George Evelyn aka Nightmares On Wax is known for his hip-hop, dub, soul and reggae traversing DJ sets and productions. His newest album release, Shape The Future, sees him explore his trademark sound, dabbling with dreamy and smokey psychedelic elements, which made a tour to showcase the record even more enticing.
Taking his pew on a couch in the middle of the stage at the Invisible Wind Factory, a multi-use warehouse venue on Liverpool's Docklands, Evelyn settled in for one of the biggest dates of the album tour (a sold out date we might add). The towering ceiling and creative immersive elements of the venue set the epic scene, but it was the set up on stage which tied everything together with the much anticipated record release.
The furniture created an intimate house party atmosphere, almost as if we'd be invited to a private listening. Set up with his band and trippy visuals behind him, he began to proudly work his way through the album.
The longest-serving musician on the prestigious Warp label highlighted the main themes of Shape The Future, which was released on the imprint - ecological, environmental and spiritual aspects of the world. The album's title track resonated as he explored the stage, chanting about positive thinking.
The sound could have been better within IWF. It was too easy to hear the person next to you discussing their plans for the next day when you were stood in the middle of the room, which was practically the only place to stand because it was so busy. It meant missing out on the fuller, rich sounds which are present when you listen to the album through louder, clearer audio.
'Gotta Smile' with it's electric guitar and higher energy feel got the crowd moving, before he merged back into uptempo, contemporary R&B. Evelyn's mighty 2006 track 'You Wish' sounded as good as ever, the plucking chords and darting piano taking centre stage; it was a a pleasure watching an artist who is completely comfortable and confident with his craft.
As an artist who creates sensational background music, that works in most environments, it unfortunately felt a little bit too background at a gig where it should have been the focus.