PHOTO: Can Samba & City Arts’

Hockley Hustle is such an important part of any Nottingham-ites calendar, it should have its own theme song. How you’d pick from the 300+ artists playing the fest though, is beyond us.

Yeah, you read that right 300+. Notts is so compact ya can get from one side of the city centre to the other in the time it takes to order a Saturday night pint from Spoons, yet we have more musicians than Noah had animals. I think. Not sure if that’s factually accurate.

ANYWAYS – obvs cos we’re not superhuman or a blue hedgehog, we couldn’t get to everyone, so here’s just a small snippet into the world of Notts musicians our Sam (that’s me) got to see.

We start our journey over at the Angel. Being at the Angel whilst it’s daylight is weird enough. Then HASHTAGOBI jumps (quite literally) onto the stage, bouncing about like he’s just raided Nottingham Doughnut Company. This entrance paints the perfect picture of what’s yet to come – catchy, and really bloody funny hip-hop. From his story of graduating UON, through to his pre-drinks anthem ‘u going out tonight?‘, Obi is kinda the prince of storytelling already. Quite a fresh prince at that.

Our next adventure takes us down Pelham street, past Primarni, and into the Spiegel Tent of wonder. We’re here for NINA SMITH, who’s ready to boss it with her new band. Three dudes, all looking cool as fuck. And sounding… yeah, cool as fuck. Nina serenades the room with her soulful RNB vibes that feel a bit like a proper Notts Lauryn Hill. Nina ain’t shy about the mega choruses – song after song has proper funky melodies bouncing about in our heads. And then she drops in fan favourite ‘This Love‘ to make all us old-timers swoon. Cheers Neens.

Then, we had to run back to Nusic HQ to sort out the final draft of the New Music Podcast. These tunes don’t edit themselves together ya know. But on the way we get sidetracked by TV Workshop’s NIC HARVEY, bossing it outside Homemade  with a bunch of well funneh tunes. Including a song from the LOL Mrs Green musical he was a part of writing.

Once we sorted the pod (listen HERE btw), it was time for some intense Space-Rock, courtesy of SUNSET NEBULA (such a cool band name). If you’re unfamiliar with these gents, they basically make music about as good as it can be without words. Epic guitar solos, bass riffs that make ya wanna pull the mother of all bass faces, and drum parts that keep you amazed the drummer still has working arms. Having just released their debut album earlier in the year, they had plenty of material to choose from, and choose well they did – as the packed Rough Trade crowd entered heavy head-bop mode.

We had a quick stop off at Kiosk in Cobden Chambers for an Outpost Coffee and a gander at the indie stalls, and then… we heard noise. Lots of noise. “What on earth is that?” says a rather concerned mother in the Cobden Chambers entry way. Turns out it was the first run of the Hockley Hustle parade which would amaze humans round Hockleh for the rest of the day. Grannies on scooters dressed up like trees, giant people (okay we mean stilts), and some proper groovy outfits. As someone that has never taken narcotics (honest mum) I can only imagine this is what a good trip is like. Whack that one on your flyers HH.

Where were we? Oh yeah music – we ran to Revolution next. Not for ice cream flavoured vodka shots (why??), but to catch Folk-Punk-Pop powerhouse GEORGE GADD. He’s got a certain charm about him. I feel like I want him to be my best mate, but my mum wouldn’t approve (#secondmumshoutout). He’s got a raspy voice that soothes the ears, and a song about tea. A bit like Frank Turner and Blink-182 circa 2001 had a baby.

TIME FOR FOOD – we necked some M&S ‘pizza fries’ (we can confirm, they are good, but definitely a sharing dish), and then was off to see some more HH street madness. This time a ‘sax-off’. Two Notts music hero’s (Elliot Labbatte and Trev D.I.D) sax’d off against an epic backdrop of drums, all whilst we had a lil dance.

Righto – off to Lee Rosy’s this time. Downstairs, it’s well cosy. Seated and all that. We’re here to see poet BRIDIE SQUIRES. Ya know, just the newly (well this year) appointed Editor of the legendary Leftlion. Her set has us proper chuckling. Talking bout the washing up that we all leave for ages, and the bailiff that she really wants to bang. Wait, what?

Next up we squish ourselves nice into a little corner for ROB GREEN. The room is packed and for good reason – Rob’s got bangers on bangers. He kicks off with his anthem to end all anthems ‘Belief‘, the room goes mental, becoming his own (slightly intoxicated) choir. Nice one RG.

We take the 17 steps from Revs to Broadway to say hello to GALLERY 47. The songwriter extraordinaire has released about 470 songs these past few years, all with a distinct, delicate sound to ’em. And his set at the Hustle is no different. Honest, friendly Folk. The kind of music that feels like it’s giving you life advice at 3am, and also giving you a hug. I reckon G47 gives good hugs.

Off to the NVA next for CRS’s stage – we expected RELLIK, but the timings had gone and changed, so instead we saw this young lad – AIDEN CARSON. And he had a well stunning voice. Warm, complex, full (in a good way). He bossed his short set.

DING DING STAGE CHANGE TIME – Hockley Arts Club (downstairs) this time for a bit of DAUDI MATSIKO. Jeeeeeez man, when is this guy gonna blow up and be like the next Bon Iver or something? Heartfelt, stunning, and a bunch of other words that mean something to that effect. Daudi will make you feel all the feels.

Next up we find ourselves in Market Bar – for CSWS Presents, but they’re nowhere to be found. But, there was some fella on stage who bossed it with some chilled hip-hop vibes. Note to self: Ask Parisa who was on stage at 9:13pm.

We walk to ‘Tempreh to try and get into this epic orchestra… but it’s one in one out and the queue is massssiiiiveeeee. So we walk back, head a bit low and all that. BUT – then we remember there’s still tons of Notts loveliness to enjoy.

We stroll to Bodega to see a bit of CONGI, have a wee bit of a dance to the eclectic tunes they’re playing, then wander downstairs. This time, to have a emosh-bop to JOSEPH KNIGHT. Who moves with his beaut soulful acoustic tunes. Joe has everyone in the room looking at each other with open eyes, full of love, and really wanting a hug (where’s Gallery 47 when ya need him)?

We round our night off with a bop to Nottingham’s Pop-Funk-Disco Queen RONIKA. Dayummm has this girl got some tunes. Insanely catchy choruses, proper groovy basslines, and with her awesome band, some well funky arrangements. It’s the perfect way to top off an epic hustle.

Well, I say top off. I’m writing this at 1231am as I back up 150gb of photos and videos that have got to be edited by this time tomorrow. So it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning. But it’s been epic. And as always proved to be one of the musical highlights of the year.

If someone wants to bring me a coffee, mine’s a full fat latte.

Yours in Love of New Music,
Sam Nahirny x