Beat the Streets, the annual day festival raising money to improve the lives of homeless people in Nottingham, is back for 2020 on Sunday 26 January, and they’ve pulled out all the stops to kick-off the decade how they mean to go on. As well as bagging Jake Bugg for a performance slot, you can also catch the likes of award-winning folk singer and activist Grace Petrie and everyone’s favourite live karaoke band Bamalamasingsong. But enough about the big guns – our music editors have selected four lesser-known names that they think you should fight your way to the front to see...
Tricia Gardener has done a lot for Nottingham, often behind closed doors, but her Circle Of Light project took centre stage in the city last summer, with its effects lasting long beyond the six-week hols. This year’s Beat the Streets offers the chance to see the young people involved in the project and those who mentored them perform at Rock City.
If loaning your support to the Nottingham community isn’t reason enough to watch them play, we can promise you it’ll be packed full of heartwarming stuff. Circle of Light gave sixty people aged 18-25 the opportunity to get involved with music like never before – offering up an intensive training and songwriting programme that resulted in a professional album release and launch show. Alongside its obvious work experience aspect, supporting and changing attitudes towards mental health was also an important aspect of the project, with many participants confronting personal struggles and, as a result, leaving with lots of new confidence.
Tricia enlisted the help of twenty local music industry pros to tutor the youths – many of whom play regular gigs across Notts, including Beat the Streets, in their own right. Head mentor is none other than Scorzayzee, perfectly picked for overcoming his own battles with mental health as well as his success and experience making music, and he’s welcomed the role with open arms.
With Scorz’s influence, the tracks produced by the group naturally feature lots of hip-hop flavours, but the end result spans a whole range of sounds including electronic and acoustic pop, heavenly harmonised melodies, dark, dubby beats and fuzzy guitars. The final product is not to be sniffed at, with participant Mae Monypenny going on to win a Youth Music Award, and ongoing support from I’m Not From London ensuring these musicians' skills continue to be honed.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new pop queen on the block going by the name of BLLE. Drenched in nostalgia but with a refreshingly forward-thinking groove, BLLE took Notts by storm in 2019 with her irresistible pop output, and there’s clearly plenty more where that came from. Early bedroom-scrawled numbers have taken on a fuller form through bewitching live performances and songwriting partnerships; all of these steps a reflection of BLLE’s ambition and potential. Having already earned a top ten spot in the iTunes singer-songwriter chart for her debut EP, this is one Notts songstress you need to get in your ears, pronto.
Psychedelic indie-pop quintet Sancho Panza have gone from strength to strength recently, thanks to a string of juicy single releases and jaunty live performances to boot. Frontman Jack Burton’s mellifluous vocals meander their way through jagged yet dreamy hooks and riffs, accompanied by downright groovy instrumental passages. These confident and wry lyricists use their lush, airy sound as a vehicle for telling uncanny tales, and it’s totally captivating. A listen to their latest single Holy Motors makes you feel as though you’ve stepped inside a kaleidoscope, nostalgically constructed from sixties surf and nineties garage. Crafting a heady new aura, we’d definitely put money on 2020 being the year of Sancho Panza.
We spent last year watching these cool cats carve out a pretty darn voracious path for themselves so naturally we’re buzzing to see what 2020 has in store for all-girl four-piece Velvet Blush. United by a fiery knack for heavy, grunge-led anthems, the size of their sound is tantalising as heck, and visions of The Breeders and Hole permeate their live performances, particularly on reverb-laden single Drown. Our city is well and truly behind this lot – they scooped first place at Confetti’s Battle of the Bands competition last year, which secured them a hot spot on the Splendour line-up. They smashed it, along with all their other gigs in 2019, and so we highly recommend you jump in the mosh pit for their Beat The Streets debut.
Beat the Streets takes places across multiple venues on Sunday 26 January. All proceeds including bar, tickets and merch sales will go to Framework. Minimum donation tickets start from £7.
Beat the Streets website