The era of the backing track is becoming the norm as the price of everything goes up. Sounds haunt the stage with no visible source but Billy Nomate’s energy beckons a new age of freedom.

Leaping from song to song, no time for chit chat, Nomates intentions were clear.  She knows who the enemy is. No need for anything more than a thirty after the three in the track length. Nail on the head stuff. Certainly for Hippy Elite, the chorus of voices singing along, there was agreement that that was what had been hit on the head.

All the things they do, I don’t disagree

Hug a tree for me, hug a tree for me

If I could only quit my job

I’d join the hippy elite

From her self-titled  debut album it was Nomate’s voice alone against the sparse pop, but for tracks from follow up EP Emergency Telephone she doubled alongside her prerecorded self. A new fortified vocal style tangoing in the ballad arena. 

It was a taxi dash to the airport, through an impressive collection of agitated pop. The siren wail of Heels grew wild amidst the shadowplay. The staccato lighting throbbed pleasantly behind the enigmatic performer. Nomates was missing no one on stage. Her moves are not unlike my own dancing in front of the mirror as a child. She made no efforts to curtail her excitement. 

The Village Underground is a curious setting. My own tardiness meant I had to crane horizontally to peer past a column in the wings. In the moments where I could not see Nomates I enjoyed the vibrations of the nodding crowd. This wasn’t just a nod of sonic acknowledgement, this was a “yeah I totally agree mate”. Nomates has taken much from the Sleaford Mods in her craft. Abstraction is not her bag. She doesn’t want to write the great universal anthem. If you get her reference points then the songs are for you and if you don’t then perhaps you are from a different life.

If this is to be the era of the backing track then Billy Nomates is a fine baptism for anyone who likes to watch drummers sweat or take pictures of pedal boards. If this set up allows her to put out music prolifically and experiment as she wants to then perhaps this can be the beginning of a fruitful period of alternative pop music.

Article by Patrick Malone

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