Beat The Streets is an all day festival devised to raise funds for Framework, a Nottingham charity dedicated to bettering the lives of homeless people. Over 80 acts from the East Midlands came together on 10 stages in Nottingham for this worthy cause.
First is a lunchtime slot at The Bodega for The Vigilantes, who are a four piece from Boston, Lincolnshire, who “didn't expect to see anyone here at this time”, but their Foos-Nirvana style tunes blow away any blurry remains of Saturday night and provide a great start to the day. Downstairs in the bar Say The Word are playing an unfamiliar (for them) acoustic set, you feel that their big sound and strong vocals really need to be plugged in to let these tunes fly.
Upstairs at the local Rough Trade store, there's time to catch Adam Peter Smith who plays sensitive, bluesy tracks on a vintage looking guitar. Next Lisa Kendricks and band set up a perfect chilled Sunday afternoon vibe with a set of soulful reggae beats with outstanding vocals from Lisa. Huw Costin from Torn Sail, who has played with Mark Lanegan and Brian Eno, is appearing as part of a three piece band, plays a beautifully paced set of emotional tracks which build and swell, and are placed full of classy sounds. A festival find.
There's a large and enthusiastic crowd at The Rescue Rooms for Mansfield's Georgie who plays a brilliant and confident solo set of acoustic tracks including a cover of The Ronettes 'Be My Baby'. She's opening for Jake Bugg on his upcoming UK tour and a good reason to make sure you get to Jake's shows early.
First visit of the day to the Big Daddy of Nottingham's music venues which is of course Rock City. Dean Jackson from BBC Introducing East Midlands, who is probably responsible for giving many of today's acts their first radio plays, introduces Babe Punch. Tonight their grungy-punk tunes are the best I've seen them play; the band are sounding great, particularly Molly's vocals. There's a surprising cover of Abba's 'SOS' considering the punky noises coming from the stage. The recent single 'Stanford' finishes the show with a deserved rapturous reception from the now full room.
A musical juxtaposition next sees Tayla Jade playing classy soulful R&B in The Rescue Rooms bar and Black Cate & Magpies who are the first proper “ heavy” band of the day, slamming out Biffy Clyro style big tunes in the Rock City basement.
Unknown Era are a total palate cleanser upstairs in the main hall. Their horn-heavy, funky ska has so much energy coming off the stage firing up the big crowd into the first full venue dance of the day, the crowd's energy loops back to the band who get more and more manic as the set progresses. Their politically charged messages play well to a partisan crowd and they go down an absolute storm. Set of the day, no question.
Local four piece Ashfields have a large and enthusiastic support in the basement, and whilst their sub-Foals sounds are professionally played, it all feels flat compared with the energy of Unknown Era.
Final show of the night for me (there are late night DJ sets for those with an easier journey home), is The Invisible Orchestra, on stage tonight in their 15 piece version. Their big band soul and jazz with a revolving list of guest vocalists provide a spectacular end to the day.
What a pleasure to hear so many musically talented local acts playing such a diverse range of musical styles, all coming together for such a good cause. Over £100,000 has already been donated to Framework from the proceeds of Beat the Streets, and you can add your donation to this worthy cause via the usual routes.