Live: YMCA Digital Presents The Young Creatives

Friday 02 May 2014
reading time: min, words
Nottinghamshire YMCA celebrate the end of their Young Creatives project with live performances at Nottingham Contemporary
The Gorgeous Chans

The Gorgeous Chans live at YMCA presents The Young Creatives - photo: Craig Farina

The Young Creatives are the YMCA's open access evening youth group, engaging in media and performing arts opportunities for young people aged thirteen to nineteen, and this is their annual showcase event.

Attended by a good crowd of participants, family, friends and other supporters, there's a wonderfully positive and supportive vibe about the whole event. Unequivocally focussed on the development of those young talents there's a genuine, warm atmosphere with lots of chatter, smiles and hugs. These guys are having a ball.

With headliners Josh Wheatley and The Gorgeous Chans to come later, the earlier part of the evening is a non-stop procession of less established, but enthusiastic, talented and confident performers. All held together by three young, very chatty, presenters from the YMCA digital radio station.

The evening kicks-off with a short spirited solo rap from Nikita followed immediately by our first taste of hip hop from Ddot aided by Kezz with three tunes establishing a rapport reminiscent of Tinie Tempah and DJ Charlesy.

Next up are Lower Elevation, a duo who deliver powerful ballads with their contrasting but strong voices. Ashley is on keyboards for two songs with Anna hitting some lovely, almost bird-like high notes. Their favourite is final song Is It You which, like all three tunes, is full of hooks, melody and a stirring chorus. Ones to keep an eye out for.

Time for a break from the music as we're treated to three entertaining film shorts; some captured at a recent visit to the National Media Museum in Bradford. The break also provides the opportunity to visit the 'fitness bike challenge' generously sponsored by Nottingham Forest.

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Orchestrate in action - photo: Bridie Squires

From here on in it’s music all the way. Orchestrate take to the stage with sax, flute, trumpet and drums, but subsequently supplemented by singer, rapper, guitar, bass and drums. They deliver a blend of cool jazz, catchy grooves and funk; and don colourful t-shirts for the final Go Team like tune.

Back to the rap, with Kezz now stepping forward to lead us through some edgy material such as In a Better Place, with Ddot now in support. Then A-Dee joins the boys on a couple of tracks including the catchy There is No One Like Me.

Natasha treats us to some sweet solo acoustic music and reveals a powerful, pop voice. She's then followed by Nina Smith and the Big Band. Nina, of course, is an established local talent in her own right with exciting new material; but tonight she plays keys in support of a stage full of Young Creatives’ vocal talent. Play No Games has a jaunty, reggae-like feel providing a canvas for assorted pop and rap vocal overlays. Second tune Tell Me really picks up the tempo and has the audience clapping along enthusiastically.

Be-spectacled and be-fringed Josh Wheatley has won his slot thanks to him winning at the Young Creatives Battle of the Bands competition at the Maze. Josh gives us a five song treat including songs from the EP that the YMCA helped him record. His quality is clear from the outset, characterised by intricate acoustic guitar work and a yearning, high register voice that perfectly delivers his carefully crafted, gentle songs. He finishes with EP title track Follow The Smoke. His easy, self-deprecating style between songs is endearing and should help keep his feet on the ground for the future success his talent deserves.

And finally, The Gorgeous Chans. It's been a long night but this final set makes it feel like it has just started. Having played at Splendour thanks to winning last year's Nusic Future Sound of Nottingham contest, they are the perfect talent to headline this eclectic evening. And these boys set about a short set that showcases their particular brand of joyous world-beat; all jerky rhythms, jangly guitars and Latino beats underpinning each melodic tune. They really are Nottingham's answer to Vampire Weekend.

Appearing tonight as a relatively compact six man outfit, they have a tight, clean sound dominated by guitar, but with some contrasting punchy sax to further fill out the sound. Oh and by the way, they actually are gorgeous - looking smart, combed and groomed, they'd be impossibly young if it weren't for the age of their predecessors. Highlights include San Sebastian and the earworm that is Night in Graceland, all delivered with an energetic stage presence.

A fitting climax to a great night of entertainment from Nottingham's future talent. All credit to the organisers and volunteers who enable these young people to develop and put on shows like this.

YMCA Digital Presents The Yong Creatives took place at Nottingham Contemporary on Wednesday 29 April 2014.

Nottinghamshire YMCA website

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