Monday, 21 April 2014
The annual Hit The Deck festival, held over four venues in the city centre, promised a packed day of punk, rock and metal, and boy did it deliver.
With plenty of Nottingham talent on show, HTD spans all of the top local venues; The Forum, Stealth, Rescue Rooms and of course, the world famous Rock City on Talbot Street. Boasting 100 bands there was something for everyone.
Our first band of the day, local punk influenced rockers Eva Plays Dead, performed in the basement at Rock City. Front-woman Tiggy did a superb job of getting the audience pumped up for the rest of the day. Her haunting vocals and strong stage presence commanded the whole room's attention. With great songs and four supremely talented musicians, they will definitely be going places in rock.
Next we headed upstairs to Rock City's Main Room, to check out Australian band Hands like Houses. Hailing from Canberra, they play melodic punk influenced rock with thought-provoking lyrics and an energetic stage show. The crowd reaction was huge, especially for 2pm on a Sunday afternoon – a fact gratefully noted by their lead vocalist, a charismatic and quite dashing expert on working the microphone.
The festival itself was packed with young and trendy fans, with plenty to catch their eye. Stalls from the scene's top brands such as Atticus Clothing lined Talbot street, with a marquee pitched next to the Black Cherry Lounge selling merchandise from all of the day's bands. The layout was well arranged, allowing fans and bands to mingle and shop in a friendly, stress-free atmosphere.
Having spent some time over at Rock City, it was time to head over to The Forum to see exciting new band People on Vacation. Consisting of singer-songwriter Ryan Hamilton and Bowling for Soup front-man Jaret Reddick, POV are in the UK touring their new material in a full band set-up for the first time. Backed by local boys Michael Richards and Rob Lane (of Teenage Casket Company and Straight to Video fame) Jaret and Ryan's new material went down a storm with the gathered masses. Highlights for me were Lonely Fish (from POV album “The Summer and the Fall”) and an updated rendition of Bowling For Soup's The Bitch Song. Finishing with a gentle cover of Slade's Cum on Feel the Noise, Jaret suggested we stay to watch their touring buddies Patent Pending, and boy, are we glad we did.
Patent Pending turned it up to 11 – no, 12 – with an 8 song half hour set that had The Forum roaring from start to finish, including a “crowd surfing championship” match, male on male intimacy, a guitarist soloing from atop the bar on the opposite side of the room from the stage and a front-man who brings to mind Freddy Mercury when it comes to crowd participation. They have to be seen to be believed. Not usually one for listening to hype, now I've seen them with my own eyes, I have to say it's well deserved.
After a break for dinner, we went back over to Rescue Rooms, where Kris Rowe, lead singer of The Ataris, was preparing for an intimate acoustic set in the bar area. Usually fronting a hard rock band, Kris seemed just at home with nothing but a microphone and a guitar to keep him company. Rowe performed lots of Ataris hits, including a stripped down version of Don Henley's Boys of Summer which was a hit for the band in the early 2000s, on their legendary So Long, Astoria album. I was impressed with Rowe's humility, professing genuine gratitude that so many people had chosen to watch him when there were still bands on in five other rooms. Also impressive was his ability to let the crowd choose the songs he played, rather than relying on a prepared set-list. Kris and the Ataris are working on some more acoustic material to be released this year, which will definitely be worth listening to based on tonight's performance.
As the evening went on, the crowds seemingly began to concentrate into one huge mass. Queues started to form outside Rock City, with doormen frantically checking wristbands. It was head-liner time. This year's head-liners: New York City's Brand New. Brand New have a strong following since their formation in Long Island in 2000, and at Hit The Deck 2014 the were undoubtedly the main draw. Their 90 minute set was peppered with hits and fan favourites such as Gasoline, Millstone, and Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don't. Front-man Jesse Lacey was the latest in a long day of incredible front-people, with the crowd fixated on him and his crew from beginning to end.
As the lights went up, a tired, sweaty, but fulfilled crowd made their way outside into the night air, completely spent but completely satisfied. Hit The Deck 2014 was amazing, and based on the smiles and excited chatter as everyone prepared to make their way home, 2015 will be even better.
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
If you think you're having a bad day then you really need to go and see The Play That Goes Wrong. Like most bad days, it all starts optimistically enough with Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society enthusiastically staging their amateur production of period murder-mystery drama The Murder At Haversham Manor with an endearingly hammy cast peppered with talcum-powdered-aged hair, notes written on hands and a lovably belief-suspending actor who claps along delightedly whenever the audience applauds him. But after an unfortunate false start, followed by various unlucky mishaps, every few seconds in the play something - or several simultaneous things- go wrong. And confidentially, it's probably the funniest catalogue of absolute unmitigated ill-fated and downright dangerous disasters you'll ever see in your life.
With valiant determination to Stick To The Script Whatever Happens whilst every conceivable nightmare -plus a hundred more problems you wouldn't dare to dream of - crash and hurtle around their ears, the cast gamely stagger on in spite of corpses that can't stay dead no matter how hard they try and heart-stoppingly break-neckingly precarious scenery-induced accidents that result in nothing less than girl-on-girl armed combat whilst a running gag of prop mix-ups leaves the hapless detective/director character resignedly reduced to writing notes on a vase. With a set of keys.
But if that old "Am-Dram theatre going awry" theme sounds a little bit like familiar territory- and in some ways it is, particularly with the play's occasional Basil Fawlty/Ripping Yarns undertones - it's the incredible side-splitting split-second timing, choreography and ingenuity of this insane physical comedy that lifts it all the way up from likeable-enough silliness to a top-notch ding-dong stellar performance in an absolute classic class of its own.
Deserving a First Class Degree with Honours in Funniness and proving so many wrongs do make a right, lovably shambolic, accidentally anarchic - and don't forget to look out for a dogged little performance from a special guest star from Nottingham who may/may not make it onto the stage - confidentially, this play can do no wrong in our eyes, do the right thing and catch it at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday this week.
The Play That Goes Wrong is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 29th March 2014. Full details about show times and ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Clap your breasts in joy and be upstanding and then accidentally fall over for our national comedy Queen of goofiness, galloping and glorious girly fart jokes is in town right now, dividing her subjects into the many who Ardently Revere Her versus the few who are, what I call, wrong.
Plunging onto stage to the strains of the Chesney Hawkes's classic The One and Only mixed with the heady whoops and cheers of thousands and thousands of elated fan-girls and fan-women (plus a few fan-guys) Miranda Hart promptly invited the entire arena to a massive mad-cap feel-good party complete with buffet, catapulted sweets, sing-alongs and wonderfully dodgy dance routines.
"This is the biggest live audience I've played to so far" she tells the sell-out Nottingham Capital FM Arena and launches merrily into her hilarious and huggably-endearing set peppered with wee-wee jokes, playful flirting, delightful audience participation, trademark naughty asides to the camera and some cheekily impressive ad-libbing.
With priceless tales of bumbling awkwardness, camp cavorting and musical theatre jokes "I'm a gay man in a woman's body!" it's a comedy night of epic and magnificent silliness that all wraps up with a very satisfying completeness and to a thrilling standing ovation, but amongst the gags and humour are important messages and themes, the heartfelt encouragement to let go, feel free and enjoy being yourself, to make mistakes, to have more fun, to be more childlike and to hell with it and go ahead and eat that dessert.
Irrepressibly and irresistibly strutting her comedy-goddess stuff, such Miranda-shaped fun is still to be had in Nottingham so clutch your ticket to your bosom and prance, skip and thrust yourself Capital FM Arena-wards for the hot-damn funniest lady show in town.
Miranda Hart is at Nottingham Capital FM Arena Friday March 7, Saturday March 8 including an extra matinee show and Thursday October 16 2014. Full details about ticket availability and prices are available on the Capital FM Arena website here
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Nottingham, get ready to change that light bulb and step up to red alert because this month the city's Albert Hall will be invaded by aliens, fantastical figures and bona fide legends including- count 'em- the ENTIRE cast of cult sci-fi TV show Red Dwarf, smegging smeg!
The first of its kind to be held in the region, EM-Con East Midlands Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention will also be bringing to Nottingham stars from Doctor Who, Torchwood, Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Star Trek PLUS comedian and Primeval and Death In Paradise star Ben Miller.
Mingling with prominent comic book artists and authors will also be Daleks, Predators and Stormtroopers and together with opportunities for signed autographs and photographs there will be Q&A panels throughout the day where you can put your questions to the casts of Red Dwarf, Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.
It's all promising to be an out of this world event with over thirty stalls in the showroom selling an array of merch and goodies whilst full on fan-girls and boys can really get into the spirit by dressing up as sci-fi characters in the EM-Con Cosplay competition and this fantasy day will even wrap up with an after show party at The Approach bar in Nottingham, so pack up your Space Corps Directive, grab your companion and set the controls for Nottingham Albert Hall, Sunday March 16 2014.
Full details and ticket prices including more information about autograph and photo prices and the after show party are available on the official EM-Con website http://www.em-con.co.uk/
***UPDATE*** You can now see our photo album of Em-Con 2014 in glorious technicolor on our Facebook page here
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
The Secret Kitchen was initially set up in 2011 by Marsha Smith to serve both Sneinton locals and beyond with a cafe offering no fixed menu but instead focused on making each meal a freshly cooked 'special' that was tasty, vegetarian and organic or locally sourced wherever possible.
Then last year the kitchen opened the Family Cafe and this innovative and unique latest project actually UPCYCLES donated supermarket food surplus that might otherwise have been thrown away into delicious meals for children and families in return for a donation of either money or time with a super-affordable price list. The aim of the cafe, now open at St Christopher's Church Hall Tuesday-Friday from 4pm-5.30pm, is to set up a space where people can share food and get together as a community to make the most of what they have and to tackle food poverty, offering an alternative to food banks.
Meals include the mouth-watering Melty Crispy Cheese-Avalanched Potato Bakes, Olive Pasta, Cucumber Salad, Garlic Roasties, Pickles and Ginger Cake, Vegetable Pasta Bake and Homemade Apple and Almond Cake, Thai Veg Curry, Veggie Shepherd's Pie and more and more delicious menus being concocted all the time.
Offering affordable food, eaten socially and cooked with lots of love, the project also brings together teachers, police officers, youth workers, parents and anyone they can persuade to come and cook so that kids can see that everyone cooks and eats together. Changing the world, one scoff at a time, it's an incredible and imaginative local project open to all to eat, to help and to share.
Want to volunteer at The Secret Kitchen Cafe? Full details, menus, opening times plus details of the monthly social evening and Marsha's new project The Super Kitchen, a social eating consultancy, can all be found on their official website http://www.thesecretkitchencafe.com/
Friday, 14 February 2014
|Photo © Laura Patterson|
The Coco Lounge is now offering over forty cocktails to choose from, thirty of their own fun and imaginative recipes mixed temptingly with ten classics. Cocktail masterclasses are also available and the full menu and further details are all available on their website http://www.thecocolounge.co.uk/
Thursday, 6 February 2014
Starring the forever-delectable Maxwell Caulfield (who, confidentially, will always, always be Miles Colby to us) as studio boss R F Simpson and Faye Tozer outta Steps reaching new heights of peroxided squeakiness as silent film starlet Lina Lamont, this adapted stage production also stars an incredible 12,000 litres of water in a technologically-triumphant, fun-drenched show.
Following in the soaking wet tap-dancing footsteps of the Singin' in The Rain movie is a helluva big ask and the transition to stage has led to sometimes choppy and cluttered scenes, but there are notable stand-out moments, the beautiful dancing precision of the girls in the bustin' out of the cake routine All I Do, the startlingly effective wriggling group dance-clump in Broadway Melody and then come on with the rain, because when it pours down fast on stage into mightily impressive shin-deep puddles, it's a mesmeric sight to behold and the no holds barred, no wishy-washy water conservation, full-on kickin' and splashingly- fantastic dance routines are truly exceptional and lift this show up to a highly original and special live theatre event.
Meanwhile, achieving the impossible feat of following madcap make 'em laugh meister Donald O' Connor and blowing everyone else out of the water is the superb knockabout fall-about Stephane Anelli as Cosmo Brown, oozing that sexy sass and ease of proper old Hollywood talent and effortlessly stealing every scene he's in, topping it all off with the Moses Supposes routine which gloriously captures the essence of the original and transports you right back into the movie.
Dripping with high-octane energy and soaked with style, confidentially, we recommend you grab your sou'wester and your fella with an umbrella, come in from the rain, go to the Theatre Royal and let yourself get, absolutely soaking wet. And you can sample a veritable soupçon of this squelchy, sloshy spectacle in the official trailer below.
Singin' in the Rain is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 15th February. Full details and ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here
Sunday, 19 January 2014
The tour will be hosted by 2012 Strictly star Lisa Riley and this year's line up of stars are dancing their way around 31 shows across the country. "For me Strictly has been the most incredible experience and I wanted to carry on forever," said Strictly Come Dancing 2013 winner, footballer's wife and TV presenter Abbey Clancy. "So the tour is a brilliant opportunity to keep dancing. The costumes on the show are beautiful and I love the fact the tour means I can carry on getting made up, getting a fake tan, tons of glitter and millions of hair extensions. It's every girl's dream"
Runner-up and Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede - who will be reunited with her dancing partner Artem Chigvintsev, famously suffered from a recurring back injury during her time on Strictly, does she think she is ready to don those famous costumes again? "The situation with my back was unusual. I have suffered with it before but you're not normally working or dancing seven days a week. The treatment was exceptional and after a holiday after Christmas, I'm desperate to cling on to some sequins again. I've heard you can buy them so I might get one as a memento of my Strictly experience."
Rugby player Ben Cohen's topless Paso Doble with his partner Kristina Rihanoff was certainly one of the highlights of the series and one which Ben says he's hoping to bring out again on the tour. "We put a vote on Twitter asking fans which dance they wanted to see again on the tour and it was the Paso Doble that kept coming up.
"The lessons I've learned on the show are life-lasting. Although Strictly is a competition, the real competition is with yourself, and how far you can push yourself and shed your inhibitions about dancing. I can't wait to get around the country and show people what a fantastic production this is."
Strictly Come Dancing Live 2014 is at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena 4 -5 February. Full details and ticket prices can be found on the Capital FM Arena website here
Sunday, 8 December 2013
To an electric sweetie-munching local atmosphere of sugar-high frenzied anticipation, the Peter Pan story began to unfold with Wendy, her brothers and an alarmingly massive gallumping Nanny receiving a flying visit from Peter Pan who transports the children to Neverland. And it's in this enchanted faraway land from an immense glitter ball with a slow reveal that first emerges Su Pollard to humongous whooping and applause, back home in town and on stage where she belongs, brighter, better and bluer than ever as Mimi the Magical Mermaid, giving it her all with Nottingham lovingly giving it all right back at ya.
More pirate and Red Indian high jinx and musical numbers follow until the show is stopped and taken up another mind-bendingly awesome level by the the entrance of David Hasselhoff as Captain Hook, striding onto stage like a mighty towering panto Colossus, a jaw dropping spectacle dripping in brocade, feathers and tumbling jet-black ringlets. Knight Rider, Baywatch and Hoff gags a-plenty abound but it's his big number in the second act that gets those timbers permanently and forever shivered with Hoff commanding and commandeering the stage, legs apart in full-on actor's stance a mwha-ha-ha moustachioed-villian vision in white, accompanied by dancing girls and a cute pirate chorus in a billowing sea of dry ice as he belts and bellows his number like a singing Panto Titan and a Sight To Behold the likes of which You've Never Seen In Your Life.
Meanwhile there's some serious scene-stealing shenanigans afoot from Ben Nickless as Mr Smee with a naughtily delicious chocolate bedtime spoof of 50 Shades of Grey guaranteed to maul and tease you plus a freaky and screechingly funny Pamela Anderson tribute to boot and either ducking from those pesky water pistols, heartily indulging in a foam rock fight with dandy pirate men, singing-along or getting up and down for the Dance-Hoff, aint no way you'll be staying put in your seat when this show gets started, me hearties.
Clap your hands and believe! All hail and be upstanding for the Almighty King Hoff of Panto! Confidentially, we don't care who you have to Hassle for a ticket, just hoist up your mainsail and fly to the second star to the right and straight on till morning to the hands down best show in town and Nottingham event of the year, arrrr!
Full details of Peter Pan performance times and ticket prices can be found on the Theatre Royal website here
Monday, 28 October 2013
The bar will open on Friar Lane on the site of the former Nottingham Building Society building and is the work of Double Impact, the Nottingham-based drug and alcohol charity which received a grant of £340,419 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The bar will be run by permanent and voluntary staff and will offer opportunities to people in recovery to gain work experience, training and employment.
Sobar will follow a social enterprise model, where all profits generated will go back into the charity and allow Double Impact to expand the range of recovery services it offers.
The 60-seat venue is planning to be a 'creative, vibrant space by day and an alternative bar venue by night' and will also serve food in the daytime.
More information on Double Impact can be found on their website www.doubleimpact.org.uk.
And you can follow Sobar's news and updates on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SobarNottingham