On The Open Road at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

From his opening greeting of, “hello Nottingham, are you ready to have a good time?”, there was little clue from frontman Tom Hawk’s attitude that Rescue Rooms’ main stage wasn’t a typical venue for the band. Serving as main support for The Spangled Corps’ album launch, the usual heavy pop-punk trio were joined by fill-in lead guitarist, Jack Dutton. Back in March the band released their debut EP Hold On To This, but even from the live execution of their work it would seem they’re ready to release more.

Though the set seem to kick off a little drum-heavy for the band’s usual style, as soon as the rest of the instrumental and vocals swamped in it became apparent that the show wasn’t to be more percussion orientated – it was simply to be bigger. A band that had previously seemed almost lost on flat, back-of-a-pub stages now boast the power to take on one of Nottingham’s biggest venues.

The fuller sound wasn’t just due to the bigger stage, there’s no doubt added-in Jack had something to do with it. A guy whose stage presence seemed influenced by attending more than a handful of ROAM gigs, he bounded around with enough energy to be hooked up to the national grid, a far cry from the more static show the rest of the band generally deliver. As the set carried on inhibitions became loosened, but even in closing Rainy Days there seemed to be a certain level of holding back.

This isn’t to say the songs were delivered without passion or force, and although scan-challenging Rollercoaster Girl saw Tom’s vocals slip slightly and other minor technicalities made small rooks on an otherwise smooth show, it’s forgivable in a new environment and was easily missable is such a cascade of energy.

Where the band’s now somewhat old work felt well-loved and generally perfected, newer tracks such as No Rush and Rainy Days held a bite to them that comes with the enthusiasm of showing off a masterpiece – note the riffs in the former as a way marker of brilliance when a studio rendition is released.

Though there proved enough of a crowd to cajole into a ruthless circle pit and to form a singalong in This Is Goodbye (I Tried), the atmosphere of intimate gigs that the band have made their name playing shone through in their ease with chatting with the crowd (and a little more than your bog standard, “how’re we all doing?”).

Though they seemed a little swamped by the amount of space available to them on a much bigger stage, On The Open Road delivered as well as they always do, with the clear intention to make similar venues the norm for them in the not too distant future.

You can check out the video for What’s Best For You below, which we premiered here.

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