Upon setting out on an adventure through the urban jungle of Digbeth, Birmingham; it was down an unassuming back ally where we accidentally stumbled across a retro garage space.
A modest crowd began to form outside of the venue when, whilst queuing patiently, we were pleasantly disturbed by the unmistakable pink hair of lead singer KC, followed by the rest of the band. Now, Now and co. politely shuffled past the crowd to the rhythmic affirmative head nods and the sound of an occasional but mutual “hey.”
Inside, the room featured two tiers of a quaint courtyard-esque setting. With the fronts of colourful house models plastered onto the walls and dimmed lights draping in a zig zag formation from the ceiling. The gig space captured the imperfect romance of the spaghetti scene from lady and the tramp.
Ranging from the raging throws of Korn to the smooth chilled out groove of 90’s RnB hits, the eclectic warm up playlist was dulled around 8 o’ clock. The support act So Below awkwardly shuffled onto the stage before filling the room with an electrified brooding energy. New Zealand born artist Madeline North adopted the help of two talented musicians to help her convey the murky, driven, kiwi goth pop that she has become synonymous with.
After a short intermittent break to allow for a stage reset, it was time for the main event. Falling straight into the warm fuzz of ‘Yours’ from the new album Saved, the set was underway. During the breakdown of the song, and to the amusement of KC, the supporting guitarists spontaneously burst into a perfect rendition of the macerena, causing the some members of the crowd to follow suit. The song finished with three quarters of the band standing frozen in position at the front of the stage. KC broke the mould by grabbing herself a guitar for the second song of the night ‘Wolf’ from their debut album Threads.
The appearance of Now, Now on stage multiplied the crowd by three and everyone gravitated towards the front. Away from their safe darkened crevices, the crowd presented themselves as perfect silhouettes to the backdrop of the dimmed hanging lights, only to be lit up by the illumination of the sporadic colours shooting from the stage.
The live recitation of ‘Separate Rooms’ sounded somewhat different to their album recorded version. Brad admitted once the song was over that his keyboard had broken before the gig, forcing him to purchase a new one, which produced a much brighter sound.
The different sound of ‘Separate Rooms’ marked the start of a number of technical mishaps that the band began to encounter. Ranging from tuning issues, to unplugged leads and forgotten lyrics, the band officially dubbed the night a “Monday kind of Tuesday.”
In attempt to rouse the somewhat tame crowd KC asked “How are we doing?” The question was met by a loud cheer, and what can only be described as a “declaration of adoration” from the person in the crowd with the thickest Brummy accent. KC turned to her guitarist for a translation, thanked the man in the crowd over the microphone and in a moment of perfect timing, burst into the start of ‘Can’t Help Myself’ which features the repeated lyric “Killing myself just to understand you.”
Despite the ongoing technical issues the title track of the new album, fittingly named ‘Saved’, was flawless. Teasing a two sided nature; with one side adorning a blissfully floating plethora of loop pads and the other taking on the volatile thrash of a heavy resonating guitar, this was by far the best performance of the night.
Keeping the banter on about the malfunctions on stage, Brad jokingly announced that they were “tanking it” which presumably was meant to be a self-depreciating observation. However it seemed to be lost in translation as one member of the crowd enthusiastically cheered, causing the band to laugh nervously. The language barrier became a running theme throughout the night, with another highlight being Brad attempting to work out the usage of the utterance “chuffed.”
The set was finished up with performances of the bands three latest singles ‘MJ’, ‘AZ’ and ‘SGL’, which introduced an acoustic guitar and brought some touching call and response moments between the KC and the crowd.
And, with that, our adventure had come to a close.. momentarily..
KC returned to the stage and grabbed a guitar while Brad mischievously followed, just to plonk himself down by the side of KC and stare intently at her. KC joked that Brad had turned into her mother on this tour, following her around and silently judging her with a glass of wine in his hand.
The first song of the encore was a solo version of ‘Dead Oaks’ performed by KC. Brad jumped back on the keyboard to help out with ‘But I Do.’ And finally, the rest of the returned to the stage for the last song of the evening; the incredible title track of the first album ‘Thread’, which sounded massive given the compact setting.
In the shabby chic setting of mama roux’s, Now, Now gave a not too shabby performance. A few minor technical hiccups that can easily be forgiven given the bands 6 year hiatus and willingness to press on/laugh it off.