Photo: Debbie Davies
This was it: Saint Raymond could sell out Rock City twice over but he opted to hold his debut album launch at The Bodega, a cosy venue which has hosted some of Nottingham’s greatest artists. Young Blood played on the venue’s stereo as the crowd filled the room, providing a sneak preview for most to the album that wouldn’t be released for another five hours.
That didn’t stop the girls at the front of the room singing along to lyrics they already knew; their enthusiasm overriding any need for melody or rhythm. They set the mood for the night ahead, where everyone was excited to celebrate the success of a local lad releasing his first album.
There was no need for a supporting act because the crowd were on edge to see the boy who has already outgrown The Bodega stage. Saint Raymond’s band appeared first, creating the hype for when Callum himself took to the stage. The boys went straight into Come Back to You and a fan raised his fist in appreciation; a gesture which was returned by Callum, not without a cheeky grin.
The floor was bouncing by the time they got to the second track, Everything She Wants. Not one body stood still. At times, Callum would step away from the microphone with the crowd carrying a song which hasn’t even been released yet.
“How are we doing, Nottingham? Who’s up for a party?!” Callum shouted, as he introduced the next song with “I want you…” Three words in and Callum gave up singing the lyrics; he could hardly compete with his fans – they knew every word and sang louder than he possibly could.
“I think you’ve guessed it. It’d be fucking awkward if I played something else now...” The hit song I Want You began with no half measures – I wondered if the floor of The Bodega would cave under all the jumping. Luckily, it held itself together. Callum echoed our sentiments when he said “There’s no place else I’d rather be, getting sweaty on a Saturday night...”
The band struck up Great Escape but they halted after the backing track messed up. With a pause for breath, they swiftly moved on to Wild Heart, abandoning the former song in fear of it failing again.
At this point, Saint Raymond climbed on top of the speakers, looking down on his fans giving it everything they had. This night was fun so much fun – the fans made it.
Saint Raymond and his band played through most of the songs on the début album, pausing only to acknowledge the countdown until its release. Fall At Your Feet finished the night temporarily and it was the lad chants that got Callum out back on stage for a final encore.
He performed two songs completely unplugged, giving fans permission to kick anyone who spoke over the performance – unless they were at the bar buying him a drink. Once again, Saint Raymond proved that a song didn't have to be out for everyone to know all the words, and he grinned helplessly when he heard them being sung back to him.
“Thank you so much for coming out tonight. The album comes out in about two hours so tell everyone you know to buy it. I mean it when I say there's no record without you, so this last song is the reason we're all here tonight. This is Young Blood.”
The night ended on a high, with Callum crowd-surfing during the final choruses of Young Blood. He knows how to put on a good show, getting everyone involved and creating an atmosphere that allows everyone to feel connected to the music he’s playing. If you want a fun night out with your mates, look no further than Nottingham’s own Saint Raymond.
Saint Raymond performed at The Bodega on Saturday 4 July 2015.
We have a favour to ask
LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?