongue-in-cheek first single Cupid, before closing with the captivatingly gossamer anthem Your Light.

Walking Like We Do truly ruminates on the troubles in the wider world and captures the disconcerting feelings of ambiguity in your late twenties with literary sophistication, relatable lyrics and poetic metaphors.

If you missed The Big Moon this time, they play Nottingham Contemporary on Sunday 2 March 2020.

The show is sold out – join the waiting list here.

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