LIVE: Sancho Panza @ The Bodega, Nottingham: 28.02.20

Psychedelic-pop quintet Sancho Panza take on their headline homecoming show at Nottingham’s legendary Bodega.

The band, formed by Notts-based musicians Cameron Harris, Harry Taylor and Callum Jones, features members who have cut their teeth in midlands-based psychedelic-rock bands, The Lizards and The Hijinks. Taking the last year-and-a-half to come into their own, rebranding from their incipient days as The Sel Foundation and songs about fish fingers, Sancho Panza have garnered a cult following, playing sold-out shows nationwide.

Support kicks off with Liverpool-based 4-piece The Letrasets, who execute their short but very on-brand indie-infused set of bangers with an invigorating zeal. Combining traditional high-energy drums with catchy chorus’ and guitar hooks, the group leave the rowdy Friday night crowd suitably warmed up.

As fellow Phlexx record signees, it only seems fitting for Sancho Panza to have invited Nottingham’s beloved indie-rockers, Soft Girls & Boys Club, to play. The 5-piece burst into their signature groove-fuelled dream-pop, infusing deep, sometimes dark lyrics with glimmeringly up-beat rhythms, to compose a psych-tinged oxymoron. Debuting a mix of new and established material which carefully treads the line between wonky indie-pop and lo-fi slacker rock, Soft Girls & Boys Club bring their energetic set to a close with a throwback to their mellifluous 2018 single ‘Treadmill’.

The venue is now packed to the rafters as Sancho Panza ascend to the stage to a roaring reception from the crowd. Soft Girls & Boys Club’s Sam Potts joins them on keys, Starwheel’s Luke Charlston on guitar, and local music mogul Jimi Mack even making an appearance; the band successfully cram several of themselves onto the tiny stage in order to create a dynamically sonorous live experience.

Cutting the anticipation with unreleased track ‘Hydro Hotel’, the room begins to sway as the crowd is lured into a transient daze by the band’s skilfully woven hazy riffs before being roused by frontman Jack Burton’s contrastingly clear vocals and Taylor’s funky bass lines as the band ease into acclaimed single ‘The 2200 Year Event’.

Taking the opportunity to address the crowd between songs, Burton, a natural born frontman, offers charismatic comicality, “We’re Sancho Panza from Peru.” “Hola!” quips Jones in response before the band break into the charmingly woozy emanation of ‘Rearrange The Diamonds’.

Blending elements of shoegaze, indie-pop, psychedelia and Britpop to accumulate a vastly diverse catalogue of bangers, it’s easy to see why the band have packed out venues around the country. Laidback grooves ‘It Could Take Us Days and Nights’ and ‘Call Yourself a Taxi’ would not sound amiss on internationally successful psych-pop album ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ whereas the tripped-out ‘Age of Gold’ is a kaleidoscopic dream-pop anthem in a realm of its own.

The band slow down their prismatically intoxicating set with slacker-rock track ‘Holy Motors’ before ending the show with ‘Pamplona’ to a thunderous applause. When implored for an encore, Burton simply states “we have no more songs to play” before inviting the entire venue to join them for some Friday night revelry and celebrations.

Words & Pics Laura Phillips