BadBadNotGood – Manchester O2 Ritz, UK (16th November 2017)

BadBadNotGood take the opportunity to interweave, some styles of music, that, at first thought some may totally disregard as interchangeable. Taking a style central to modern music: hip-hop, with a central rapper, and then stripping hip-hop of its central status allowing the focal point of the jazz underneath to truly kick in. When witnessed in the flesh, it seemed almost effortless, and a style that had been uncovered decades before. It is needless to say as they entered onto the intimately lit stage, you could tell the supreme musical talent both collectively and individually that was about to be on show.

Someone close to my heart, with his intimate, emotional lyrics, was Rex Orange County, who kicked off the whole set, brought his well-tailored remake of the conventional R&B genre to tempt the Manchester crowd. The English singer/ songwriter released his debut album: ‘’Bcos U Will Never B Free” towards the end of 2016, which really sprung his career into action. From there his vocals were found to really hit the spot, when accompanied with a soft background, truly accentuating his diverse vocal range. Before, he embarked in the support role during BadBadNotGood’s European section of their tour, he released a new single, “Loving Is Easy” with Dutch Pop artist: Benny Sings, which is a sweet-hearted slice of easing listening FM. Sharing similarities, to the youthful glow he brought to the tracks he featured on in Tyler the Creators album, ‘Flower Boy’.

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Rex, nails the sweet simplicity that music can truly endorse, in ‘Loving is Easy’ he lays down instrumentation so bright and beautiful it could almost be perceived as juvenile. He portrayed a perfect contrast to BadBadNotGood’s hard-hitting hip hop style, which I’m sure would be played upon with a collaboration later in the set

BadBadNotGood, deep into their Europe Tour, had truly perfected their style, to impress a crowd, opening their set with ‘Speaking Gently’ a 2016 hit single, which truly represents their style. It was a relaxing opener, with no hard-hitting jazz riffs, it just incorporates the individuality and skill that each player in the 4 piece possesses, linking the instruments together, in perfect fashion. Speaking Gently, was the album endorsement, released as the first song to give fans a taster of what the album was to bring. The succinctly named fourth album: ‘IV’ was later released in 2016, where they received further support for their hip-hop jam style, recruiting the likes of Sam Herring and KAYTRANDA to add some gravelly contrast through their vocals to the well-tailored jazz anthems.

The band seemed alive whilst sat up on stage, and so well put together, it was almost that they were made to be there, then as the set went on, I found out that the keys player wasn’t even the original member of the band he was filling in for Matthew Tavares, to me that was crazy, especially as he played his heart out, even incorporating some funky solos into his set as well. Which made t seem as though he was meant to be there! It was amazing how interchangeable they make their band, it was unstressed, just a pure, musical set, where music was the focal point. No fluff at all.

If it wasn’t clear enough how into the gig the band were, as it progressed, their songs became longer and longer, instead of the conventional cut between each song, they instead linked each song, to make it appear to be one endless stream of songs, released or unreleased? It was hard to tell in the heat of the moment, everyone was just focussed on the pure class on display in front of them.

Following in the footsteps of Thundercat, a multi-genre America bass guitarist. Who played in Manchester’s Gorilla, directly across the road, from the Ritz the night before. He is a jazz name to note, and has supported and aided on BadBadNotGood’s albums, so it was nice to see the two play in conjunction, touring at the same time.

To finish their set, BadBadNotGood, put their spin on some well-known anthems: the James Bond theme being a one to note. Which really got the crowd going, and ready for the finale in their most famous song, ‘CS60’ being one of the songs first to be released in 2014, for any budding BadBadNotGood fan it is a clear favourite.

This band have really taken the world by storm, gaining support from some of the world’s biggest, their second release on YouTube, featured Tyler the Creator, one of the biggest artists in the music scene right now. Then releasing 4 albums in relatively quick succession showed the support that they had quickly riled up in order to launch off in the music industry. There is a lot more to come from a band of this calibre.

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