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Live: Hockley Hustle 2015: Part 1

13 October 15 words: Paul Klotschkow
On Sunday, Broad Street got taken over by loads of local musicians in a charitable frenzy so we went down to check it out
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photo: Gemma O'Brien

Starting the day in Rough Trade with Babe Punch, who power through a choice selection of fizzy and fired-up cover versions that show where this young five-piece band are coming from musically - whether it’s Lush, The Cure (a cover of Just Like Heaven feels like it’s held together by sheer enthusiasm alone), or Kasabian - sandwiched between their two self-penned releases to-date, Fixation and Snake Tongue. Seeing a band play with such honest joy and zeal is not only refreshing, but it also makes them one of those most exciting and fun bands to watch in Notts at the moment. A total rrriot.

I’d not had the chance to see Whisky Stain before, and so was looking forward to staying at Rough Trade to catch their set. As luck would have it I still don't really see them - unfortunately drummer Luke has had to drop out. It doesn’t matter too much though, as frontman and guitarist Rob entertains us with his affable charm and foot-stomping blues-rock, compensating for the lack of drummer by hitting a kick drum with his foot. Played with passion, I’ve got to make sure I see the full band experience next time.

Needing some lunch before I pass out somewhere along Broad Street, I’m entertained by a group of belly dancers performing on the corner of the road as I chow down my panini in the window of Hartley’s. Then it’s back to Rough Trade for the pounding dark disco of I Am Lono. Playing tracks from their recently released EP, it looks like they’ve got the entire contents of Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang studio up on stage with them, but they make a glorious racket with it that touches upon early The Cure, Depeche Mode, and all kinds of dark eighties pop.

Carrying on the tradition of grown men yelping and doing that kind of cry-shouting over incessant emotive guitars started by fellow Nottingham band Bob Tilton in the nineties are Bluebird. They play with a rawness and energy that makes for an engaging performance over at The Bodega.

The Loftouse has slowly crept up on me as being one of my favourite venues in the city and it’s totally rammed out for Crosa Rosa. I’m pretty sure I’ve written this elsewhere on this site, but there’s been a resurgence of really great, interesting bands in Nottingham over the past two or three years - bands forging their own paths with a certain type of spirit - and part of that group is this trio. Mixing grunge, garage rock, with ample amounts of weirdness, noise and well-crafted songwriting, you can see why the room is packed out with people craning their necks to see them.

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Grey Hairs. photo: Martyn Boston

Speaking of noise, the four-piece Grey Hairs blast out slabs of thick, heavy riffs, with James Finlay’s howling vocals wailing over the top puncturing the wall of fuzzy guitars and thumping drums. It’s a thrilling set that doesn’t take its foot off the pedal once. A definite eardrum battering from a band that play as well as they are loud.

After the double-whammy of Crosa Rosa and Grey Hairs, Keto’s sumptuous sounds give us a respite from all the volume - although this could be in part due to the sound engineering doing a runner just before their set. The Lofthouse is gently serenaded by a set featuring recent singles Change and Otherside, plus a a couple of new songs, one of which has a sort of chiming, compressed guitar sound that stands out from the pack.

Arguable the strongest Hockey Hustle in terms of line-up and organisation with every venue rammed with outstanding talent. As I was discussing with a friend earlier in the day, I’ve learnt that you shouldn’t plan ahead who you want to see at these kind of events. One, you’ll end up tiring yourself out dashing from one venue to the next like a lunatic; and secondly, it soon starts to become pretty tedious as stage times over run and you bump in to friends you want to chat to, meaning your plan ends up going down the drain anyway. With that in mind, it did mean that I got to miss out on a few things that I’m gutted about - especially the likes of Nina Smith and Scorzayzee at Broadway, either of the Mannequin sets, and the Clash Money rap battles at Bad Juju.

The Bodega is my final stop for the night. Weary feet and legs have their weight gently lifted temporarily by Her Name Is Calla. The band mix waves of crashing post-rock and gorgeous heart-wrenching ballads, while their songs are full of slow-burning build-ups up that swell out in to large grandiose epics.

Then it’s time for the not-so-secret headliners, Kagoule. Fresh from gigging in New York and touring Europe in support of their debut album Urth, while more recently they were part of Sleaford Mods’ triumphant homecoming show at Rock City on Friday night. It seems as if all that recent activity is paying off as the band sound tighter and brighter than ever before, and their jagged sound is razor sharp. They play a killer new song called Pharmacy too. I’ve not seen them play with this much obvious glee for a long time and the crowd were clearly feeling it too. There’s a lot of love in the room for this band tonight and there’s no better way to end what has been a great day of music.

Hockley Hustle 2015 took place at various venues around Nottingham on Sunday 11 October 2015.

Hockley Hustle website

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