LIVE REVIEW: District Attorney, Nel Unlit @ Bobiks, Newcastle (14.09.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: District Attorney by Martin Francis Trollope

Stripped down from their usual nine members, tonight’s six strong version of Nel Unlit prove that reduced numbers doesn’t always have to equal a reduction in sound, as they blaze their way into a highly individual universe of sounds.  Part folk, part traditional and part abstraction, Unlit’s use of changing lead vocalists and instrumentation combine to produce moving, and highly literary, musical experiments.  Standouts Firefly, Apple and Words by candlelight all sound great and offer huge interest in next years’ debut album in a sound highly influenced by Arcade Fire and Flaming Lips.

Stepping away slightly from experimentalism, headliners District Attorney approach tonight a little more head-on than their support with a more direct sound and performance style.  Firing off their indie guitars from the word go the band’s style of Jam-esque aggressive pop works well; landing best with John Ford’s Blues and Borrowed Light, both of which play with rock and indie and pop sounds to produce interesting experiments within traditional pop structures. Interestingly it’s the acoustic number St Catherine’s which steals tonight’s show, with it’s James Taylor sounding loveliness, wistful style and personal longing.  

Tonight’s biggest takeaway was that for all the instruments and experiments of both bands, the most impactful moment was the most gentle, straight-forward, one.  

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