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Opera North - The Little Greats

Live Music Review: Hockley Hustle 2016 - Part 1

12 October 16 words: Meriel Ledwith
"The signature mix of MC-ing, reggae, gypsy and ska ... has already earned them a following across the midlands"
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photo: Tom Morley

Early on in the in the intimate festival Onkaur played from the outdoor area of Homemade, a café venue that opened in HH’s debut year. Creamy vocals and syncopated reggae-pop made for a treat for festival early birds.

Singer songwriter Tiger is no stranger to Jam Café and her experience in singing at the venue certainly showed as her bluesy tones and beautiful lyrics resonated in the European style café bar. Heartfelt lullabies like Contender are what attracted the attention of the audience to the 18 year old performer. A pro in creating and performing the kind of songs to which you might have a superfluous crying session, but this wasn’t really appropriate at the time.

Musical theatre group Sheep Soup filled out the Broadway venue with their unique blend of jovial lyrics and impressive harmonies, playing songs from their show Mrs Green, named after the marijuana growing, arthritis suffering, Basford born community pillar brought to life by the eccentric Ben Welch. The collective preceded their pals Major Labia, a feminist comedy sketch show with the ovaries to challenge backward notions of sexuality and identity through vaginal comedy.

Ella Knight packed Suede Bar out to the brim and kept it that way throughout her set with the help of her catchy soul-trap tunes and a stunning vocal ability, totally justifying the sacrifice of personal space in the crammed bar. Songs like Mind Games showcased a smoky vocal talent way beyond her years and her refreshing R&B cover of Skepta’s Shutdown put a much needed twist on a song played so much in 2015 it practically became the gateway drug to grime for many perhaps not too familiar with the genre.

If for some reason you had made it all the way to 8:30pm without having had a bop, Lisa Hendricks & The Project-Us Band would have made you rethink your reserved approach to the day. It might have been barely pushing 9 degrees outside but the reggae jams and cocktails in Bad Juju’s upstairs venue would have had you feeling the Caribbean sun.

Revolution was the go to if at any point if you felt an energy dip that some street food wouldn’t remedy. Among others, Window Kid, Darkzy and Nastee Boi were on top form to represent the rising grime talent that Notts has to offer.

The heavily anticipated Unknown Era midnight set was the perfect way to finish a day of live music. The signature mix of MC-ing, reggae, gypsy and ska that has already earned them a following across the midlands, brought together an audience as extensive as their musical influences. The venue, which had to employ a one in one out system due to great popularity was ultimately graced with the sight of lead vocalist Kane Ashmore’s nipples - the seal of approvable for a proper good show according to vocalist Mollie. Gypsy hip-hop tracks such as The Misfit reiterated the notions of unity, inclusivity and community that had become very familiar by the end of the day through the great variety of artists on show and the charitable nature of the whole event.

As well as live performances Hockley was hustling and bustling with food stalls, a samba parade, street art and a silent disco. The success of the day should be put down to a
plethora of talent, selfless volunteers and a public willing to give up a clear head at work on Monday to celebrate what our city has to offer.

Hockley Hustle was at various venues in Nottingham on Sunday 9 October 2016.

Hockley Hustle website

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