BILLY NOMATES + PRIMA QUEEN – THE MOTH CLUB, LONDON 8.10.21
One Inch Badge welcomes us to MOTH Club in Hackney this evening for a special sold out show highlighting the excellent Leicester artist Billy Nomates. Post-punk singer/songwriter Tor Maries (aka Billy Nomates) has been on a constant upwards trajectory ever since the release of the ‘Billy Nomates’ LP in 2020
It is a misty night in east London as people draw into the cosy venue for this evening’s performance. The lights are low but there is a hum of excitement in the air as a crowd builds within the walls of MOTH Club. Its 320 person capacity brings an intimate feel to the surroundings and the vibe is pleasant as the doorman and staff are all very friendly and welcoming.
The gig tonight features Billy Nomates and Prima Queen and had been rescheduled from February 12th to October 8th due to the ongoing covid and lockdown requirements. This is the first tour in the UK that Tor has done in a long time and she put out a statement on Instagram saying about how she completely understands and respects anyone who doesn’t feel this is the right time to be back in gig spaces which is very responsible and caring for her fans. I had been on the waiting list for this show for the last couple of months and was so pleased when I did get the opportunity to see her.
First to the stage at 8pm is Prima Queen. Normally a 7 piece, but tonight it’s just the 3 of them. They take to the stage wearing cowboy hats and dive into a buttery and well-rehearsed set.
Prima Queen is an indie/alternative rock band fronted by songwriting duo and best friends Louise Macphail (Bristol) and Kristin McFadden (Chicago). Combining vulnerable and nostalgic storytelling with light-hearted lyrical imagery, their ethereal yet gritty style draws influences from artists such as Julia Jacklin, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. They were featured within ‘Live At The Windmill’ a live album where sixteen artists donated tracks recorded live at south London venue the Windmill Brixton to help raise funds as part of the nationwide #SaveOurVenues campaign. Featuring alongside the likes of Goat Girl, Black Midi and Shame to name a few.
The 3 of them are on stage as their gorgeous sound fills the venue. They are playing without a drummer today, but the guitar and vocal sound more than make up for it with the cryptic and wondrous lyrics floating above the crowd. It is an emotional and delicate music that broods and swells with a sense of authenticity.
The song ‘Mexico’, I remember being a standout, it’s slow but hits differently with a vibe of fizz and freedom. Their presence feels very intimate and it is very suitable for the venue.
The distortion bubble finally pops during the last song as it swings from influence to influence before leaving the stage to applause and a crowd that is thoroughly warmed up for the main event
If you would like to check these guys out there are streaming links below:
Prima Queen setlist:
‘Chew My Cheeks’
‘Water And Oil’
Billy Nomates takes to the stage at 9pm. Dressed in overalls and with her laptop proudly scrawled with her name, she is ready to give an unmissable set. Launching straight into the first song of the evening ‘Emergency Telephone’ the energy and atmosphere of her appearance are apparent. It rolls and undulates from bar to bar with its grit and attitude which she always provides. Her voice is deadpan yet biting, with an acute lens on British class structure and the lie of boot-strapping propaganda.
Her 2020 self titled album was a highlight of last year and I was lucky enough to catch her set at ‘End Of The Road 2021’, with no sense of stopping her latest EP ‘Emergency Telephone’ for Tor Maries, the caustic, DIY punk singer-songwriter behind Billy Nomates, lockdown meant staying with her dad on the Isle of Wight. Long walks around the island would clear her mind and improvised song fragments that she recorded as she went. It features the song heels which I would highly recommend a listen to. Her personality bursts out of every track, driven by a fearless attitude that appears to come from a place of genuine authenticity.
By the third song of her performance, the temperature inside the venue seemed to turn up as movement from the crowd rubbles while Tor dances around the stage, barking off the lines of ‘Happy Misery’ which takes aim at anti-productive nostalgic mindsets. Talking about quitting the future and living in the past, she recalls a world where people earned £80 a week in a hard Thatcherite Britain, but still went out to a real pub and danced on a Friday night.
The sound is bassy and driven, almost blown at points but the repetitive beats lay a perfect backdrop for the clever and cryptic lyricism to shine through. Throughout the set, Tor never stops moving and by the end has a gleam of sweat clinging to her as she continues to wow the audience with track after track of resistance and integrity.
The show finishes on ‘Call In Sick’, a statement that goes down a treat within the packed audience. With the song reaching a peak before ending in a simple cough. Before Tor leaves the stage she thanks the audience and receives thunderous applause full of woops and shouts from a thoroughly pleased audience before they pile out into the mists of a London autumn.
Billy Nomates is playing the Green Door Store in Brighton on the 20th of October and is also playing the Mutations Festival 2021 on the 4th of November and I would highly recommend going to see her when you have an opportunity.
If you would like to check out some of her amazing new EP or self titled album streaming is available below
Billy Nomates setlist:
‘Fat White Man’
‘Right Behind You’
‘Call in Sick’
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