PEOPLE say that Nottingham’s musical story is only just beginning yet the truth is that it has been a thread that’s been dying to be cut loose for years now. It may seem as though we’ve only just hit the mainstream, yet in truth there’s been an undeniable undercurrent of musical activity across this city for donkey’s years!
Once upon a time in a suburb of Nottingham (West Bridgeford to be precise), four greasy young teenage boys had a dream of putting Nottingham’s music scene on the map. They wanted to rebrand their local scene into something more than just some old man in his little flat cap whistling on his merry way and a Presley record whirring round on the decks of an old school hall. Yes, Ivan Jay and the Jaycats dreamt of putting Nottingham on the musical map for all to see and to sit alongside their idols in the hall of fame. It was a rather slow progression, yet those tentative steps of hormonal innocence somewhat planted the seed for our home-grown artists to take their place on the international stage and to recognise that little piece of Ivan Jay in us all. Fast-forward nine years to 1969 and the very same youngsters started to churn out their popular bluesy sound to the crowds of Woodstock, under the hip new name of Ten Years After (thought to be a sly little nod towards Mr Presley himself). And hey presto, the first piece of the Nottingham Music jigsaw was officially laid and immortalised for all to see within the festival’s legendary documentary and soundtrack.
Post-1969 the phenomenal talent of Nottingham artists has been bubbling for some time but was still waiting to explode and hit the mainstream. Of course, the odd air pocket has broken free and flown the flag for Nottingham across the decades. Who can forget the iconic synth behind the wondrous masterpiece that was Depeche Mode? Well believe it or not, that was the brainchild and handy talent of Nottingham born and bred Andy Fletcher. And what about Iron Maiden? Their lead singer Bruce Dickinson was also born in this fair county back in 1958, which catapulted the Nottinghamshire twang into the heavy metal hall of fame and pioneered a whole new wave for the genre. The same applies to the drummer of “The Globe’s Loudest Band” Deep Purple. Yes that’s right, Ian Paice’s skin smashing roots lie firmly on Nottingham soil. Other notable contributions come from the likes of Swing Out Sister, Chris Urbanowicz (The Editors), Liam Bailey, Natalie Duncan, Baby Godzilla, Saint Raymond, Jay McGuiness (The Wanted), Dog is Dead, Sleaford Mods, Amber Run, London Grammar and of course the success story that is Jake Bugg.
In 2014, Nottingham absolutely owns its music scene and is doing something unique in comparison to other cities by giving its local artists a platform to showcase their talent across the city on a daily basis. Every night in Nottingham you can pretty much guarantee that there’s a fantastic music event cracking off somewhere whether it’s at Jamcafé, The Chameleon, Bodega and Rescue Rooms or indeed under the vested roofs of the Capital FM Arena and Rock City. Up until 1982, Nottingham didn’t have an established music venue to call its own, so who’d have thought that a mere two decades later the city would be an ever growing entourage of all the things musical? This city’s talent never sleeps and although people are talking more and more about Nottingham ‘finally being on the radar’ we should also take the time to give a nod to those of the past who have paved the way for some amazing live venues and a supportive music community.
Who needs charts to create music? And who needs popular when you have what’s raw, live and 100% real!
Written by Leanne Morgan – Baby Godzilla photo courtesy of Carla Mundy – Copyright.