Nathan Ball @ Hare and Hounds, 5th December 2018

Mixing elements of indie, surf rock, electronic and acoustic, singer songwriter Nathan Ball curates rich records for the longing soul. Balancing the mixture of sonic elements Ball pairs an atmospheric ethos with meditative lyrics, combining to yield a dreamscape that you get lost in for hours.  On a rainy weekday evening Nathan Ball and band brought this ethereal vibe to a small room at Hare and Hounds, cutting through the bleak day to deliver a soul satisfying session. 

Number 7 of 42 shows, Nathan Ball is on a massive tour, deciding to stop in Birmingham for the first time in his career! As fans packed into a tiny room at the Hare and Hounds, the sound engineer blowing rings of smoke in the back, the lights cascaded warming the cold room with its red and blue haze. Nonchalantly Nathan Ball and his band sauntered onto the stage, an electric guitar breaking the silence. Out of the speakers came a yet to be released tune, washed in waves of electronic sound and minimal drums Nathan’s voice floated elegantly around the room a swelling sense of peace flooding in. 

Another new tune followed, expansive vocals mixing with the atmospheric instrumentals. Capturing the desperate fragility of life Nathan sang about being lost in his own mind, an all too common setting for many. As his band added in extra vocals a haunting mystique followed the cry for Heaven’s help. An overwhelmingly beautiful amalgamation of sound and lyrics, the record is a breathtaking reflection on life.  The new or at least yet to be released records were followed by fan favourite ‘Cold Hands.’ A sort of blurred reality the song mixes in a little surf rock with some indie flare, the drum kick giving the song a steady sonic energy. 

The mood continued its slight pick up, the next song, another yet to be released, bringing an uptempo energy. The song seems to quantify in a sonic vision what Spring is, like a flower emerging in the first light the song with its cascading guitar and peaked vocals has a bright and breathy feel. ‘Drifting’ brought about an immediate excitement for fans that whooped when the first chords began. The melodic dive into the depth of the human soul, ‘Drifting’ perfectly typifies Nathan’s unbelievable talent of pairing reflective lyrical content with atmospheric sound.   

After pouring himself some more hot tea from an onstage flask, a very rock n roll move, ‘Not Alone’ began. A song written for Nathan’s grandma the song is breathtakingly simple in its sonic structure, an eloquent singer songwriter type of record that stilled the room. Bathed in red and blue lights ‘Right Place’ picked up the energy. As fans raised their hands the crescendo of sound washed over, a mixture of indie and rock sounds cascading through the room. Poetic ‘Saving Grace’ and new single ‘All or Nothing’ rounded out the night. 

Nathan Ball is a special artist, without any fanfare or declaration of greatness he creates raw and honest songs that are vivid not only in their lyrical content but also in their transcendent sonic elements. With ease he commands the stage, taking his fans on a journey of consciousness ultimately bringing us to another dimension. At Hare and Hounds Nathan Ball transformed the evening, his special artistry on full display.  

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

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