Plugged is an exciting live experience – launched late last year, on one Thursday night each month it organises a concert hosting upcoming musicians and bands, giving them the chance to perform on stage at a popular Student Union venue. Past acts who have made an appearance at Plugged include The Carnabys and Youth Club. The latest Plugged was the first curated by BBC Introducing Lincolnshire, which is a weekly radio show program as well as a vital starting platform for many local musicians to showcase their talent to a large audience. The line-up for Plugged on the 2nd February included supports made up of two of the county’s best bands (one of the bands were even treating the crowd to their exclusive first live performance), and a headliner set from a band rising in the popularity ranks from Liverpool.
Kicking up BBC Introducing’s first line-up for a Plugged evening were duo Alfie Jack – born and raised in Spalding, the group is from the heart of the rural Lincolnshire. The brothers packed a punch with their set and delivered a highly energetic performance. Their songs were memorable in how they approached important social issues in a light, zesty manner, and two of their best tracks were Tease and Uniform; the latter a joyous protest against conformist ways and resisting the status quo to follow in the direction of others. Alfie Jack played mostly their own original songs, but had time to spice up their set and unleash their cover of Motown classic Superstition; the brothers definitely gave the song a modern indie kick, whilst not straying too far from the original melody and vibe of the track as well. They un-shamefully promoted debut EP Playground Antics to the crowd, and un-shamefully I have provided a link for you to listen to Alfie Jack here.
Following on from a superb introduction were a brand new group from Scunthorpe, Model Life. Officially formed just a handful of days ago (at the time of writing), the band took a bold step and debuted themselves at Plugged. It is a risk launching an act for the first time to an audience who may or may not appreciate the new music they are hearing, but their daring initiative without a doubt paid off! Performing under a slightly different line up previously to Model Life, their rehearsing and persistence to their fresh music project was reflected in songs with substance, great lyricism and polished performances of their tracks. Although a little shaky to begin with, you could tell that as their set progressed the band felt at home being on the stage and gave the crowd a confident, electric show. I particularly liked the choice of the lead vocalist’s snazzy colourful shirt, and his distinctive bold vocal was a cross between Elvis and Simon Le Bon, two singers I rate highly.
Quality of Vocals / Instrument Playing
The billed act for the night were Liverpool based band Nytclub – the group have been around for approaching a couple of years now, and between their formation and now have gradually received more and more support and play, both on a regional level from BBC Introducing Merseyside, and nationally from prolific radio stations BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2. Lead singer Adam James was superb on lead vocals all night long; in addition to well-executed vocals, he looked at ease being the frontman of the band, showing in slick shapes behind the mic. Peter Gebbie and Nick Iatridis-Jones did not miss a beat on their respective guitar and bass, whilst Martin Gordon controlled the pace of their songs expertly at the hands of the drum. Nytclub are experimental with a variety of sound enriched flavours within their music, also including more unusual instruments into their set in the form of synths and keyboards, which when played infused their sound with extra lively fizz and pizzazz.
Energy and Interaction with Crowd
Nytclub were very sprightly and lively throughout their performance, encompassing stage dynamic by moving around on the stage, rather than just playing their instruments, or singing in the same spot all night. All night the Plugged hosts (from BBC Introducing Lincolnshire) Jonathan Brine & Hayley Ritchie had given their thanks and appreciation to the dedicated crowd for showing up, and Nytclub continued in this vein by heavily interacting with the crowd; in one particularly humorous stage/crowd reaction, Adam asked where the best places in Lincoln are to go out, to which one concert-goer eagerly suggested ‘Home’; the band took it literally, not realising that in Lincoln, there is a very popular crowd called Home. It is all too easy a simple mistake to make and sparing blushes, the band soon came to the correct realisation and chucked that they thought the guy who suggested Home was being a heckler!
The Set Itself
All of the acts, including the supports, were on stage for 30-45 minutes – this was long enough to capture the essence of each act, and also enough for the bands to play most, if not all of their collection of written and recorded songs. Nytclub to date have three tracks on Spotify – Call Your Friends, Dressed Up, and Jewels – and all were performed during their set; this provided familiarity for long-time fans of the group, but never songs were encompassed in the set list as well, which appealed to both people in the crowd who were aware of Nytclub, as well as newer fans like me.
All three bands, no matter how experienced or inexperienced playing live they were, gave superb performances and in the process ensured BBC Introducing’s first Plugged was a rip-roaring success. Although Alfie Jack, Model Life, and Nytclub all fit into the same wide alternative genre, the bands sounded very different from one other and the enrichment of sound meant that each time an act was on something new was brought to the table, keeping the crowd invigorated and enamored in the performances all throughout the evening. I cannot wait for next month’s Plugged event, which will have indie-pop group Marsicans fronting the line-up, and I would encourage everyone to turn up to The Platform if you live in the nearby area, for another fantastic selection of bands playing live!