Images by Gail Foster
I could’ve guaranteed myself a great night with peers and those purveyors of space rock, Cracked Machine down the trusty Gate, or danced socks off with twenty/thirty-somethings at the Three Crowns to the unique take on covers of the ever-entertaining People Like Us. But, oddly if not in the know, I opted for a Saturday night at West Lavington village hall, nodding my approval as frontman Elijah Easton mingled with a gen z frenzied crowd singing back to him their beguiling magnum opus, to-date, Manipulation, for an encore the fans will forever cherish…..
For if it’s Devizine’s intention to highlight all that’s great about our music scene, it’s surely a priority to point out what’s upcoming, and Nothing Rhymes With Orange are the freshest squeezed fruit on that tree right now. I’ve been singing their praises since reviewing their EP Midsummer, unseasonably released last November, and now I can tick catching them live off my must-do-list I’m only going to enforce my words on how astoundingly awesome these youngsters are.
With blow-up orange segments bouncing between them on stage and their enthused blossoming fanbase, I figure I’m witness to a burgeoning local phenomenon akin to the roots of any mainstream band, left pondering the pensioners once screaming teenagers at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, when Beatlemania was imminent. If you consider that’s a tall order for comparison, I’d shrug, but while NRWO can clearly rouse the crowd, it feels like the building hysteria is a newfound blessing for them and they’re unsure how to react. This is a wonderful inaugural experience for a blossoming band, exposing them to reactions to the hard work they’ve clearly put in, and digesting those streams are from real kids, appreciating their sound.
For the fanbase so young in our rural zone, it’s not so simple just to rock up to venues, particularly pubs, and if the village hall is kinda “village hall like,” it’s because it is, but it’s an adequate space with a hospitable outlook. The band and their families have self-organised this sell-out gig with the intention of making this a homecoming atmosphere for a local band venturing to Bristol, Bath and Trowbridge’s Pump, and who will undoubtedly take that road a lot further in the near future.
For the time being, they are here and they are now. If seeing Springsteen in the eighties was an amazing experience, seeing Springsteen play New Jersey was another ballpark, ergo in this case, Lavington is those Badlands.
The sound is frenzied indie-pop, but not all-out ferociously punk, they find the perfect middle-ground; easy on the palate for any age demographic. Precisely why they’re subject to my highest acclaim, homing in on what the kids want, is, historically, the recipe for success. They did this with bells on, belting out their known EP tracks, a couple of defined Arctic Monkeys covers, their latest release Lidl Shoes, and treated the crowd to a sneak at the forthcoming two singles.
But not before a triple bill of support they’re introducing to home fans. First up Dauntsys own Paradigm, who, though I only caught the final couple I’d suggest are a promisingly tight young band to watch out for.
Secondly Frankcastre from Portsmouth with a frontman originating locally, even penning a song named after Great Cheverall, which has to be a first! Perhaps as oddly as their name, to generation X a band attired in Fred Perrys and skinheads might connote mod influences, but the confident frontman was looking decidedly teddy-boy!
Trivial is the significance of the uniforms of youth cultures of yore to this era, their originals came fiery and skater-punk; they refined the contemporary noise with brewing confidence and it was welcomed by the NRWO fanbase, particularly the girls. Two covers either side of their set though revealed a penchant for sixties blues-rock, covering firstly The Doors’ Break on Through, and The Animals’ version of House of the Rising Sun, with gritty vocals and devine accuracy. Something for the parents to acknowledge, perhaps, though the frontman delighted to elucidate his fondness for the era to me and I had nothing but to accept his knowledge on the subject. Their sudden usage of a keyboard, for example, to replicate The Animals classic was different, tilting it to one side while playing was beyond Jerry Lee Lewis; put him in your Google search bar!
Arguably the more accomplished of the two, Bath’s StoneFace produced lengthier original compositions, evoking mood with pitch and tempo alterations. With an air of neo-emo Stooges, interestingly with saxophone, damn they looked the part of Iggy Pop to envy!
Though sounding as good as they looked, this volatile style didn’t seem to wash down quite as well with the teenagers as Frankcastre, who, like punk, seem to favour the frenzied three-minute hero, though I personally fished with their hook. Introducing a new track Blue for You, and a particularly adroit one called Cave, the downtempo was plodding indie of perhaps a previous generation, but they did it exceptionally.
To conclude, those in local media sensationalising a minority of hooliganism for click-bait would’ve had their tails between their legs if they’d bother to attend this last night, for all I saw was the new generation, clean-cut by comparison of formers, thoroughly enjoying themselves and causing no issues in the slightest. Just in awe of four of their own, who’ve worked tirelessly to perfect a cooperative brand and inspire others. The forthcoming single Rishi speaks volumes for a current tongue-in-cheek satire they’re intelligent self-penned anthems extend to, though for the most part politics are avoided in favour of topics relative to gen z, like romantic interludes breaking down, and for this Nothing Rhymes With Orange prove their diversity.
It was an astounding achievement, bringing some class acts to Lavington’s youth, and onwards for NRWO I’m pleased to say in collaboration with DOCA, Devizine is proud to now annually suggest a best upcoming local act to feature on the main stage at the Devizes Street Festival, and you can bet your bottom dollar they are the chosen ones to get that ball rolling on Sunday 28th May.
You can also catch them next Saturday, 29th, at the Pump in Trowbridge, Bath’s Party in the City at St James’ Vaults on 12th May, at Corsham Rugby Club’s CorrFest on Sunday 17th June, The Barge on Honey-Street on Saturday 1st July, Marlborough Festival July 8th, and Urchfont’s Boundary Bash on the 15th July…. The future is bright, and doesn’t rhyme with orange!
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