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Live: Hockley Hustle 2015: Part 2

20 October 15 words: Hannah Parker
We got as close to as much of the action as we could at this year's charity festival that took over Broad Street with a vengeance
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Broad Street in full swing. photo: Daniel Whiston

One of the most popular spots in town for some afternoon sun-time drinking, Hockley, was well and truly hustling at the weekend with one of Notts' favourite charity music festivals back for another year. With just under twenty bars, cafés and pubs involved, over two hundred acts, and street entertainment including fire poi, live painting and belly dancing, the atmosphere was buzzing. With music as diverse as swing bands to acoustic soloists, house DJs to rock bands, there was something for everyone at Hockley Hustle.

Rough Trade was one of the early starters with bands, and having their record store open downstairs made this one of the most popular venues of the day. One of the first acts, Whisky Stain unfortunately only had half the act to play, and being a duet, it meant that just one of the lads was representing the band. However, with his mix of guitar skills, strong vocals, and catchy drum beats, he owned the stage by himself, and could have fooled everyone into thinking he was a solo artist. Stomping his kick drum, every person in the crowd was stomping their feet along with him, and during the slower tracks, the room was silent, aside from his intense and beautiful-sounding talent.

As the day moved on, the crowds got bigger, people became tipsier, and the atmosphere became even more infectious. Joel Sarakula Band were another duet gracing Rough Trade's stage with simply a keyboard and drums. Their energetic and fun shirts matched their songs, and with the lead singer even ran out into the audience with a tambourine - it was hard not to smile through their entire set. The crowd even shouted for more when they finished; evidently the Hustlers couldn’t get enough of these quirky guys.

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Three Girl Rhumba. photo: Mace Maclean

However, the smiles didn’t stop as the next band up were Three Girl Rhumba, with more energetic and exciting music to keep everyone’s heads bopping from the previous act. Their fun and catchy lyrics make the group of four guys not only great to watch and listen to, you also can’t help but find yourself joining in by singing along, jumping around, or both. They certainly maintained the standard of the acts that had played before them, keeping the bar high for the ones that followed.

However, Rough Trade was only one of the many amazing venues of the day, so onwards we went. The Bodega hosted not one, but two stages, utilising both the upstairs venue and the bar downstairs. The latter was host to some of the best acoustic acts from Nottingham, Sam Jones being one of them. His well-known low and strong voice to match his incredible guitar playing proved you don’t need a full band to grab everyone in the bar’s attention. His one-liners and chatting to the crowd in between songs, and chilled out demeanour also helped to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

After Sam Jones, Scribble Victory - another relaxing acoustic act - got ready to grace the stage, however, due to the drummer getting stuck in Hereford, it was another case of one man having to perform a duet’s set. Yet again, the guitarist and vocalist could have convinced everyone that he was a solo act, as his guitar playing and soft, yet powerful, vocals filled the bar. The slow-tempo tracks with the softer vocals and guitar sounds acted as a perfect comparison to the previous act, and allowed everyone a chance to have a sit down, catch their breath, and listen to a more intense, yet easy-listening act.

Broadway became one of the busiest venues later on in the evening. Diversity was key to their line-up and unless you had a programme in your hand, you’d have no clue what type of band or act would be up on stage next. A swing band of four guys dressed head to toe in blues attire, Swing Gitan, were a great way to break up the event, and their tight sounds as a band had the whole room mesmerised. There were even couples and friends that got up, with or without their drinks, and danced along, which the band were clearly very grateful for, and helped to carry the fun of swing around the whole room. The dancing became so popular and enjoyable, that once they finished, the tables had to be moved out of the room for health and safety reasons.

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Nina Smith. photo: Daniel Whiston

Evidently, moving the tables was a great idea, as by the time Nina Smith hopped on stage with her band, the room was so packed, it seemed impossible to squeeze close enough to catch a glimpse of her. It was worth the lack of personal space, as her performance was just as beautiful as always. Her constant interaction with the audience kept everyone feel involved in the set, however far back you were, and it’s hard to believe such an incredible voice can come out of such a small lady. She owned it, and the whole stage. Her mixing up of instruments she was playing proved just how talented she is and why she’s become such a popular act, and not just around Nottingham.

On the other end of the scale, next to Broadway, the great beer pub known as Brewdog were hosting the BBC Introducing stage, which easily matched up to the other venues with the arguably more well-known bands. Bitter Strings, the all-male four-piece rock band, with their soul yet poppy edge showed everyone in the pub that it doesn’t matter what stage you’re on to rock the hell out of a whole room. Their tight sounds matched with the equally strong vocals of each member, in particular the lead singer. To say there were so many other acts at other venues playing at the same time, they drew a large crowd. 

The day/evening/night proved to be such a huge success, it’s understandable why the event seems to be getting busier each year. The great food, street acts, and beautiful autumn weather just added to the experience, and with the amount of venues and acts that are involved each year, it’ an event that’s not only something for the Nottingham music scene to be proud of, but Nottingham as a city. The reasonable price for tickets, at £10 for a wristband that gets you into every venue from 2pm until the very last act after midnight, makes this an event not to be missed.

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

Hockley Hustle website

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