Following a year in which St Vincent and Julia Holter have pushed the boundaries of possibility for female songwriters and on International Women’s Day with its theme of “Step it Up”, it was an auspicious moment for Grimes’s karmic thermal to drift into Nottingham.
The takeaway? A night of contradictions from an artist of contradictions.
A champion of DIY bedroom synth pop who commands £250 a ticket for a performance from fundraisers at the Guggenheim and who works through revered indie label 4AD but is managed by Jay Z’s global megabrand; such contradictions carried through into her Rock City show last night.
The presence of talented-in-her-own-right backing singer HANA and dancers didn’t prevent Grimes from so much owning the stage as establishing a totalitarian regime simultaneously playing guitar, programming keyboards, singing, and ricocheting to all corners like a technicolour Rorschach test.
Apparently spontaneous yet ruthlessly choreographed, the multi-lingual former Neuroscience undergraduate (“This one’s in Russian!") went, however, from strident confidence in performance to engaging nervousness in her asides to the audience, succeeding in shifting the impression she projected from sleazy to demure in the process.
The set list was dominated by her last two albums with the throbbing bass line intro to Genesis bookended by - her own favourite from Art Angels - Kill vs Maim, but with the audience ready to carry on all night a final contradiction; promptly after 60 minutes the shutters came down and no encore.
”Too stressful” they were advised.
It added up to an experience that was simultaneously brilliant and unsatisfactory, but ultimately it would take the hardest of hearts not to succumb to the quality and sheer audacity of Grimes’s work which are the product of an intelligent and original talent.
A review of YouTube demonstrates the evolution of her live performance; quite how she will transition to the next step of festivals and stadia remains to be seen but will be fascinating to watch.
Amidst the roof-raisingly raucous clamour for a second encore at the end of Sleaford Mods' sellout Rock City gig, a friendly couple introduced themselves to me as the band's relatives and asked what I had thought of the preceding 75 minutes.
This proved tougher to articulate than I anticipated.
Though what we had experienced matched the coming of age gigs by Nirvana and Oasis at Rock City for sheer sticky floor, spit on the back of the neck vitality and musicality, this felt somehow different.
That’s not to say that there was collective excitement at this moment, the end of a breakthough tour where after six years Sleaford Mods find themselves an overnight success with a top ten album, acres of newsprint, a film and even a new single with (gasp!) a humalong tune.
But more it was the sense of connection with their hometown audience and communal sense of passion.
In recent interviews Jason has used that word when speaking of his music as a reaction not only to Austerity Britain, but resentment of ‘The Man’s’ lack of compassion for those left behind.
So when like a local, demented, version of the ‘only-man-with-sight-left-walking-the-streets-of England’ from The Day of Triffids Jason holds forth that it's no longer just bad that we have sleptwalk into a world of Pound Shops, Foodbanks, Payday loans and local football teams who always let you down, but just plain unacceptable.
And when he screamed ‘Nottingham, we are your sons!’ it was with a passion that was immediately grasped and reciprocated by their adoring fans.
So the reviews are in- List of the Lost is officially the worst book ever written, apparently. It's an easy target, of course- anything written by pop artists is open to the accusation that they are dabbling in areas they don't understand. Why don't they just stick to what they are good at? Posing in front of cameras, warbling into microphones in front of their adoring audiences and ferrying their entourage of chefs, hairdressers and roadies across European highways and beyond. How dare they presume to be able to write anything that lasts longer than two minutes when read out loud? It's not like song lyrics have to make any kind of sense to be successful- we've known that for decades now. And Morrissey more than many divides the critics.
But this is a book written by an artist who has had years of refusal; he refuses to follow fashion, refuses to listen to critics and refuses to play anyone's game if he does not wish to. This, it seems, is the book Morrissey had to write. And yes- it's really not going to be to many people's taste because it is not written for many people's tastes. I don't want to give away plot details but it is a grimly gothic read full of dark secrets and plot twists one should expect from a lyricist who frequently calls on death, whether it's by bomb, premature burial, gangster, serial killer or double decker bus.
It is easy to pick out the mixed metaphors ( 'the woods are an eternal ocean'), the strange choice of names (a runner called Ezra Pound ), the shoe-horned in rants about Winston Churchill, fat kids eating burgers, Thatcher, animal slaughter, police brutality, and the now infamous 'bulbous salutation' (although my favourite euphemism in the book is 'his manly central issue' which is a work of genius). But there is humour and humanity here and some astonishingly poetic passages - the trainer Rims has many great one liners, an unexpected family death is movingly described, and some of the more gruesome scenes are shockingly visceral.
Morrissey has been criticised for not engaging an editor to pretty up his words. It would have been the easiest job in the world to sanitise and repackage- chopped up into nice neat chapters, sentences hacked back to polite lengths, no more digressions, no more adventurous use of imagery, no more surprises- let’s not put the reader into that that uncomfortable position of having to make up their own mind. But Morrissey only writes as he has to write and nobody has to read it if they don't like it. It is a similar reaction that Morrissey's ' Heaven knows I'm miserable now' lyrics received in the 1980s, when it seemed like most people wanted to hear about tropical parties and girls on film. We will never know who's right and who's wrong when it comes to matters of taste but Morrissey appeared in retrospect to win that battle and maybe he will win this one too.
Morrissey's literary influences are well documented (and t – shirted) and there is much literary and heightened, associative, stream of consciousness prose-poetry here- possibly influenced by Elizabeth Smart, Jack Kerouac, Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg- none of whom are particularly fashionable these days and none of whom have ever been easy reads- and all of whom have their many critics. I'm not arguing that The List of the Lost will take its place alongside any of these writers' works. But what will be more important to Morrissey, I suspect, is that he wrote the book he chose to write, with the same bravery and passion in which he has approached all his lyrics (and indeed the bestselling 2013 Autobiography) without the 'forces of containment' editing him into artistic emptiness.
Lyn Lockwood is a teacher and writer living in Sheffield. She has been listening to Morrissey since she first heard Reel Around the Fountain on John Peel in 1980-something.
List of the Lost is published by Penguin and is available in bookshops now.
Summer is in the air, Splendour Festival is coming on July 18 and Nottingham's beautiful Wollaton Park will be hotting up with a scorcher of a line-up across three music stages, phew!
Headlining the all dayer will be the eagerly-anticipated legendary 2 Tone revivalists The Specials on the main stage along with special guests James who'll be playing their anthemic hits ‘Sit Down', ‘She’s A Star’ and ‘Laid' plus music from their 13th studio album La Petite Mort which was released last year to critical acclaim. And headlining the Confetti Stage will be none other than Bananarama, one of the most successful all female pop bands of all time with no less than an incredible 32 Top 40 UK hits, followed by Birmingham indie-rockers The Twang and Mansfield band Ferocious Dog.
Jess Glynne, best known for featuring on Clean Bandit's 'Rather Be', which hit number one in the UK and can also be heard on the current M&S food advertising campaign, as well as debut single, 'Right Here', will also be performing on the main stage as will pop rockers Lawson, MOBO award winner, vocalist and rapper Roots Manuva and Amber Run, who formed at Nottingham University and the whole festival will be kicked off by a performance by the winner of the Future Sound of Nottingham competition.
Meanwhile, cheeky-chappie Brummie Andy Robinson will be compering the Funhouse Comedy stage which will showcase performances by D. Montfort, the Sunderland psychic creation of character comedian Tom Binns, musical comedy act Lost in Music, presenter Ellie Taylor of BBC3 dating show 'Song, Marry, Avoid', Aussie improviser John Robertson and musical comedy duo Jollyboat and there'll also be plenty of entertainment for children at the festival including fairground rides and a free kids area hosted by Big Top Mania, featuring circus skills workshops and shows, crazy inflatables, giant bubbles and Big Bear's Big Balloon Disco. Splendour 2015 Line Up:
To Kill A King
NUSIC Competition Winner
Andy Robinson (Compere)
Ian D. Montfort
ACOUSTIC ROOMS STAGE
Molly and Jack
Tickets for Splendour start at £20 for 11-17-year-olds and £34 for adults with a citycard. Children 10 and under go free. Available from www.splendourfestival.com
By Friday, life has killed me, but by Friday night King Quiff of Quips's all conquering opening UK tour gig at a meat-free-for-the-night Nottingham Capital FM Arena dripping with still-got-it honey-voiced musical heartbreakers had kissed me a helluva lot better.
Since The Smiths changed the world in the 80s, the world has changed and Morrissey has and hasn't, With a show that kicked off with a decidedly old school retro half hour compilation of familiar film clip faves including the New York Dolls, Charles Azvanour and hearty Northern gags, a still maturely devilishly handsome Morrissey and band appeared on stage, performed an endearing bowing ceremony and launched into a knockout gloriously technicolour goldened oldie The Queen is Dead complete with royal one finger salute to a suitably manic uproarious reception followed by an equally rousing wowzer version of Suedehead.
Plundering that almighty back catalogue arsenal with songs from the recent heavenly World Peace is None of Your Business interspersed with thrillingly chills-down-the-spine Smiths classics What She Said and Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before, the real jaw-dropper show-stopper was the extraordinary ear-splitting agony-amplified Meat Is Murder, accompanied by a harrowing animal activist film, delivering an intense throwback impact to those of us who remember it the first time round.
With references to local hero Arthur Seaton and a waggish attack on the Brit Awards "Do you think it perfectly represents British music? So why does the damn thing exist?" the standing mosh pit near the stage gained increasingly frenzied mangled rush and crush momentum throughout the gig with several fans being pulled out of the crowd but who managed to clasp Morrissey's hand to cheers from the arena before an undignified carry-out exit. But returning for a Speedway/ Irish Blood, English Heart mash-up encore, Morrissey ended with that indefatigable fabulous flourish that never gets old, ripping off his shirt, baring that always magnificent chest and flinging his shirt into the outstretched arms of the audience.
Still packing a voice that stays profoundly and emotively relevant to every generation, still packing arenas worldwide with an army who will throw their arms around him, still disarmingly charming the pants off everyone, nothing's changed, we still love you, Morrissey Forever x
The musically undisputed and crowned 'King of Waltz' André Rieu will be performing at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena on December 10th. Wowing audiences into sing and dance-along participation since 1987 with his Johann Strauss Orchestra with up to 60 musicians and with album sales of more than 40 million worldwide, he talks about his new album, romance and falling in love with his first violin teacher.
You will be returning to the UK in December for the fourth time. What can audiences expect from your new show? We are going to play a completely new program with new music. Preparing a new show, choosing a new program is a great joy for me. The tour is called “Love in Venice” like the new album and we will try to bring the beauty, passion and warmth of Italy to the UK. So we will play some well-known melodies from Italy but also waltzes, music from film, opera and operetta. The Berlin Comedian Harmonists will join us with English songs and we have lots of international soloists from all over the world! The evening will end again with a big party. I hope you will come, dance, sing and clap along with us.
In your concerts, people are known to get up and dance or sing along with you. How would you explain this passion? I think it’s a mix. Every night, we play with our hearts and I choose the program very carefully. A song has to touch my heart and then I know it will touch yours, too. When I am on stage I try to communicate with the audience and to involve them. I make jokes, I invite them to dance. I see myself not only as a violinist, but also as a conductor and entertainer. Classical music is so beautiful and can be so entertaining. And of course my orchestra is so joyful. We laugh a lot. They wear beautiful dresses. And it’s true, yes, the atmosphere is completely different from a typical “stiff” classical concert.
Do you have any favourite cities in the UK to play? That’s such a difficult question! It’s like asking which one of your children is your favourite. I travel a lot around the world, but unfortunately the only places that I see are the airport, the hotel and the hall where we play. I rarely have time to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere because I keep to a very strict routine on days of performances. So I experience a city through its audience - and all of the UK audience is fantastic. That’s why we play twelve concerts this year. We just wouldn't know which city to miss. It’s wonderful to return.
What makes the British audiences special? The British audience is very special because they have their heart open right from the start. They are “there”. It’s fantastic for any artist to play in the UK. In Japan they sit very quiet and polite and listen and then during the encores they explode. But in the UK I can feel the energy from the audience the moment I step out on stage.
How do you spend your time when you are not on the road? I work a lot. I practice the violin several hours every day, I rehearse with the orchestra, prepare the next album, that means I'm always looking for new repertoire, I compose together with Frank Steijns, I work a lot in the studio, assisting to the editing of TV specials and DVDs. And beside all these musical things I'm an entrepreneur so there is always a lot to do in business too. In my free time I do a lot of sports, I cook and of course love to spend time with my family.
Your new album, “Love in Venice” is a collection of the most beautiful and romantic Italian music, like O sole mio, Mama, Volare, That’s Amore and many more. Next year you will be married for 40 years. What was the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your wife?
My wife is the most important person in my life. Without her I would be in the gutter. I was deeply touched when she wrote my biography some years ago, “My music, my life”. I gave her a necklace with a little golden book as a gift in which both our names are engraved. She thought that was VERY romantic! And during the summer we love to sit at the Maas river together and watch a pair of swans that lives there.
Have you every composed a song for her? There are three songs on “Love in Venice” that are all dedicated to this beautiful city: Bella Tarantella, La Gondola and Love in Venice, the title song, which I wrote for her, yes. We both adore Italy and go there once a year on a private vacation. It’s the most romantic place I know.
Your nickname is “The King of the Waltz”… …haha, yes! Although there’s only ONE true King of the waltz and that is Johann Strauss. But where did the waltz come from and how come it is so special?
I am not a musicologist, but here’s the story in short: The waltz got famous in the second half of the 19th century and came from the minuet. The minuet was danced far from each other, very distanced – so when the waltz came up it was shocking. To hold a woman in your arms and turning her around so that she would get out of breath was a scandal. Fortunately for England, Queen Victoria loved to
waltz, she could go on and on. The Strauss family were the pop stars of their time. Why did you choose the waltz as your signature tune?
My father was a conductor and we always used to go and see his concerts. One night, after playing Beethoven and Mahler, he conducted “By the Beautiful Blue Danube” as an encore. It was magical. I saw people smiling the whole atmosphere changed. I realized how powerful this music is. In a good waltz you always find joy and melancholy, love and sadness. It’s a mirror of life – and I see that every night before me, when the audience gets up and dance.
…and you play a Stradivarius, correct? Yes, it’s a Stradivarius from 1732 and was built in Italy. It is one of the last instruments Stradivarius himself built. I used to play one from 1667, which was one of his first, but it was too small for me, so I gave it to a young girl from Korea. His instruments vary in size, the earlier ones are smaller than the later ones. I love this instrument; it reminds me of the opera singer Maria Callas – very warm and passionate.
What kind of music do you listen to in your free time? Ohh, I would love to surprise you, but, alas, like many musicians I am so much surrounded by music every day that I do not listen to music in my free time. Unless I am prepare a new album. So I spent a lot of time listening to Italian music recently to choose pieces for “Love in Venice”.
Could you name one or two major influences in your life, and why were they important?
That’s easy! The most important influence is my wife. We've been married for 39 years now. I always dreamed about finding someone I could share my private and business life with. When I was young, she introduced me to a lot of wonderful music – operetta, pop music, musicals, music from the twenties and thirties, which we both adore. I was not familiar with that kind of music. As a child all I ever heard at home was Bach, Bartok, Beethoven – which was great, of course but Marjorie opened a whole new world for me. The other major influence was my first violin teacher. A blond beautiful 18-year old girl. I was five years old and immediately fell in love with her. So I practiced a lot to impress her!
You've said you would like to perform someday at the North Pole, and on the moon - what are some of the other things you have on your Bucket List, both professionally and personally? Haha, yes, but I think my wife would stop me from doing that! She keeps my feet on the ground. Honestly, I’d just be happy to be able to go on like this for as long as possible. I hope live up to 120 years. Personally I want my family, my sons and grandchildren to be happy.
After calling it a day in 2009, with a twenty year career that spawned countless releases, Grammy awards and worldwide recognition behind him, Trent Reznor has revived the Nine Inch Nails name for another worldwide trek in 2014.
Nine Inch Nails has always been one man (Reznor) on record, with a huge roster of talented musicians joining him for live performances – like an electro-gothic Mike Oldfield. Certain members of this backing band roster have become fan favourites, and it's nice to see two of them back in the band for this tour - Robin Finck and Alessandro Cortini. So with all of the ingredients in place for a classic return, thousands of excited fans piled into the Capital FM Arena to experience the show they thought might never happen again.
Never one to disappoint, Trent's 2014 show covers all areas of the NIN catalogue. Newer material from recent years such as Everything, Disappointed and All Time Low from 2013's Hesitation Marks album sit well with the audience, and don't seem out of place compared to the much older and more well known “greatest hits” represented tonight. The band have been playing a slightly different set each night, with the classic 1989 track Terrible Lie being a treat for the Nottingham audience only so far. There are certain songs one would expect to hear from Trent tonight and indeed he did deliver the classics Closer, Head Like a Hole and March of the Pigs to a frenzied crowd. The set list perfectly marries the old and new seamlessly, keeping current and old school fans alike on side.
Having seen Trent performing as Nine Inch Nails back in 2007, I knew that a highlight of the show would be the song Hurt, the band's most famous song (which you may also know from the 2003 cover by Johnny Cash.) From the seminal 1994 album The Downward Spiral, Hurt has always been thought of as Trent at his most honest and vulnerable. Tonight at Capital FM Arena, NIN closed the show with the song, thousands of voices singing along in unison up to the final crash of drums – a truly had-to-be-there moment, with an atmosphere that cannot be described in words.
The crowd tonight were clearly glad that NIN are back on stage, and judging by the performance, so were they.
Nottingham looks all set up for a very happy Saturday indeed on July 19 when Splendour Festival returns to Wollaton Park with head-liners the Happy Mondays and Tom Odell.
Bringing their famous party atmosphere to Nottingham, Madchester legends the Happy Mondays' full reunited original line up includes dancer Bez and promises a set including hits such as ‘Wrote for Luck’, ‘Step On’ and ‘Hallelujah’.
Appearing at Splendour in front of up to 20,000 people will be singer-songwriter Tom Odell's biggest headline performance to date. The No 1 artist and Brits award-winner will play singles from his debut album ‘Long Way Down’ including hits ‘Another Love’, ‘Grow Old With Me’, ‘I Know’ and ‘Hold Me’.
Scouting for Girls, Foxes and Ron Pope will also be joining the headline acts on the main stage whilst The Boomtown Rats with lead singer Bob Geldof will headline the Confetti Stage which also features Reverend and the Makers, The Rifles, A Plastic Rose, Uncle Frank, and Keto.
“After last year’s barnstorming headline set by local hero Jake Bugg we’re delighted to give another rising young artist a chance to play to such a large crowd. Tom Odell has become a big star over the past year while the Happy Mondays are a brilliant live act and a real crowd favourite." said George Akins of promoter DHP Family. "We've added an exciting mix of established acts and rising stars to the bill. It's important to get a variety of acts at Splendour for a different experience at each of the three stages. I think Foxes will become a big star and will be a big hit with younger people in the audience while Scouting for Girls and Reverend and the Makers will appeal to fans looking for melodic indie-rock."
With comedy acts, dozens of market stalls and a children’s fun fair, Splendour will also feature the winners of the Future Sound of Nottingham competition who will appear in the opening slot on the main stage.
Tickets for Splendour are on sale now priced from £15-£42.50. All the latest news about the festival can be found on the official Splendour website http://www.splendourfestival.com/ 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. Saturday, 26 October 2013
With their debut album Signals released in January hitting the number one spot in the iTunes Rock Chart as well as smashing into the Official UK Album Chart Top 40, Mallory Knox will be celebrating the release of a new expanded deluxe edition of their album with a UK tour that sees them play Nottingham Rock City this December.
The deluxe album includes Beggars, a Sarah Cox favourite and one of Zane Lowe's Hottest Records In The World and Lighthouse, the Radio 1 Review Show's 'Most Loved Track of 2012' as well as 5 bonus tracks, special artwork and some pre-order limited edition T-shirt bundles. Albums that are ordered through the band's store will also be signed by all members of Mallory Knox https://www.musicglue.com/mallory-knox/shop/
The Cambridge five-piece will play Nottingham Rock City on December 13 and ticket prices and full details can be found on the Rock City website here Sunday, 21 July 2013
Whilst the current epic heatwave conveniently decided to take a Saturday off and cool things down a few comfortable notches, everything else was hotting up way off the scale at Nottingham's Wollaton Park for Splendour Festival 2013.
With music across three stages, comedy, stalls, cabaret and fairground rides set in the lush and glorious grounds of Wollaton Hall, this year's line-up ranged from singer songwriter KT Tunstall to pop princess Nina Nesbitt, post-punk pop rockers Squeeze and alternative rock band Maximo Park.
Confidential highlights included Peter Hook and The Light belting out Love Will Tear Us Apart amidst a legendarily mighty Joy Division/New Order set on the Jagermeister stage to a thrilled and bouncing crowd, whilst over on the main stage Dog is Dead keyboardist Joss Van Wilder leapt off stage and dived merrily into pure Nottingham mosh to crowd surf, getting swallowed up and reappearing held aloft, upside down, legs sticking out v-shaped in the air.
Meanwhile over at The Funhouse Comedy Stage compère Craig Murray was handling the crowd well, engaging with audience members and poking gentle fun at the few who dared come under his gaze. Catching the Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue, a "mostly" silent act with a mash-up soundtrack, the act interpreted these songs with placards and actions, quite often leading the audience to hear lyrics by suggestion and proving all in all to be funny and entertaining.
Meanwhile backstage we bumped into a very friendly and happy looking Nottingham film director Shane Meadows whilst Nottingham singer Indiana talked excitedly about playing the main stage and her imminent baby arrival in September and Harleighblu told us she couldn't wait for her new album to come out.
But in this year's heavily Nottingham-centric Splendour with fifteen acts from around the city playing around the three stages, the festival still thoroughly belonged to one legendary local lad, recently dubbed the 'coolest boy in Britain'. Whilst teenage girls with neon face-paint splashes and daisy flower chains in their hair squashed up at the front of the main stage, headline act Nottingham's Jake Bugg appeared to ear-splitting screams and roars from the crowd and launched into Fire from his debut album and played a set that included choice covers together with songs from his upcoming second album, whipping up Wollaton into a splendid splendour of Bugg-mania.
Wollaton may not be far from his home in Clifton, but it's a long way from where Jake Bugg is currently recording his new album- in Malibu. So how's that second album going? "It's going really well, I'm really enjoying it," Jake told us confidentially, smiling and looking happy and relaxed talking about it. "I've got about twenty songs and I'm going back at the end of August after all these festivals to go and finish it off, it's just an inspiring place to be as well, Malibu, it's a million miles away from where I grew up, the sea is blue, there are lemon trees blowing in the air and it feels like it's cut off from civilisation as well and it's just like a holiday for me."
Talking about Splendour being "the first proper festival" he's headlining, Jake adds that as it's his home town it really "feels like an achievement" but that he "can't get distracted by a familiar face in the crowd" and goes on to comment on the burgeoning Nottingham music scene "it's brilliant to see it evolving and becoming something really important."
Friendly, politely shaking hands with press on meeting and departure, Jake Bugg comes across as impressively grounded and instantly endearing and likeable, the ultimate local boy made good, and with so much more promised to come from him, confidentially we predict it will all continue to be equally Splendid.
You can see lots and lots more photos from Splendour 2013 in our Facebook photo album here
The full line up for Splendour Summer Festival 2013, which takes place at Wollaton Park on July 20, has been announced, with fourteen local artists taking part along with Nottingham headliner Jake Bugg.
This will be the sixth Splendour festival organised by Nottingham's DHP and along with Squeeze, Maximo Park and KT Turnstall, Joy Division and New Order bass player Peter Hook will be playing with his new band Peter Hook & The Light.
Nottingham indie band Dog Is Dead and singer-songwriter Indiana will play the main stage whilst other local bands including Kagoule, Harleighblu, Injured Birds and OneGirlOneBoy will play the Jaegermeister and NCN/Leftlion stages.
DHP's George Akins said: "We're really proud to be able to put together this strongest ever line up of Nottingham artists. It's great to showcase all the amazing talent in the city. A lot of these artists look set to break through on the national consciousness with exciting things happening for many of them, so Splendour is a great opportunity to catch these artists on the way up, along with crowd pleasing sets from the likes of Hooky, Maximo Park, KT Turnstall and Squeeze."
Ticket prices for Splendour 2013 have been held at 2012 levels with adult tickets (Citycard holder) £27.50, whilst standard entry is £37.50, 11-17 year-old Citycard holders £15 or £27.50 for non Citycard holders and children aged 10 and under getting in free. Doors open at 11.30 am and full details and updates can be found at www.splendourfestival.com
FULL LINE UP SPLENDOUR 2013
Dog Is Dead
NUSIC competition winner
Peter Hook & The Light
Park Bench Society
Dog Is Dead
Craig Murray- Compère
Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue
Slinking coyly onto stage to the classical strains of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2, before launching straight into Barriers from their satisfyingly-fantastic and back on form top ten album Bloodsports, their first in over ten years, Suede's first visit to Rock City acted as a one-off warm up gig ahead of their Alexandra Palace date in London this Saturday.
With a well-documented back-history of monumental drug use, including crack and heroin addiction, it's some act of God that Brett Anderson is alive and kicking at all, never mind a thoroughly drop dead knockout, whippet thin, snake-hipped swivelling, chiselled-cheek boned, fringe-flickin', foxy forty-something.
Performing nearly every song from their new album, from the sublime Sometimes I Feel I'll Float Away to storming new single It Starts And Ends With You, whilst dipping into that almighty back catalogue with Animal Nitrate, Metal Mickey and The Beautiful Ones, it was Trash that got the biggest jumping, arm pumping response, whilst Hit Me saw the first of many of Brett Anderson's leaps off stage and jumps over the barriers to lovingly fawn and fondle- and be lovingly fawned and fondled by- a besotted and roaring Rock City crowd.
But the iconic stay-with-you Suede moment of the night had to be Brett Anderson, dressed head to toe in black, drenched and dripping in sweat, ripping open his shirt, pouting, posturing and casually swinging his microphone lead in huge languid circles to the steamy chorus of Filmstar like a filthy sexy beast- oh dad, he's driving us MAD! Catlike, enigmatic and slick, fronting his legendary band with provocative mesmeric glam, he still absolutely is as always was, the elegant sir rock star performer- and makes it look so easy.
This season sees Opera North's first ever staging of Mozart's very last opera written when, gravely ill and desperate for money, he broke off working on the Magic Flute to take this commission to celebrate the coronation of the new Emperor of Bohemia.
Written in 1791 and set in Ancient Rome, Opera North's stark, state-of-the-art, high-tech version cleverly combines touches of Roman costume with this season's fabulous must-have lace-up boots, corsets and Mac make-up whilst Annemarie Kremer is thrillingly magnificent as jealous and vengeful femme fatale Vitellia, setting the monochrome backdrop alight with flaming fire-engine red hair and flashes of her crimson linings as she cavorts naughtily on a table top to seduce her hopelessly-devoted admirer Sesto, whilst keeping a dagger handy in her clutch bag.
It's a tale of furious sexual envy, assassination plots and loyalty and honour's wrestle with betrayal as Vitellia convinces Sesto to kill his friend the Emperor Tito when he plans to marry another woman. With achingly-beautiful duets, unmistakeable Mozart phrases and a sublimely-ardent aria by Annio begging for La Clemenza di Tito- the clemency of Titus- this is a powerfully-compelling, all-engrossing and utterly captivating opera, superbly and flawlessly interpreted by Opera North's cast and company.
Treacherous, lustful, obsessive, passionate, moving, touching and at times very funny, La Clemenza di Tito, not always considered one of Mozart's most celebrated operas, absolutely deserves this renewed attention and confidentially, our highest recommendations.
Opera North are performing La Voix Humaine with Dido and Aeneas on Friday March 22 and Otello on March 23 at Nottingham Theatre Royal. Full details and ticket prices can be found here
With a Live Music Business Award for National Promoter of the Year already in the bag last year for Nottingham's DHP Group, promotions director Anton Lockwood has now also been nominated for Live Promoter (Individual) in the highly respected Music Week Awards taking place at The Brewery in London on April 11. He spoke to Nottingham Confidential about nominations, the city's burgeoning music scene and how Rock City initially brought him to Nottingham.
Together with running Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Stealth, Black Cherry Lounge and The Bodega in the city as well as Thekla in Bristol, Nottingham's DHP Group oversees 1200 gigs and nine festivals a year nationally, working with artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Flaming Lips and Ed Sheeran, whilst also now managing Nottingham band Dog Is Dead. "It was brilliant to win the Live Music Business Award, absolutely amazing," says Anton, "and this one's nice too because Music Week is the whole music industry, not just the live sector, it's a wider scope of people." All these award nominations are now coming! "I suppose it reflects that we've got to a certain level now where we're being really taken seriously and we're making an impact, in London especially, but all over the country."
The Music Exchange record shop in Stoney Street in Nottingham has also been nominated for a Music Week award in the Independent Retailer category. "It's great, because post-Selectadisc there was a bit of 'what are we going to do, it's the end of the music scene in Nottingham!' So it's great to see people come through there, doing really well and it's brilliant to see those guys getting somewhere. And Joey, the manager of The Music Exchange, is a really good friend of mine, I used to manage a band called Punish The Atom and he was the lead singer so I know him very well!" Two music award nominations is also great news for Nottingham. "Things seem to be really coming together for Nottingham at the moment, with that Jake fella doing all right for himself and we manage Dog Is Dead who are doing really well and there's another whole wave of people who are coming through, whether it's Harleighblu, Ady Suleiman, Indiana and many more."
What's caused this recent Nottingham music explosion? "It's just getting momentum, once you get a few things together the council starts taking notice and supporting things, and we try to put Nottingham acts on at Splendour festival, last year Jake Bugg opened the main stage, he was in the courtyard the year before and this year with him headlining we'll also have some more of the latest new people. Then there was the Guardian article and all these things conspire to mean people are taking notice and the artists think, I'm not just stuck in a box, I actually can get somewhere, I can be ambitious, they can see a future and think yeah, it's worth the effort."
Are you from Nottingham? "I'm from South Yorkshire, from Mexborough. I came to University in 1984 and this is absolutely completely true, I had good offers and it was down to Manchester or Nottingham, and I saw Echo and the Bunneymen were playing two nights at Rock City and Rock City was pretty unique as there weren't many proper dedicated music venues where bands would play that weren't municipal concert halls or bingo halls, so I thought yeah, I want to go there. I came to Nottingham and spent fourteen years working for Boots- my background is in IT- and I started putting on gigs as a hobby, basically. And then eventually Boots had a restructuring, I got made redundant and at about the same time I got offered to come and do what became Rescue Rooms, so I started from there and have been working for DHP for just over ten years."
With a recently opened London office, their successful Dollop dance music brand and their Alt-Tickets ticketing operation ticking over nicely along with everything else, are there any more future plans in store for DHP Group? "Will we do more festivals, maybe, will we look at more outdoor events, definitely, we really want to keep growing and getting bigger and better tours and also growing the dance music as we have a really strong brand in Dollop. We're also expanding the venues, fingers crossed, we'll have more news soon on that in the next few weeks. Dog Is Dead is doing very well so band management is something else we'll be looking for, if we see the right thing, we'll support that. We like to think we're big enough to deliver but small enough to be personal and a bit more rock n roll and with everything that's now happening with the music scene in Nottingham, we need to work together and we're trying to take our message around the country."
The Music Week Awards 2013 take place at The Brewery in London on April 11. A full list of all the awards finalists can be found on the Music Week website here
It was a right Nottingham knees-up sing-a-long at last night's Rock City as to frenzied cries of 'Jake! Jake! Jake! Jake!' our local neighbourhood Dylan/Donovan/Cash hybrid, the wunderkind folksy rock n roll mop-top poppet Jake Bugg ambled on stage and launched straight into beguiling love-song 'Fire' before shuffling around to wild applause, hiking up his trousers and saying, 'Thank you very much for coming, it's nice to be back, of course.'
And it's nice to have him back, of course, our home grown ickle superstar, because at 18 years old- and up there on stage looking even younger- it really is extraordinary, enthralling and just a little disconcerting to see this kid with such maturity in his voice and lyrics, singing with genuine and fervent emotion and inspiring a huge swelling of a lot of local Nottingham pride in the room.
As a heaving and heavily mod-haircut populated sell-out Rock City happily sang along to his set of songs from that startlingly fantastic eponymous debut album whilst cheering to new song Slumville Sunrise it was, of course, Clifton hit song Two Fingers that cranked the mosh up that extra notch and got the 'Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottingham' crowd chant, whilst Jake's de rigeur sulky teenage look only finally broke into a grin at the boos in response to him announcing Lightning Bolt as 'my last song' to which he added, 'well, if you cheer I might do another one...'
With an encore that included the beautiful ballad Broken, confidentially our current fave offa the album, punctuated in a 'differently' beautiful way by the belting 'woooooahhhs' from the crowd, together with a foot stamping Folsom City Blues cover, the moodily cute, altogether frickin-awesomely talented Jake Bugg is the first Nottingham artist to sell out Rock City, but if you didn't get a ticket this time, you can get all Bugged up when he headlines Splendour at Wollaton Park in Nottingham this summer oh, and good luck at those Brit Awards too, love.
You can see more photos from Jake Bugg's Rock City gig on our Nottingham Confidential Facebook page album here
Along with her ethereal and bewitching new sound, there were so many things about this gig at the Bodega on a midsummer August night that seemed dreamily unreal; that this is Charlotte Church's first ever tour of the UK- unbelievable, that she's 'starting again from the bottom' and only playing small venues- unbelievable, and- most unbelievable of all- that contrary to some reports, the Bodega was not sold out tonight, but for the completely mixed bag and utterly transfixed audience this made it all a triple treat, to be able to comfortably get up close and listen to that unmistakingly unbelievable voice in one of Nottingham's most intimate venues.
Her new material and direction is a little bit Goldfrapp, a little bit Kate Bush and a little bit Bjork, with beautiful, soaring, heart-wrenching and spell-binding songs fantastically showing off and showcasing her vocal range and inspired by some pretty weighty issues including the Levinson Inquiry, whilst Judge From Afar, our fave in the set, was written after reading an article in the Daily Mail "And," she adds," the comments online after it which were even worse, why did I read them!" Her stage presence is instantly likeable and utterly lovely, dressed in indie-chick little patterned dress with thick tights and flat boots and adorned with a halo of fluffy golden wavy tresses, she really is a tiny, gorgeous goddess singing her heart out and operating loop foot pedals at the same time. With a plan to release five EPs over the next twelve months rather than an album, two songs are available now including the superb How Not To Be Surprised When You're A Ghost. "The video is a bit strange for this song ,"she laughs "but I really like it!" and you can check it out here
This gig was also her first time in Nottingham "We got lost in the one way system!" and "Looks like you've got loads of lovely vintage shops here!" Eating spoonfuls of honey and glycerin between songs and then nipping outside after the gig with the audience for a crafty fag, she hung around chatting with fans for ages, happily signing endless armfuls of merch and to top all of that she even told us a secret which you can watch in the video below. She rocks! She rolls! Get up and get down on your knees and believe in the legend that is Charlotte Church and confidentially, you can come back to Nottingham for that shopping trip any time, Charlotte love.
Curated by local legend Dean Jackson from BBC Nottingham's long running music show The Beat, From Notts With Love is the first of a series of events celebrating Nottingham's music scene.
Taking place at The Space at Nottingham Contemporary on July 6th, the event is presented by Farmyard and Mantra promotions. Performers include Natalie Duncan who started on the Nottingham open mic scene in 2007 and has gained respect and admiration for her piano playing, stunning vocals and timeless, classic song writing and soulful pop singer-songwriter Nina Smith, one of the most talked about artists on the Nottingham music scene, who has also supported Belinda Carlisle, Finley Quaye and Alicia Dixon.
Liam Bailey, whose initial introduction to the music business came via the late Amy Winehouse who, after meeting him, released his first two EPs on her Lioness Records imprint and is known for co-writing Chase & Status' Top 5 smash Blind Faith feat Liam Bailey will also perform along with Chris McDonald, who has supported Pete Doherty and who makes acoustic guitar music with a folk and soul mix. Other performers will include the soulful vibes of Harleighblu and Tim McDonald, whose music is compared to Rufus Wainwright's epic string-based songwriting with a world music influence.
From Notts With Love is at Nottingham Contemporary on 6 July 2012 7.30pm- 1am. Tickets are £8 in advance and £10 on the door and are available from the Nottingham Contemporary Shop and Gigantic.comThursday, 29 December 2011
For those who have lived through and can nostalgically and vividly remember his 'sexiest man alive' New Wave- icon glory days, the chance to get another bite of the Adam Ant apple on his The Good, The Mad And The Lovely Posse new tour gets many a juice running with tantalising expectation. And there were quite a few tribal white stripes splashed on the happy faces of last night's good-natured, friendly and lovably upbeat crowd who roared their appreciation when the original and best pop dandy of them all appeared with a thrilling flourish on Nottingham's Rock City stage.
Launching straight into Plastic Surgery and adorned in fabulous costume (though confidentially, we'd prefer him to lose the hat and the eclipsing glasses nestled on those legendary razor-cheek bones) Adam Ant still has the presence, the voice and yeah, the moves, to bewitch, bedazzle and entertainingly enthrall and gave a near as damn perfect set which varied from the edgier and fantastic Red Scab and Whip In My Valise through to pretty much every memorable and favourite pop hit any fan could want. With twin girl/boy drumkits belting along to Stand and Deliver, Zerox, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Ants Invasion, Prince Charming, Vive Le Rock and Goody Two Shoes you could click your feet along, close your eyes, go back to the 80s and pretend like the millenium never even happened. Joined on stage for Deutscher Girls and at various intervals in various stages of undress by backing singer and general cavorter Georgina Baillie (Andrew Sachs' granddaughter from the Jonathan-Ross-Russell-Brand-gate, yes, it's her) a warm reception was also given by the audience to a rendition of Vince Taylor from forthcoming album Adam Ant Is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter.
Returning back to the stage for an encore which included a bouncy Get It On and ending finally with Physical, Adam Ant bowed out to an audience baying for more. Did we tell you he's wonderful? There's nothing to be scared of, Adam Ant live is top of the NOTCH and can still look flash, grab your attention and deliver.Saturday, 3 December 2011
Stalking onto stage on the Nottingham leg of their Velociraptor! tour, Leicester rock-pack Kasabian's lead singer Tom Meighan, sporting a a red trousers-sunglasses-and (slightly see-through) quiff combo versus songwriting-guitarist Sergio Pizzorno familiar Nigel Tufnel- haircut and Derek Smalls-moustache, kicked off the night with a bang and a banging version of Days Are Forgotten to a banging, heaving and capacity crowd. With all their football and video games associations, the audience, although mixed, was predominately very, very bloke-heavy, and the night was awash with testosterone. Confidentially, it was probably the roughest gig we've ever been to at the arena with Kasabian fans staying true to form with their legendary inordinate amount of beer-chucking, punctuated by short bursts of fisticuffs-aggro which were swiftly suppressed by security staff (and we weren't even in the mosh pit- not by several miles.)
Meanwhile, back on stage, the band were cranking up their gig several notches with each legendary Kasabian anthem, from Shoot the Runner to Underdog to ultimate classics Club Foot and Empire and this all together with a brilliant version of Misirlou from Pulp Fiction (nice trumpet) sent the crowd wilder, louder, faster and more and more beer-drenched whilst also inspiring some impressively-expressive arm-dancing in the crowd around us, possibly the best we've ever seen. Building up to a crescendo and then leaving the stage with the whole arena la-la-ing LSF on their own, Kasabian returned with an encore that included Switchblade Smiles from their new album (which is so, so damn good live) and finished with an extended and red-hot Fire, that nobody wanted to ever go out. Mighty and monstrously good, Kasabian definitely were on FIRE, catch this awesome beast of a gig again tonight in Nottingham if you can, grrr!Monday, 21 November 2011
Rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Ryan Roxie is the founding member of Roxie 77 and has played with Alice Cooper, Slash and Gilby Clarke of Guns N' Roses. He spoke to Nottingham Confidential ahead of his solo acoustic gig at The Old Angel in Nottingham. "This is the first time I've been to Nottingham under these circumstances, just me and a guitar and my solo stuff. I've been here before with Alice (Cooper) I know we've played Nottingham, I've seen it on the itinerary! The tour I'm doing now, it couldn't have been done without the help of friends and fans from my previous bands, whether it was Alice or Roxie 77, I had some really great guys who stepped up and helped make these dates possible for this tour after the sponsor pulled out of another tour I was doing. I work with Gibson guitars as my 'normal' gig and do clinics all round, but in order to do the tour I had to take some time off so this was the first time I was booked to play in England for five years so I thought, I've got to come here, there's no way I'm not coming!. We're going to come and a do another set of gigs again really soon, hopefully in the next couple of months or so and next time we'll try and come with big electric guitars because much as I love talking and being intimate with an acoustic guitar, there's something about an electric guitar that I'm just more comfortable with.
Ryan Roxie photo @ Nottingham Confidential
"My set is a collection of everything I've done and have been influenced by over the years. I got my influences from the 'real guys', there's a lot of bands who are influenced by newer bands, who were influenced by older bands. I was influenced by The Beatles, that was my ultimate favourite band from day one and then another band named Cheap Trick and through that I have these power-pop, melodic roots, but there's something about that electirc guitar, that loud guitar, playing big chords, it allured me and so I have always tried to blend those two together. And it's quite conicidental that Alice Cooper who I played with does the same thing, he blends very pop melodies with heavy guitars, which is what I'd been trying to do my whole life anyway so it was a great fit for me and Alice to play together for as many years as we did. "I always said Alice Cooper was pretty much the best boss you could ever have, seriously! A long, black- haired rock & roller as your boss is not a bad thing. He taught me so much, not just about music, but about the music business and to be honest with you, to this day, the lessons that I learned from playing with him and the things that I see him doing business wise, from being a radio show host and doing all the things he does with his charity work, I really tried to emulate all those things, like Splitting the Profits- half of the money from downloads from Roxie 77 goes to charity. So all of this was influenced by how Alice used music as a foundation, but also how he always branched off into other facets, very cool and inspiring."
A new radio station has just launched in the city dedicated to exclusively playing new Nottingham music. NGenious showcases the best material from Nottingham's music scene and broadcasts from the city centre 24 hours a day.
The radio station is committed to playing music by Nottingham artists and labels and is encouraging local bands to get in touch by emailing an MP3 sample to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also support the new station by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
Skipping onto stage whilst daintily playing a white violin, belting out Walking On Sunshine and shimmering in white rhinestones and tassels, Dolly Parton is a tiny/larger than life 65-year-old wonder that really has to be seen to be believed. Receiving a rapturous reception from tonight's (all in all, rather 'mature') audience at Capital FM Arena, Dolly embarked upon a two and a half hour show (with a twenty minute interval) singing her own hits mixed with an eclectic choice of cover versions including Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven.
Swapping the violin for a banjo and then a guitar, a piano, a harmonica and then (confidentially, our favourite) a saxophone, Dolly showcased her undeniably mighty musical talents wowing the audience with her self-penned classics including Jolene, 9 to 5, Coat of Many Colors and I Will Always Love You (after a catty swipe at Whitney Houston's famous version claiming, "Whitney ruined my song!" Miaow!)
The show was punctuated with frequent jokes and stories about her life, some of them age old "it costs a lot of money to look this cheap" to a new classic "if you mix country and rap you get crap" which didn't stop her launching into a hilarious Dolly-rap which included the immortal lines "Now I don't hip and I don't hop, I just blind them all with this big top! *points to boobs*
Reappearing after the interval in a new sparkling red outfit matching her Lady Deathstrike-style red nails and a change of wig (from cascading curls to wafting waves) Dolly candidly wisecracked about her cosmetic enhancements, "How do I always look so happy? Botox" but the real unvarnished truth is that Dolly's voice is still all her own with no artificial additives and blew us back into our seats with the show-stopping performance of the night, a rendition of the heartbreaking Little Sparrow which swelled all around the Arena and echoed back beautifully and hauntingly. Dolly Parton is still going on strong at 65 with no plans to retire and promises to keep coming back for another twenty years and confidentially, we plan to be right back there with her.
Local music producer, DJ and Nottingham Confidential star photographer David 'Dwyz' Wayman releases his new music video You Are Hip Hop this week and confidentially, you can check it out right here, right now!
The track comes from his album Lift Music Vol 1 by Dwyzak The Elevator which was released in November last year and features Nottingham vocalists and rappers.
Well known in the local music scene as a producer, Dwyak the Elevator has been working in the music industry for over a decade, is the founder of band Papa La Bas, the owner of Team Chameleon and has also featured on many releases as both a producer and guest vocalist. You Are Hip Hop and Lift Music Vol 1 are available to buy at iTunes and also on his website http://teamchameleon.net/
Named after a colliery headstock, the structure used to transport miners up and down a mining shaft, Headstock Festival will be taking place at Newstead and Annesley Country Park 9-11 September.
Echo And The Bunneymen
Set up in 2010 by Newstead Enterprise, Headstock Festival was started up to help create a sustainable future for the village of Newstead which suffered severe deprivation when its coal mine closed in 1987. The festival is a not-for-profit, eco and family friendly green social enterprise and is headlined this year by Echo and The Bunnyman and The Lightning Seeds. Over one hundred acts will be taking part including Red Dwarf's Craig Charles. As well as a dedicated children’s area called Kidstock, the festival will host street theatre, circus performances, DJ workshops and light installations. Real ale and ciders and home made food will also be available at reasonable prices.
It was the biggest and the best Splendour we've seen so far and the sun well and truly got its hat and its groove back on for this 18,000 ticket sell out event at Nottingham's Wollaton Park. With a cracking line-up headlined by pop-supermeisters The Scissor Sisters and rock legends Blondie, Splendour threw the local music event of the year with an impressively entertaining range of acts performing on four stages around the park including Feeder, Cast, Eliza Doolittle and The Bluetones.
And fittingly, also performing at the best ever Splendour and adding to the day's great swell of Nottingham pride were critically-acclaimed and all-round adorable local heroes the extroardinarily musically talented Dog Is Dead. "It was brilliant today and the crowd was unbelievable," said vocalist and guitarist Paul Roberts, "We've all grown up in Nottingham and I think it makes it a little bit more special that we're all from here and we've got so much more of a following than we thought we were going to get, it's really quite heart-warming to know there are this many people in our home town who like us, it's very nice. Rob, Trev and Joss met at school, Trev knew Lawrence from primary school and I met Trev at a play at Nottingham Arts Theatre.We all get along like a house on fire and it's brilliant." If you didn't manage to get a ticket for Splendour, the good news is that Dog is Dead will be headlining at Nottingham's Rock City on December 17."We're really glad all our friends from University will be able to come to that one," continues Paul, "because we started off playing just to our friends at college and now they've all gone to uni but they come to see us when they can, so doing the show in the Christmas holidays will be awesome."
Debbie Harry backstage
Confidentially, our next tip for the top is the luscious Luke Bingham from Leicester. Appearing on the Courtyard Stage at Splendour, Luke writes all his own songs, got down to the last 80 in Simon Cowell's group in X-Factor in 2006 and is now signed to Leicester's Insatiable Music who also famously signed H "Two" O. "It went really well, everyone enjoyed it, the good thing about this festival is that the times are right," said Luke, "so that when someone is going on one stage, the others are coming off so it draws the audience to you. We're shooting a video in Thailand for my next single which will be coming out in the next three or four months and I'll be doing more festivals, you can catch me at Strawberry Fields in Leicester next month and you can also follow me on Twitter and my Facebook page to see everything that's happening."
Finally, we'll end with a confidential heart-warming story from backstage which tells a tale of the power of Twitter and the loveliness of the Scissor Sisters. Scissor Sisters fans Jacques and his mum Cat from Nottingham originally won free tickets in an online competition to see the band perform in Surrey with a meet and greet after the show. But due to a problem with train times Jacques and his mum weren't able to get to Surrey in time and very unluckily missed the gig completely. Undeterred, Jacques used his initiative and tweeted Scissor Scissors lead singer Jake Shears to let him know what had happened and Jake personally arranged to get backstage meet and greet passes at Splendour instead. "I met them earlier today and it was great," said Jacques, "Jake signed my programme and I had my photo taken with the band." "We're so grateful to have that opportunity," added Cat, "It's been fantastic to come backstage and we've really enjoyed ourselves."
Jacques and the Scissor Sisters
A big congratulations goes out to everyone at Splendour 2011. From its beautiful setting to its great organisation, from Blondie rocking the crowd with Ana Matronic from the Scissor Sisters pogoing along to them in front of the stage, to a fantastic summer festival atmosphere, we felt the moment, we felt like dancing, Splendour, your hair is beautiful and we can't wait to come back and see what you do next year.
If you've been inspired by the feel-good TV show Glee to have a go at singing in a choir but baulk at the prospect of auditions or haven't got the time for weekly rehearsals, then Music For Everyone in Nottingham could be the option for you- with the chance to even perform at Nottingham's Albert Hall. Music For Everyone offers a range of different performing groups and choirs with open access for people of all ages from 6-86 and caters for all abilities in an atmosphere of inclusiveness. The flagship choir is Nottingham Festival Chorus with over two hundred current voices and is open to all by subscription with no auditions and performs major classical and 20th Century works. There are no weekly rehearsals, members are able to to learn the music at their own pace with the provided rehearsal CDs and score and all come together to practise at three events per year with concerts in January/February and June/July. Daytime Voices choir rehearse in the afternoon from 2-4pm, has groups in Southwell, West Bridgford and Wollaton, sing a mixed repertoire from jazz to classical and performed this year at the Promenade Concert at the Albert Hall in Nottingham. Music For Everyone also has several other groups for youth members and instrument players, which have a mix of both open and audition entry. Full details of all the choral groups and courses can be found on the Music for Everyone website http://www.music-for-everyone.org/
Five years ago a group of ladies gathered around a kitchen table and discussed what they could do to make a difference and raise funds for the Nottinghamshire-based homelessness charity Framework. They came up with the event An Evening of Opera In The Garden which is hosted in the beautiful grounds of The Old Hall in Lowdham, Nottingham and this year The Garden Opera Company will be performing The Impresario by Mozart and Leoncavallo's tragic Pagliacci (Clowns) on Saturday 2nd July 2011.
This live opera event will range from side-splitting comedy to heart-wrenching tragedy with the classical beauty of the music of Mozart and Leoncavallo and the whole production will be sung in English. There are two tiers of ticket prices with catering also available and all profits from the sales will raise funds for Framework. For further details about this live opera event visit http://www.doverbecktrust.org.uk
Nottingham, prepare yourself to get ROCKED, because on July 3rd, 36 years to the very day it was first launched, Radio Trent is making a comeback in its home town and will begin broadcasting once again. It was back in 1975 that Radio Trent began with a morning show by John Peters who has now teamed up with two other original presenters Guy Morris and Jeff Cooper to relaunch the station. Radio Trent was Nottingham's first commercial radio station and continued until 1988 and after various take-overs and corporate re-inventions, its name changed to Trent FM and is now Capital FM with most of that station's programming originating from London. "We'd been talking about re-launching it for a while and three months ago we decided to just go for it," says Jeff Cooper. "We're doing our own nostalgic version, harking back to the 70s, 80s and late 90s and we'll also be having specialist shows." Nottingham Soul Boy Kev Roberts will have an evening Northern Soul, Mowtown and Philly show there'll also be a punk and new wave show and a country show. "There'll be very much an emphasis on Nottingham and we also want to hear from local bands." Moving with the times, the station will be now be internet-based. "Internet radio is the new pirate radio!" says Jeff. "We're excited about being able to do what we want." You can listen to the test transmissions for Radio Trent and make requests here http://www.radiotrent.co.uk
Pssst, vinyl fans! You've heard the rumours and Nottingham Confidential can now confirm they're all true; Rob's Record Mart in Hurts Yard, for 31 years the most lovably-untidy and full-up shop in town has actually had a makeover. Gone forever are all those precarious quivering LP towers, brimming aisles and knee-deep record boxes, say hello to new shelving, colour-coded category labels and blimey, for the first time ever you can even see the floor.
'There's still quite a lot to do, I'm currently sorting out the upper level which will be a 50p section,' says Rob gesturing to a more familiar but soon to be organised heap of musical jumble. 'The new landlords wanted this whole area of Hurts Yard to be tidier- it feels good!'
So, it's a happier day for neat freaks, but for us Nottinghammers who've spent many a hour more than we intended to rummaging through the chaotic-treasure trove that will now be known as old-skool Rob's Record Mart, it's bordering on tragedy. Cleanliness may be next to Godliness, but hell, messiness was way more fun than this! The ease with which Nottingham Confidential managed to find David Bowie's Hunky Dory made us feel a little dead inside (£2, very good condition, considerably cheering.)
Well Nottingham, we never imagined this day would even come but Rob's Record Mart has changed and so we as a city must embrace this change. But at least we can take comfort in the fact that Rob, he of very fast speech, hasn't changed at all, after three and a bit decades he's still open every day (not Sundays) and still satisfying all those punk, reggae, northern soul, new wave and generally eclectic musical needs the way nature truly intended- in vintage vinyl format (some CDs, cassettes, videos and DVDs also available.)
You can embrace the change and buy the vinyl confidentially at Rob's Record Mart, Hurt's Yard Nottingham Mon - Fri: 10:00- 17:00 Sat:10:00- 017:00