Hosting Spector was a real coup for Spanky van Dyke’s, a Nottingham pub trying to establish itself on the city’s vibrant gigging circuit. Spec-tacular stuff.

Venue: Spanky van Dyke’s

Date: October 4, 2013

This is an odd gig. Spector have enjoyed a spell of notoriety since their debut record, ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, was released in August last year. So the fact they’re playing a tiny stage – and by tiny, think really, really small – on the second floor of a student pub is a little perplexing. It’s not an intimate ‘Acoustic Set’ or a hush hush ‘Secret Show’ – it’s their usual full-on impassioned slender-pop. So kudos to Spanky’s for nailing this one.

Intimacy is an intrinsic factor in this gig. Front man and geek-chic style icon Frederick MacPherson is happy to chat to fans and pose for photographs pre-gig and flings himself crowd-wards during almost every song. Although he has little choice given the lack of room to manoeuvre.

So squeezed into their confined space, the band launch into ‘What You Wanted’. It’s pomp and effervescence ignites the crowd. The floor literally wobbles as the throng bounce to its blistering indie-pop.

On record, they are alarmingly close to FM-pop, with a saccharine-like sweetness just the right side of – whisper it – The Hoosiers.

But live, their muscles are flexed, boundaries are broken and they are indie-pop heavyweights. Sonically powerful, they’re Roxy Music meets Pulp; they’re The Vaccines in a state of flux, and on ‘No Adventure’, they switch from bright, spiky indie bluster to The Damned’s dark vamp-rock.

That Vaccines reference is heard loudest on the new defiant scorcher ‘Reeperbahn’ and their major hit, ‘Chevy Thunder’, which is immense. In fact ‘Chevy Thunder’ and its chart-humping cohort ‘Celestine’ are met with the most fervour, and again, how the floor hasn’t given away and we’ve not ended up in a tangled mess in the bar below is a mystery such is the pressure being exerted onto the structure.

Elsewhere, MacPherson’s deference and wit is entertaining and engaging throughout, with a tale of how they’ve stolen Daft Punk’s lighting (a gag about the rather minimalist, 80s disco-esque stage lights that switch colours lazily behind the band) and a contrived clumsy reference to “your local football team, Tottenham Forest is it?” being the comedy picks. 

Before they leave is, MacPherson promises that the new record is imminent, before the majestic sing-along, chant-like anthem of ‘Never Fade Away’ ends proceedings in some style.

Spanky van Dyke’s doesn’t quite know what hit it tonight. But we do. It was Spector’s impressive wall of sound.


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