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17 Notts Bands You May Have Forgotten

6 April 16 words: Jared Wilson

Years before Jake Bugg, Saint Raymond and Sleaford Mods broke, these artists were all causing a scene

1. Punish The Atom

Shouty punk band fronted by Music Exchange head honcho Joey Bell and managed by Rescue Rooms supremo Anton Lockwood. They had a few big moments in the noughties, supporting Death From Above 1979 and playing SXSW Festival in Texas. Members were later seen in La La Lepus and Whitefinger. They also reformed briefly in March 2016 for Anton’s 50th birthday bash at The Maze.

LeftLion interview with Punish The Atom from back in the day

2. Bent

Electronic duo of Neil "Nail" Tolliday and Simon Mills gained huge critical acclaim for their debut album Programmed to Love in 2000. The duo released four albums, as well as a best of in 2013. Their 2003 Fabric Live 11 DJ Mix Album is still revered by househeads. Mills has since made music as a solo artist under the name Napoleon and Tolliday still DJs out as NAIL.

LeftLion interview with Bent from back in the day 

3. Six By Seven

Indie rock band formed in the nineties who were tipped alongside early Radiohead and allegedly played their first ever gig at the Old Angel. They took influence from bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3 and released three albums on Beggars Banquet. Singer Chris Olley has since worked on his solo project Twelve, whilst drummer Chris Davis went on to form Spotlight Kid.

LeftLion interview with Six By Seven from back in the day

4. Pitchshifter

Five-piece who formed in 1989 and specialised in industrial metal and downtuned drum machines. Their career high-point was probably the song Genius, which went big on the soundtrack to the Mortal Kombat live action movie in 1998. They announced plans for a reunion on their website in 2011, but nothing seems to have come of it since. Their website has ceased to exist since then too.

LeftLion interview with Pitchshifter from back in the day

5. Tindersticks

Alt-rock five-piece formed back in 1991 (three years before Jake Bugg was born) from the ashes of a previous band called Asphalt Ribbons. They’ve since recorded eleven studio albums on various labels and, despite leaving the city together years ago, win the award for longevity as they're still going.

LeftLion interview with Tindersticks

6. Crazy P

Formed in 1995 by Chris Todd and Jim Baron who met at Nottingham Trent Uni, this electronic group were originally known as ‘Crazy Penis’ but later changed their name to something more family friendly. They’re still going strong too, with their latest album Walk Talk Dance Sing released last year.

LeftLion interview with Crazy P

7. The Hellset Orchestra

This is what happens when a bunch of well-trained musicians decide to form a macabre ska-rock band. The band, fronted by singer Michael Weatherburn, included a cello, two violins and a Hammond organ. Fun times! Several of the members can now be seen rocking out once a month as the house band at BamaLamaSingSong.

LeftLion interview with Hellset from back in the day

8. Outdaville

The ultimate rap supergroup from Big Trev’s CRS studio which included ScorZayZee, Karizma, C-Mone, Tempa, Sophie Johnson-Hill, Lee Ramsay, Mizz Red, Nick Stez, DJ Fever and more. The outfit eventually disbanded, but their legacy remains in the local hip-hop scene having contrinuted to dozens of other acts and inspired hundreds of others.

LeftLion interview with C-Mone from back in the day

9. Late of the Pier

Four-piece dance-punk band from out near Castle Donington way (so technically Leicestershire, but let's not be pedantic) whose debut album Fantasy Black Channel was released on Parlophone and produced by Erol Alkan. They then completely disappeared, prompting a #BringBackLateOfThePier campaign on Twitter led by Ghostpoet. Singer/ guitarist Sam Eastgate continues as LA Priest, bass player Andrew Faley went on to manage Kagoule, guitarist and vocalist Sam Potter joined Swimming and drummer Ross Dawson died in tragic circumstances last year. 

LeftLion interview with Late of the Pier

10. Scout Niblett

Emma Louise Niblett originally played in Nottingham as Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, in honour of the protagonist in Harper Lee's 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. She studied art at Nottingham Trent University in the early noughties and spent many years hawking her guitar around local open mics. She eventually upped sticks to the USA and went on to work with the likes of Nirvana producer Steve Albini . She's still going out there and released her latest album It's Up to Emma in 2013.

LeftLion interview with Scout Niblett from back in the day

11. Amusement Parks on Fire

At a time when acts of arson was a trend for band names (see The Arcade Fire, Alexisonfire etc) this Notts rock band fronted by Mike Feerick looked like they could top all of them. Their self-titled debut album was released on Invada Records, a label run by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, before they were scooped up by V2 Records, home to The Stereophonics, Elbow and Bloc Party among others. Feerick now plays with melodic rockers JCDX.

LeftLion interview with APOF from back in the day

12. Little Barrie

‘Little’ Barrie Cadogan was born and bred in Beeston. He’s gone on to release four albums with his band (produced by the likes of Edwyn Collins and Dan The Automator) as well as writing the theme tune to Netflix’s Better Call Saul. Oh and as if that’s not enough he’s also a touring member of Primal Scream too... bleddy well done lad!

LeftLion interview with Little Barrie from back in the day

13. The Smears

All-female power trio made up of Maimee V (guitar & vocals), Miss C (bass) and C Doll (drums). As the foremost local pioneers of Grunk (half grunge, half punk... geddit) they were a regular fixture at local gig and festivals for most of a decade, as well as supporting the likes of The Buzzcocks. They split in 2014 and Miss C and C Doll went on to form You Want Fox.

LeftLion interview with The Smears from back in the day

14. Shide Boss

Signed to Sony and with the definite niche of singing in Punjabi as well as English, Shide now has an audience of millions. Not bad for a lad who grew up in Lenton and got his big break by winning a contest on Hollyoaks.

LeftLion interview with Shide Boss

15. Royal Gala

Ska funk band created by guitarist James Waring to fill a Neville Staples (The Specials) support slot at The Maze. They went on to become one of the most fun and messy touring acts the city has ever seen. Stand-out moments included two legendary Hockley Hustle gigs, performances at Boomtown, Shambala, Lost Vagueness and Mo-Fest and several amazing gigs at their spiritual home The Maze. Waring went on to form the Invisible Orchestra, vocalist Lou Barnell formed Laxmi and several of the rest of the members can be found in Bendigo band.

LeftLion interview with Royal Gala from way back when

16. Bob Tilton

Formed in 1993 and disbanded in 1999, in that time they managed to fit in two EPs, two albums and a John Peel session. The band, named after an American evangelist, were lauded by the NME and received many words of praise, including a Single Of The Week, despite refusing all interviews and forbidding their labels to send out review copies. In January 1999 they were on the line-up for an NME Brats show alongside Mogwai, Clinic and Bonnie Prince Billy.

Chris Summerlin on Bob Tilton

17. Wolves! (Of Greece)

Wolves! (of Greece) played their first gig on November  2000 as support to ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at the Boat Club. They released their first record, a single-sided 10" vinyl only release via Gringo Records in April 2001. The band included members from other bands including Bob Tilton, Heresy, I am Spartacus, Reynolds, Schema and The X-Rays. They folded in 2005 and guitarist Chris Summerlin went onto play with Lords, Grey Hairs and Kogumaza. 

Interview with Chris Summerlin from back in the day

Please note this list was never meant to be conclusive and is not in any order of hierarchy. Have we missed out your favourite old school Notts band? If so then tell us about them or on our Facebook and Twitter so we know better next time...

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