Live review: The Hockley Hustle 2009

28 Oct

The Hockley Hustle is a city-wide music festival held in Nottingham across more than 20 venues

Reviewed for LeftLion.co.uk

After fuelling myself with an obligatory bacon cob from the ever-lovely Homemade Cafe, I headed to Lee Rosys Tea Room for coffee accompanied by music from Folkwit Records. I caught a charming set from Marc Block and the Breezes, who furnished the early afternoon crowd with warm, harmonica-filled folk with deliciously subtle dark undertones.

Whilst wandering down Pelham Street I was caught off guard outside Cape by the Nottingham School of Samba, an awesome community project who lit up the street with thumping rhythms and broad smiles. Any Hustlers suffering the after effects of Saturday night would have been well and truly shaken into a more lively state, and the group pulled a pleasingly large group of onlookers from the Hustle crowd and regular folks alike.

Down to the Pit and Pendulum, which was filled with the glorious post-rock vibes of Beyond This Point Are Monsters, as well as frankly more audience than it could comfortably handle. Reverb, crisp, complex guitar work and fleeting moments of discord abounded, with the boys from Derby building each song through constantly morphing shapes and sounds up to epic, crunching crescendos.

Still at the Pit, I managed to catch a glimpse of Alright The Captain! before having to scuttle off to pastures new. Having only just recovered from seeing them play a week or so ago, I was happy to be plunged into their enveloping math-rock, chock full of huge noises and complex structures, once again if only for a short while.

Oh my, good grief and holy crap, what a sight was Shaws. Being a big fan of soulful singing sensation Nina Smith, I was excited that she was being showcased by the BBC Introducing.. stage – turns out I wasn’t the only one. The crowd was so huge I barely had room to sip my beer and there were people desperately trying to cram their way in throughout her whole set. It was worth the big squeeze though as she was on sparkling form, with her pristine, porcelain vocals permeating through the chilled grooves of her full backing band. Definitely one to watch, and I have a feeling I’m going to be glad that I got to see her before she gets whisked away by a major label.

Nipping back down Pelham street I was drawn into the Pit and Pendulum once again by the ethereal, ambient sounds coming from Brighton lads Monsters Build Mean Robots. As well as marking a personal first for me – seeing two bands with monster-themed names who play epic post rock in the same afternoon, completely by accident too – they played an encapsulating set of slow-burning, steadily building numbers with heartfelt, tentative vocals and even managed a full-on audience singalong at the end.

Back to Shaws to see Captain Dangerous who served up frantic indie rock laced with violins and keyboards, and who are some of the cheekiest chappies I’ve ever clapped eyes or ears on. With the charm and chaotic energy of your favourite 6th form band but the tightness and polished performance of accomplished professionals, they laid on a relentlessly fun and enjoyable set of poppy, rapturous yelp-rock tunes.

Without realising it my feet somehow found their way over to Dogma, because it appears that I am now utterly incapable of missing a set by Rebel Soul Collective. And thank goodness, because they were on the best form I’ve seen them as they bounced, thrashed and stomped the crowd every which way they pleased to their unique mix of soul, jazz, rock, electro and anything else they feel like chucking in to the mix. Everything clicked, the band looked ecstatic as did the crowd of manically dancing fans.

After a sizeable break for my feet and ears I headed over to Broadway, where I was just able to catch the tail end of Ulysses Storm. By the time I got there the crowd was in an adoring frenzy as they pumped out intensely funky, bluesy numbers.

Having work the next day I decided that it might be an idea to call it a night, but as I made my final descent down Pelham Street I was caught again, this time by the fiery gypsy jazz sounds of Maniere Des Bohemians emanating from the Bodega Social, and was unable to continue my journey without one last stop. Having amassed an unbelievably riled up crowd they had the walls dripping with red hot fiddle playing, jaunty accordion sounds and had the audience almost literally swinging from the rafters. It was perfectly debauched sight with music to match, and a spectacular end to a ridiculously fun day and night.

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