London-born and ex Star Wars prop-maker, Elliot Gleave aka Example returned to Nottingham after a near two year absence in a night that perhaps spoke greater volumes than he perhaps intended. His last show, a sell out Capital FM Arena show, this time around was a near sold-out show at Rock City, which whilst a venue steeped in history, arguably maps the electronic artist’s slight fall.
Before all criticism or critique, it should be pointed out here that Example delivers all he promises to his fans; from start to finish he gives a rapturous performance to a room that appears to be crammed full of people that adore him. Where other similar artist perhaps fall is in their inability to command a stage flanked by a supporting band. This however proves to be no such problem for Example, who jumps in unison with his sweaty crowd to his opening trio of songs which features Stay Awake with its feel-good, plucked synths and sing-along choruses and Say Nothing and Watch The Sun Come Up. I am immediately struck by his ability to command the attention of all, with the energy from the crowd moving and fluctuating as if attached to a string upon the singer’s finger; the gig is at times deafening.
From here on in however, we see the obvious failings of Example and perhaps, why the undeniably charming London man is no longer filling arenas. Throughout his set, whilst there are moments in which he provides the things that gained him notoriety in the first place - infectious chorus and bouncy, dance-inspired electronics - they are few and far between. Indeed, in the case of All The Wrong Places, from new album Live Life Living we are met with trashy Clubland-esque electronics which comes across garish in every sense. The whole ‘Clubland’ aspect of his music is naturally appealing to many, but in terms of Example, his failure to sustain his relevance as an electronic pioneer is totally and utterly unsurprising. Indeed, the gig is riddled with tacky moments in which Example seemingly rushes through a track so as to reach some kind of drop to trigger a response from his crowd, and in essence, these highs are all too easy to execute from an artistic perspective and all too familiar from a critical perspective.
Example will always have a career in music, as ultimately he taps into a genre of music which has always stood the test of time. He has songs in the form of Kickstarts and Changed The Way You Kissed Me that will always bring the crowds in, and indeed, are enjoyable in this particular outing. Ultimately however, his change from pioneer to reactionary in his music will confine him within an unambitious cycle that unfortunately, can only get worse.
Words - Matt Taylor