Live Review: Vinnie Caruana, Murray MacLeod and George Gadd – The Bodega, Nottingham – 08/05/2016

For a late spring Sunday evening, the opportunity to hear some acoustic vibes seems fitting. With today being one of the warmest days of the year so far, the British public are taking advantage of the weather, so by the time local lad George Gadd opens the evening there is only a smattering of people in attendance. Nevertheless the Little Bribes frontman provides a warming display with jangly songs such as ‘Milhouse’ and ‘Reboot’ displaying Gadd’s calm and self-assured ability. Whilst his take on Blink-182’s ‘Dammit’ is charming, whether if it’s with Little Bribes or on his own, it’s clear Gadd has fine set of songwriting chops. (3/5)

For many, including us, the opportunity to see The XcertsMurray MacLeod on his own is a rarity. Whilst his “full-time” band in an insatiable whirlwind of fuzz pop, tonight allows Macleod to display his songs in a suitable stripped-back manner. Flanked by fellow Xcerts member Jordan Smith, the pair provide a set of mellowed out Xcerts songs that are as impassioned as ever. The combination of Macleod strumming away on his acoustic guitar, belting out ‘Kids on Drugs’, ‘She’ and ‘Shaking in the Water’, with Smith providing stirring electric guitar harmonies makes for a satisfying display. A cover of ‘The Drugs’ by Weatherbox keeps up the intimate momentum with its radiant undertone, before ‘Aberdeen 1987’ (finally) sees Murray alone on stage allowing the songs poignancy to shine. In-between songs, Murray carries himself with an awkward charisma, especially before closing the set with ‘There Is Only You’. Nonetheless it’s obvious The Xcerts continue to be an underrated talent as tonight’s set intimately highlights MacLeod’s songwriting prowess. (4/5)

Just over a week ago, Vinnie Caruana was sharing the stage with his cohorts in the Movielife. Tonight sees him alone yet in a playful mood, as his headline set is a medley solo material alongside songs from the Movielife and I Am The Avalanche, with humours quips slotting in between. Although there isn’t a large crowd in attendance, those who are here make up the numbers as a handful fans sing in unison.

From ‘Hey’ to ‘The Gravedigger’s Arguement’ to solo cuts such as ‘Somehow the World Keeps Turning’ and ‘We Don’t Have To Die Alone’, Caruana’s performance is gracious and appreciative. It’s understandable Movielife classics ‘Walking On Glass’ and ‘Hand Grenade’ spur on the biggest response.

With or without a band, Carauna has an ability to deliver his emotionally-driven message in a dignified and upbeat manner. (3.5/5)

If you ignore the disappointing turnout, then tonight’s show highlighted three well-skilled songwriters who are all at different levels of stature, yet collectively they all have the ability to intimately capture a crowd’s attention.


Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)


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