Layby at Rock City, Nottingham

Seemingly every year, Rock City host a line up of local bands to tear the roof of the venue in celebration of Christmas (you can check out the review of last year’s show here). For the 2014 round of this, alternative rockers Lacey were joined with support from Cut The Heroics and openers Layby – who proceeded to tear up the show. The Nottingham pop-punk quintet let us have a sneaky listen to their upcoming single, Chronic, off their second EP, which we checked out here, and several months ago we gave a few words on their acoustic show at Nottingham’s Macmillan Fest. Before last night’s show we had a chance to catch up with the band, and you’ll be able to check out the interview tomorrow.

The night kicked off with punchy vocals from frontman Aaron Bowes, clear cut above the backing of the track. These vocals (at moments Enter Shikari-esque in their ferocity and harshness) starkly juxtaposed the musical backdrop of the show (as pop-punk as the likes of Neck Deep), so it’s not hard to see why even the band seem slightly confused about their genre – they’ll be discussing that in the interview, tomorrow. Closing the night with new track, Chronic, it’s not hard to see how they’ve grown since the band just over a year ago, their new work performed with more confidence and enough force to knock you sideways.

People say The Beatles got their fame and refined show from touring constantly for weeks, and practising more at live shows than in rehearsal rooms, and it worked for them. Though Layby have only been a band since November 2013, perhaps they could do with the same harsh treatment to tighten moments up a bit; More Than This had Aaron’s voice breaking, instrumental was too loose and hectic on occasion, and more than one note fell flat.

To say Layby were commencing the night, the five piece were working with a surprisingly full room, albeit not necessarily an enthusiastic. As my guest for the night so aptly said, “there’s nothing more awkward than watching a band try to get an audience to do something… and them not doing it.” Despite the second hand embarrassment lying in the room after the hundred or so crowd turned down the request of a circle pit (though I’ve never seen a circle pit in an opening act), they were willing enough to clap along and even had people singing along.

Frontman Aaron threw all he had into the show, and what they lacked in technical accuracy, they made up for in resilient passion, though it’d have been good to see more of the band less static. It was hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the show, though, and with some refining they’ve the potential to be one of Nottingham’s “must see” acts.

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