Mount Nakara – an exciting 6 piece roots infused electronic dub band with a powerfully mesmerising original sound.
mount-nakara-white-bearOn the last day of September in Totnes Town when the nights were already drawing in and I’d spent too much of the week driving or sitting at the computer, I was tempted to give in, light the fire and stay home. But the lure of the white bear in the black mountains was compelling and I followed the Friday night flow up to the top of the hill to the Barrel House Ballroom. These days there are posters and fliers for gigs everywhere, but Mount Nakara’s stood out, and I also knew that what used to be Komodo had gone through more than just a name and logo change to re-emerge, and I wanted to see and hear the new line up of a band born from Totnes boy Zach Nolan.
The Barrel House has undergone its own revamping over the last 3 years, and whilst retaining it’s intimacy and warmth, now boasts a better ordered space for live music with a great PA which is operated by top sound engineers. That night the excellent Tommy was in control and at the ready before disappearing off on tour in Europe with another band. He, too, was excited to hear how the band had evolved.
The place filled quickly with an extraordinary mix of people of all ages, some loyal local fans and others who’d never seen the band live but who’d enjoyed the latest video so much that they wanted to hear more, and a smattering of people who simply trust the Barrel House programme to deliver.
The delivery was led by unassuming yet absolutely confident Zach, with a strong and compelling vocal (one of those voices that doesn’t need to shout to be heard or to get the passion through) and electric guitar. Strong bass, drums and keyboard provided the rhythmic, meaty bass back drop, anchoring the music while a tight brass section of saxes and trumpet fanned out a beautiful colourful peacock of rich sounds. The music delivered the strong reggae and baseline you’d expect from a band described as ‘roots infused electronic Dub’ but they didn’t take the easy route… instead they revealed an unexpected multi dimensional musicality, with occasional filmic soundscapes with a tinge of Snarky Puppy or even Hidden Orchestra. There was no predictability from song to song, each had a refreshingly different flavour but with something reliable in there too.
The BH ballroom floorboards were creaking with a sell out 90 pairs of feet dancing, and they were listening too… when the band paused for breath, so did the bodies for a split second before relaunching into the next phrase. These evenings usually draw a share of people who seem to have stepped off the street for a loud conversation or argument, but tonight 99% of the capacity crowd was engaged and in the groove.
I had thought this was another Totnes home grown band, but discovered that Zach is the only Totnes member, the others being from as far flung as Scotland and the Isle of Wight, Bath and finally Bristol, where they all met. Zach writes songs with a message of peace and perspective.
I’ve always been drawn to strong branding that feels authentic. Mount Nakara’s bear with the mountain is beautiful, impressive, and powerful, and this band IS all those things. ‘It’s time to take them seriously’ was Tommy’s verdict at the end of a great gig, and mine too. Mount Nakara has moved on from being a group that provides upbeat songs and music to dance to, to a finely honed, highly original and excellent band well worth seeing live.
Mount Nakara is a six piece band comprising Zach Nolan, Nino D’Angelo, Matt Edwards, Jake Edwards, Stacey Doherty and Nick Martin (joined by Chris North for the Barrel House Totnes gig).
Debut EP ‘SUMMIT’ out 6 Nov 2016
The band says: ‘Summit’ is our debut EP. And it is very much the product we set out to achieve a few year back. We wanted to start making music which could be listened to at home and
also be enjoyed live at a gig. So a balance between immersion/emotion and straight up danceability. We wanted to create something which felt visual and kind of epic
at times but also pretty deep and heavy at other times. We feel we finally achieved that with Summit.