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LIVE: Amazement Festival 2013

18 September 13 words: Graeme Smith
The Maze takes over Nottingham Racecourse for the newest music festival of the Summer.
Flying Robot Pimp

Flying Robot Pimp - photo by Martyn Boston

This was the first of most likely many installments of Amazement Festival and was run in aid of homeless charity Framework, NG7 Food Bank and post-traumatic stress charity The Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund.

The weekend started with some cheerful, immature indie rock courtesy of Flying Robot Pimp on the main stage who opened their set with a song about stalking people’s hot friends on Facebook instead of going out. The tone had been set. A further infectious singalong tune about pie was enough to ensure that these guys get a special mention for being one of the most entertaining bands of the weekend.

Although they were up against stiff competition from Big Rhino on the Kerblammo stage. These guys have only been knocking around the Notts music scene since last year, but have already got appearances at Dot 2 Dot and Waterfront under the belts that hold up their cut-off denim shorts. It’s impossible not to smile and have a cheeky dance to their surfer gypsy pop rock (with probably a few other genres thrown in here and there). The most striking thing about the band is how much they clearly love to perform, always a must for any band worth their salt.

On the main stage were up and coming hip-hop collective The Afterdark Movement. Made up of stunning singer Natalie, hype MC Bru-C, and a host of instruments, these guys proved experts at drawing and working up a crowd, particularly during their groovy opener Six Minds.

94 Gunships

94 Gunships - photo by Martyn Boston

The rest of the evening was spent upstairs in front of the DIY stage, where the south had clearly risen again as a couple of acts with Americana influences took the stage, starting with 94 Gunships. As soon as they dived headfirst into their set of rousing blues, only one thought entered my head: “why on earth haven’t I ever watched these guys play before?”.

Marita and the Peaches kept the atmosphere going with their infusion of RnB and reggae, fronted by Marita’s powerful voice and backed up with some unique tribal drumming.

Cecille Grey brought the evening at the DIY stage to a close with a radiant set of their dreamy folk pop, including tracks of their recently released You. Me. EP and some older stuff too.

The good times kept rolling on Sunday afternoon, firstly on the sunny acoustic stage where Ben Haynes played some delightful cover versions of Cecilla and An Englishman in New York, and then it was off to the Kerblammo stage for Jake Buckley. Jake is the lead guitar of Nottingham band The Money, and his solo act can only be described as comedy folk infused with guitar shredding. A grin-worthy set including an epic blues ballad entitled Who Drank All My Wine?

My weekend ended with Great British Weather playing their usual quality set of post-punk math rock. The Foals meets The Smiths, with Morrissey-esque poetic lyrics sung over layers of guitar from grumbling bass to ringing high notes, exemplified by anthemic tunes Phil Taylor and Snakes and Ladders.

Despite some well-publicised shafting of a charity festival by one or two visiting bands that shall remain nameless, The Maze put on a cracking weekend of local talent.

Amazement Fesitval took place at Nottingham Racecourse on Saturday 7 September and Sunday 8 September.

Amazement Festival Website

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