Gig Review: Oh Wonder at Rough Trade

Words: Isabelle Hunter
Photos: Vawn Humphrey-Wilson
Tuesday 18 October 2022
reading time: min, words

Following the launch of their brand-new album 22 Make, Oh Wonder performed a celebration of their music at Nottingham’s Rough Trade...


This was my fourth time seeing Oh Wonder perform live, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The intimate setting of Rough Trade set the tone for the duos' set, highlighting the very best from their new and old tracks. As the couple walked on stage, they were greeted with polite claps – a very different audience reaction to when I saw them at Reading Festival.

Armed with just a guitar and keyboard, you could hear a pin drop from the audience as the chords of Magnificent began. A song from their new album, you could instantly tell their excitement to introduce us to the track. It truly showcased what Oh Wonder are about, packed with synths and beautiful lyrics that struck a heartstring in every member of the crowd. The song followed with some anecdotes from the couple, as they told us they had booked a hotel four hours away from the venue, and Josephine recalled a story from her first time in Nottingham years ago.


Oh Wonder performed one of their older songs Ultralife (a personal favourite of mine), but a slow – ‘sexier’ – version of the usually upbeat record. The audience literally gasped as they announced the song, showing its meaning to many members of the crowd. I noticed someone stood near me, slowly swaying, and whispering the lyrics, as to not overpower the bands vocals. This felt like a common theme throughout the gig, the audience were almost a bit nervous to sing as to let the duo emphasise their talent.

22 Make is an album full of love and warmth, reflecting on the softer moments of a relationship, and this certainly shone through during the performance. While Josephine laughed about ‘her ex’, Anthony would chime in and make light of the situation, almost having a small domestic on stage. We got a glimpse of their relationship, both through their music and stage presence.


I was thrilled to hear a medley of tracks from their first album, written over six years ago. From Body Gold to White Blood, the crowd knew every lyric (although quietly whispered underneath breaths). This intimate, acoustic version of their set had the crowd gripped onto every word, and the medley had a sense of familiarity and home for me, since Oh Wonder’s music has a particular style of comfort. I feel this resonated with many members of the audience; a few tears were definitely shed.

I would highly recommend taking a listen to 22 Make, as well as catching Oh Wonder live if you ever get the chance. The band clearly loved the intimate setting of Rough Trade and Nottingham itself, and it truly was a showcase of what the band do best: connecting with their audience and sharing a passion for music within their relationship.

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