Naima Bock at Rough Trade

I went into this gig blind. It was a bit of a random gig. I had a day off work and was in London and with Rough Trade gigs finishing relatively early, I thought I would catch some music before heading home. I hadn’t realised Naima is an ex-member of Goat Girl and to be honest, going on the music, I would never have guessed.

Signed to Sub Pop. Tonight was an album release show for Naima’s debut album, Giant Palm. A departure from the grungy sound of Goat Girl and a switch to alt-folk. The stage was rammed with musicians. Two violinists, flute, saxophone, plus the usual guitars and drums. I am not sure all were needed and at times, for me, the extra instruments distracted from the sound. Making the sound more bland and generic. But I am not sure Rough Trade is the best venue to hear the nuances all these instruments should bring to the music.

What came through on most songs was Naima’s vocals. They are not what I was expecting. Sung in a lower register, they initially put me off. The vocals don’t have the dynamics range of many folk singers. They all seemed a bit one tone. As I became accustomed to them, they took on a timelessness. They had an etherial quality as if they were wafting in from the 1960s. It was enchanting at times. I am not sure I will be rushing off to catch her again. But what I heard was enjoyable. Just not really my thing.

Set List

  • TOLL
  • 30 DEGREES