Marika Hackman


First on stage tonight at Gorilla are Nottingham-based four piece Do Nothing, a post-punk band utilising the talk-singing style that is quickly rising back into fashion within the indie scene. Singer Chris Bailey’s live rambling talk/shout vocal style, along with easy comparisons of Talk Show and Dry Cleaning, reminds me of a mix between Dismemberment Plan and the cocky crooning of Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. It can feel slightly whiny at times as the set goes on, and almost reaches the egotistical heights of Morrissey as he wanders the stage with the flamboyant personality and style of a drunk and angry 11th Doctor (but opting for an open shirt over a bowtie). It is a stage persona still being built, but it comes across a little self indulgent by the end.

There is no doubting the band sounds fantastic. The bass is slick and funky. The pristine riffs could fit right into a Talking Heads album, especially during the performance of their latest single ‘LeBron James’ along with the irresistibly catchy ‘Gangs’. They are played perfectly as bassist Charlie Howarth caresses his instrument in a more easy-going way than the more urgent guitar and drums. They are an enjoyable watch, and being still a young band with only a handful of tracks they will only improve as they grow. The bassline hooks are a definite highlight, holding the outfit together.

Marika Hackman is on the first night of her tour, and is playing some songs tonight that have not yet been played live before! We are in for a treat. Coming out to The X Files theme tune, the band soon gets underway. The wonderfully danceable single ‘The One’ is played early. However, from my vantage point, it doesn’t seem to capture the crowd as much as expected. I blame the cold February though, as it is played impeccably and it has a heck of a groove. It seems to take a few songs to get the crowd warm and moving, but ‘I am Alive’ does the trick.

Throughout the show Marika shows she is a perfectionist, always conversing with the sound engineer to keep every funky note sounding crisp and clear. Together they do a great job and the sound is the best I have ever heard it at this venue. Marika plays passionately, often thrashing at her guitar which is dowsed in heavy effects as songs come to a close.

There are some tracks that rock the crowd more than others. However, I would have preferred for more of a variance. At times tracks do seem to start to merge together with quite similar sounds. It is only in the encore that Marika goes to some solo material. Playing first the stripped back and stunningly beautiful ‘Cigarette’, followed by a cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘Between The Bars’. Both of these songs have the crowd in an awed silence, which as Marika rightly points out, brings the mood down from the funky pop played during the rest of the evening, so there is a method in the setlist order. With songs that range from fun to thought provoking and downright emotional, all sung over Marika’s tight backing band, overall the show manages to hit all the right notes and with perfect technical accuracy.

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