Nick Hakim Sedates Brudenell’s Community Room, 15/2

The Brudenell’s Community Room often acts as a platform for local bands bidding to showcase their talent, but sometimes it welcomes acts and ambiences from further afield. With his exotic indie vibes, Nick Hakim brought the sounds of his own personal Washington-based dystopia to the streets of Hyde Park, in a performance that bewildered with its beauty.

Support act Jamie Isaac was a perfect specimen of palette preparation, as the London-based musician tested the waters with his minimalist music style, similar to Hakim’s in its shimmering tones. But not even Isaac could prepare the audience for how Hakim opened his set with a raw, room-subduing rendition of ‘Green Twins’. With his band arriving on stage one by one to add to the growing atmosphere, Hakim cut a peripheral figure stood on the left of the stage. In this liminal space, suspended between actor and audience, we didn’t seem to observe Hakim in a traditional sense. Instead, he used his self-isolation to conduct proceedings with a tantalising sincerity.

I was intrigued to see how Hakim’s album, Green Twins, would play out on stage, but it worked so well. The elusive and ethereal nature of the album translated into a tight and crisp set, especially in the drumbeat to ‘The Want’, which sounded gorgeously organic with its emphasised, analogue drum beat. With every melody differing to its counterpart on the album, Hakim had a way of singing that felt spontaneous with every syllable. And although this made it difficult to sing along to, you truly listened. As such, it was a performance defined by contrasts. Sometimes Hakim sang with such intimacy you could barely discern the words transpiring between mouth and microphone.

A man of few words, Hakim mumbled thankyous and private jokes between songs. Nevertheless, when the music was playing, Hakim was in his element, his body moving as if riddled by inaudible gunshots, mirroring the tremolo of his guitar. Running around the room during the encore, Hakim finished his set with the audience located firmly in the palms of his delicately clapping hands.

Never have I been to a gig so wonderfully withheld, so beautifully refined.


Robert Cairns

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