Nightmares On Wax – Concorde 2 – 1st February 2018

Photo by Ben Walker

Following the release of his new smash album, Shape The Future, Nightmares On Wax (aka George Evelyn) graced the Brighton seafront this week at a sold out Concorde 2 where George and his fellow performers brought an evening of wholesome and fresh hip-hop beats, which made for one of the most electrifying gigs I’ve ever been to.

Opening tonight are Speelburg, a local Brighton three-piece who really know what it means to have a funky sound: flourishes of almost reggae-like material combined with vibrant highs from vocalist Noah Sacré create a really fresh sound of such an immense quality. I genuinely can’t wait to catch another show when these guys are on the lineup as there is a definite spark of something special behind this group, which I’m sure could easily excel Speelburg to some remarkably big heights.

During the interval, what is always a relatively blank stage at Concorde begins to transform. You look away for one moment and suddenly there is a variety of 4k television screens, rustic looking armchairs, a full drum kit and a delightfully positioned coffee table covered with George’s synths and equipment. It’s actually incredible how Nightmares On Wax have managed to create a living room environment in a 1,000-capacity venue. As soon as George and the group enter the stage, the aesthetic really pays off, it creates a far more relaxed feeling to the show, it’s as if we’re peering straight into one of the group’s jam sessions instead of being at a ticketed event. Smiles between the performers and the audience can be seen and, as the beats start flowing, the vibe is simply impeccable.

Shape The Future is an incredibly diverse record and George more than demonstrates this during tonight’s set, opening with ‘Back To Nature’ where the blissful naturalistic sounds flood the room before sliding swiftly into the other opening numbers of the album. The sound easily excels that of the already bedazzling record, with each snare snapping sharper and the bass kick hitting with the strength of a sledgehammer. There’s certainly little room for much further improvement in the quality, George and his crew are clearly true born professionals.

Possibly my favourite aspect of the evening, though, has to be George’s personal eagerness to not only lay down some otherworldly beats, but to throw himself into the spotlight during tracks such as ‘Tell My Vision’. He may be a god on the decks, but his showmanship is just as engaging as he performs his lyrics with such passion and power. A truly admirable trait to witness.

Despite being a new album tour, the set still transitions effortlessly between new and old material. Whilst the stand out single ‘Citizen Kane’ is met with a great deal of enthusiasm from the crowd, it is definitely ‘Flip Ya Lid’ which receives a truly deafening level of eager applause. The track’s jungle-like beat once again shreds its way through the venue and developed a whole new level to its sound in the live environment.

There is almost nothing to fault tonight, the entire evening is a fun, upbeat and warming environment from start to finish. Nightmares On Wax is definitely a name which you can’t afford to be ignoring and with the ability to put on shows as strong as this, you’d be mad to pass up any opportunity to hear the sound live. Shape The Future is an album which will certainly open new doors to Nightmares On Wax and it still feels as though George and his crew have so much more creative goodness to give to the world!

Ben Walker