Gig Review: Rob Green and JayaHadADream at Nottingham Central Library

Words: Gemma Cockrell
Photos: Nigel King
Sunday 24 March 2024
reading time: min, words

We got to experience a bit of an unconventional venue for a gig on Rob Green’s Undercover Tour to celebrate his MANHOOD EP…

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Nottingham has plenty of conventional music venues, from Rock City to Rescue Rooms to The Bodega. But when I told people I was going to a gig at the new Central Library, a few eyebrows were raised in confusion.

In the library? But isn’t that supposed to be a quiet place? For reading and working - not for live music! But the beauty of Rob Green’s Undercover Tour is that he is transforming unconventional locations all over the country into spaces where live music can exist.

Of course, the event took place in the evening - not when the library was open to the general public. There was a bar, which had been built especially for the evening, serving a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as snacks and refreshments.

To fit seamlessly into the surroundings, Rob Green performed next to a sofa, not on a stage, and the crowd were seated on chairs or on cushions on the floor. It was refreshing to see everyone so attentive while Rob was performing, a reminder that gig etiquette is still alive when people choose to respect the artist and their wishes.

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After a short but sweet opening set from JayaHadADream, who transformed her Hip-Hop and grime music into something more mellow and acoustic to suit the setting, there was a short interval, which Rob encouraged the audience to use to stretch their legs, have a chat, get a drink, or head to the merch stand to make a donation to Talk Club, who support men’s mental health.

Beginning the set with VICTORIOUS, a track taken from his latest EP MANHOOD, it was instantly clear to anyone who hadn’t seen him before why he is such a popular and beloved artist in the Nottingham music scene and beyond. His vocals and persona were absolutely captivating, as he performed a spoken-word poem, titled Desire, before the next song of the set.

After another short interval halfway through his set, David from the Central Library stepped in, to give an important update about the library and the upcoming events they have on their calendar. If this evening was anything to go by, the building can be viewed as being much more than a library - it is a multi-faceted hub, boosting culture and bringing people together across all creative spheres.

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The highlight of the second half of the set was when JayaHadADream returned to the stage, to perform a fan-favourite track of Rob’s, I’LL BE AROUND, alongside him. She had even written an extra verse, especially for this show, to add to the track. Hopefully, one day we will see an official remix of the track being released, featuring Jaya’s incredible voice and words.

Following another spoken word poem titled MANHOOD, which flowed into Life Goes On, audience participation was at an all time high, so Rob went straight into the encore, which was a medley of Seven Nation Army, Rumour Had It, and My Perogative, with the two backing singers stepping into the forefront to tie everything together.

And so, a very special evening came to an end. The combination of JayaHadADream and Rob Green’s captivating talent, and the unique and welcoming venue, proved that Nottingham has something very special going on right now. If you ever get the chance to see either of these artists perform, or find the time to head down and check out the library, please do take the opportunity - you won’t regret it.

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