Forget The X Factor – the best way to appreciate fresh musical talent on Saturday was to head for The Canalhouse, where nearly forty Nottingham acts provided twelve hours of entertainment.
With three stages to choose from – one downstairs, one upstairs and one outside – it was easy to wander around and take your pick from a diverse range of musical styles. For those wanting to relax in the sunshine, the waterfront stage was the place to be. It wasn’t the easiest place to play, especially when noise from the louder acts inside the building leaked outside, and many of the performers struggled to hear themselves through their monitors – but for the most part, these difficulties were overcome. Performing with guitarist Rob Harris and beatboxer Motormouf (who also performed with Just James on the downstairs stage) Nina Smith charmed the al fresco onlookers with her delicate acoustic pop. She was followed by the deliciously soulful Harleighblu, whose band packed themselves tightly into the tiny space, sending ripples of pleasure into the night.
Elsewhere, the music ranged from the experimental and unorthodox (Apparatus Of Sleep, The Barnum Meserve) to the hard and heavy (Hot Japanese Girl, Baby Godzilla), with bands such as Captain Dangerous and Dick Venom and the Terrortones providing rowdy relief from the emotional intensity. In the larger upstairs space, Rebel Soul Collective provided one of the standout sets of the day, fusing indie-rock with electronics and vocal samples, and performing with confidence and authority.
Bringing the marathon to its climax, Royal Gala proved to be the perfect choice for the last act of the night. Led by the charismatic, compelling and downright bonkers Louise Barnell, they demonstrated why they are currently Nottingham’s premier party band, sending an already well-oiled crowd into a sweaty frenzy with their dirty, demonic blend of funk, ska, Latin, Balkan and electro. “Let’s have a big cheer for Nottingham!”, yelled Louise. The roar that followed was richly deserved.