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LIVE: Future Sound of Nottingham 2011

15 July 11 words: Sarah Morrison
"All six acts were so on top of their game that they all deserve the maximum amount of kudos"
The Austin Francis Connection, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

The Austin Francis Connection, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

Every Nottingham musician who’s ever dreamed a dream will have pictured playing the main stage at Rock City, and on Sunday night half a dozen of them got to live it. Six top-notch Notts acts, six expert judges, three lots of tinnitus-inducing audience voting and one prize (opening the main stage at Splendour, Nottingham’s biggest music festival) - this was the final of the Future Sounds of Nottingham 2011.

Harlikings, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

Harlikings, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

First to take the stage were bright young Beeston-based things HarliKings, who dove into their three-song set of anthemic pop-rock with strong vocals, late-era Brit Pop vibes and solid, tight rhythms. With a clearly strong following in the house, they got a great reaction and set the bar for the evening’s musical entertainment.

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Edi Johnson rocks the house (but gently), FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

Next up were acoustic comedy hip-hoppers The Austin Francis Connection, who were as engaging and hilarious as they were genuinely talented. A three-piece encompassing acoustic guitar, seriously slick beatboxing and sick yet terribly polite rapping from the pasty-white lovechild of Dr Dre and Carlton Banks in a tweed jacket and a dickie bow. Bloody marvelous.

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Opie Deino, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

Opie Deino was up next, who looked mildly terrified until she strummed her first note - from then on it was confidence all the way and with very good reason. From receiving a frankly rubbish reception in the initial audience vote (before we’d heard any music), she enjoyed a rapturous reception once people had heard her honey-drenched voice over touchingly simple folk guitar, her vocals a glorious mix of inherently vulnerable and undeniably powerful. Music to melt hearts and stop buses.

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The Money, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

Following her The Money took the stage, delivering a juggernaut of fantastically crafted, polished pop rock from start to finish. These guys are all seasoned musicians and boy did it show; their set was a delicious mix of old school rock and roll swagger, confidence and truly infectious hooks (listen to Feel Like You Saved Me and I guarantee you’ll be singing ‘Ba-ba-baada’ for fricking days).

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Kurt Martinez, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

When Kurt Martinez rocked up to the stage in full-on Top Gun get-up we knew we were in for something a little interesting. A one man band spewing 80s synthy goodness from every orifice, he gave a brilliantly well executed set of danceable electro numbers that you couldn’t help but smile and dance like an idiot to. Bollocks to Blue: we need to start a petition to get this guy in for our next Eurovision entry.

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Tastebuds, FSN 2011. Pic: David Baird

The last installment in this veritable orgy of Notts-based talent were cabaret rock outfit Tastebuds, who delivered a joyful set of upbeat rhythms, glee-inducing harmonies and unique lead vocals from a charming top-hatted frontman. Wonderfully chaotic, fun, full of dastardly hijinks and yet perfectly in sync, they were a raucous and rauchy end to the evening.

And now, the results...

In third place were... HarliKings
In second place... Tastebuds
And in the coveted, priceless and Splendour-opening top spot were... The Money!

Now there always has to be a winner, but all six acts were so on top of their game that they all deserve the maximum amount of kudos. It was a fantastic night that showcased exactly why Nottinghamshire has THE BEST independent music scene in the country, and everyone involved - musicians, organisers and crew alike - should be giving themselves enormous pats on the back for being part of such a proud display of Notts talent.

Congratulations to all the acts, big up to The Money, and see you at Splendour in two weeks...

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