Review: Hockley Hustle 2022

Words: Amelia Brookes, Bassey, Gemma Cockrell, Alex Keene
Photos: Nigel King, Stephanie Webb, Thomas Hetherington
Thursday 27 October 2022
reading time: min, words

We sent a bunch of the LeftLion music crew down to Hockley to get involved with the hustle and bustle as one of Nottingham’s staple festivals returned after a three-year hiatus…


Last night, as the rest of Nottingham quietly dined in restaurants, the streets of Hockley were electrified by melodies drifting from venue windows, lights from restaurants open much later than usual, and hundreds of people on the streets getting their face painted, obtaining food from vans, or hanging around outside bars waiting for the next act to play. This was Hockley Hustle, the biggest street festival in Nottingham of the year so far- complete with its own parade and dance acts (and even some members of the public, like the couple I saw salsa dancing in the street!).

Before the music began, I decided to take a look around the area. I had my face glammed up by a lovely woman called Jodie (go and check out her Instagram @nottheonlyjodie) who had set up a face-painting stall, witnessed the tail end of the parade, complete with steel drums, men with plant hats, and gymnasts, and looked around the food stalls that seemed to cater to many dietary requirements - vegan pizza, chilli and patties were all available. Despite it raining periodically throughout the evening, this didn't destroy the mood, and it was easy to find shelter in some of Hockley's cosy spots like Ugly Bread Bakery, where the staff kindly accommodated me until closing time. Amelia Brookes


Katie Keddie at Jam Café
To take a break from the chaos of the street party, I decided to go to Jam Café to listen to singer-songwriter Katie Keddie. The venue, previously so loud you could barely hear a conversation, dropped to near silence as Katie started her first song. The music was soft and calming in its quality, different from the wild atmosphere and the rain that had started outside. It reminded me of a foreign place; I could be standing looking out across a field, or focusing on my coursework, or enjoying a quiet rest. Her song Eighteen made me think of my hometown, and the bittersweet notion of being back for the holidays and seeing so much you recognise, and so much you couldn’t, because life there has changed without you. Overall, the poignance of it all was perfect for a night like Sunday, so thank you to everyone involved that night in Jam Café. Amelia Brookes


Bexx at Rough Trade
BBC Introducing took over the Rough Trade stage and showed us why Bexx is loved by the Nottingham pop rock, punk-pop, and pop fans – because everyone loves Bexx, right? She delivered a thirty-minute set of powerful and personal songs. Armed with just the multi-talented Alex on both guitar and electric drum pad, Bexx gave a strong vocal performance that was far too professional a sound for as early in the day as 2pm, and she even managed to pull off crowd participation in a song. Impressive! Bassey


Billy Kennedy at 31k
If you’re looking for a great way to kick off a rainy Sunday morning in the centre of Nottingham, Billy Kennedy is the perfect choice and 31k is a pretty excellent venue. With rustic, indie tunes perfect for 31k’s homely atmosphere, Kennedy played through a set jam packed with ‘jammy’ songs. A particular favourite of ours was Shot Gun Woman; this tune offered high-tempo vocals backed by groovy bass that left foot-tapping indie rock stuck in our minds for the rest of the day. Alex Keene


ALT BLK ERA at Rough Trade
The first act of the day for me were ALT BLK ERA. This West-Bridgford duo are really making waves, and it’s easy to see why. Their unique trap metal sound brought the energy to Rough Trade, and the venue was packed even though it was still relatively early on in the day. They performed an array of original songs as well as covering a medley of Arctic Monkeys' hits. I didn’t catch their evening set at The Bodega at 10pm, but I imagine that time round things were even more energetic once the crowd had warmed up a bit. Catch them live if you can, because this duo is going places. Gemma Cockrell


Lawrence County at Hockley Arts Club
If Americana and alternative folk/country music is your kinda thing, then Nottingham band Lawrence County are definitely your kinda thing. A five-piece group of talented musicians playing guitar, violin, harmonica, bass and cajon to a packed room at the Hockley Arts Club, forget music to dance to, this is more music to drink to and music to think to. Songs included They're All There and my personal favourite Lights Go Out, from their album The Frailty of Humans. Lawrence County – coming soon to a pub near you! Bassey


Poets from the Queer Community at The Lord Roberts
It wouldn’t be a true celebration of the art on offer in Nottingham without a coming together of a spattering of the best queer poets the city has to offer. So, that’s exactly what they did. With equal parts historic resonance, fantasy thriller, and melancholic understanding, three of Notts’ finest recounted their favourite pieces in another of our fine establishments, The Lord Roberts. Never has a crowd been more attentive to the musings of artistic spirits poised to recount the history and celebrate the future of our queer community. Young poets like Jaden and established creators such as our very own Greg Wood did their part not to disappoint. Alex Keene


Gambino Akuboy at Revolution
Is he a singer, songwriter, filmmaker, actor, comedian? All round Nottingham afro beats legend Gambino Akuboy is all those things, and he gave everyone a reason to smile at Revolution. His infectious grin and energetic dancing made us all feel his love for life, and he was a real talent with songs like Murder On The Dance Floor and African Party. Much respect to Rastella for her hard work at Hockley Hustle and for sharing the African music and beats with Nottingham folks throughout the day. Bassey


KAP at The Angel Microbrewery
Upstairs in The Angel, I saw KAP, an artist who I have been following since she released her debut single Don’t Let Me Go in the summer of 2021. Even though her set started a bit late, she still performed for the full half hour, and the crowd couldn’t take their eyes off her throughout this entire time due to her captivating stage presence. Her sweet personality shone through as she interacted with fans between songs, and her vocals were exquisite, shining the most on the unreleased songs she performed, so hopefully we’ll hear recorded versions of these soon. Gemma Cockrell


The Sherwins at Six Barrel Drafthouse
What do you get when you combine smooth sax with lyrics that hark back to the days of funk pop? With a sprinkling of melodic guitar backing, you might just get The Sherwins. Playing to a packed-out Six Barrels, this five-piece collective wowed the crowd with a set of toe-tapping tunes that were sure to get everyone moving. Their set consisted of slow-moving songs, packed out with smooth instrumentals, and high tempo tunes to delight the ever-growing crowd. Truly an evening set up to please all, there was nothing we’d rather listen to as the sun began to set on Hockley Hustle’s first event in three years. Alex Keene


The Damn Heavy at The Bodega
The Damn Heavy are exactly what it says on the tin: they are damn heavy. The blues inspired three-piece rock band humbly started off the set at The Bodega by declaring this was their first gig since March 2020, but you'd never have known it, with hard-driving bass, even harder hitting drums and guitar riffs galore. An enthusiastic crowd helped to overcome any nerves they may have had, and they gave it everything, with a full-on rock sound from just three musicians. The Damn Heavy were damn good. Bassey


George Gretton at The Angel Microbrewery
Is there a better way to celebrate a new EP than playing some of your best tunes to a packed-out crowd? We don’t think so! And that is exactly what George Gretton spent his Sunday night doing. His unique mix of indie-rock lyrics and synth-pop backing tracks had everyone up on their feet, even after a long day of taking in all the best tracks Nottingham has to offer. The ever-growing crowd at The Angel Microbrewery were lucky enough to be witness to some of Gretton’s oldies as well as a spattering of his new creations. Alex Keene


Iran Iran at Brewdog
Experimental math rock, noise rock, post rock... Iran Iran were all of this and more at Brewdog. They may only be a three-man band with bass, drums and guitar, but they sounded like an army, with an enormous sound that just kept getting bigger and bigger; the crowd loved this hard-hitting complexity in the standing-only venue. I last saw these guys over seven years ago and they have lost none of their riff laden, sweat-inducing rock sounds. It's rare to see a band who get better and better, but Iran Iran are up there with the best. Bassey


Nic Harvey at The Lord Roberts
Nic Harvey is an established name in the Nottingham indie scene. Taking time out of his theatre work, he wowed the crowd at The Lord Roberts with covers and original tunes alike. Pulling from some well-known indie-pop bangers and a couple of songs set for the stage on later tides, his vocal range and ability to capture a crowd in groovy acoustics were sure to continue the showcase of talent at this venue. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, Harvey offered his audience the chance for a good old sing-along. In doing so, we think he managed to capture the spirit of the Hockley Hustle event. Alex Keene


Revenge of Calculon at Broadway
Fat bass and dirty synth sounds from this Lucha Libre duo, who gave a star performance at Broadway Cinema. It was impossible to stay still whilst listening to the funky rhythms thrown out by this space funk/sci funk masterclass act. If you like your funk hard and dirty, then these boys throw out some great slabs of bass riffs and synth sounds to make it a perfect match, and the Mexican wrestling headgear is a nice addition. Oh, and they have a new single on white vinyl released in early November, excelente. Bassey


Jayahadadream at Metronome
I was unfamiliar with Jayahadadream prior to this set, but I was reassured by my friends that she was brilliant, so I thought I’d go and see for myself. And they were right. Taking to the stage in an oversized yellow and green Arsenal football shirt and shorts, it was immediately clear that Jaya is an artist who already has a distinct image and vision mastered to complement her unique style of hip-hop - somehow laidback and soothing but uplifting and high-energy all at once. She was visibly surprised at how busy Metronome was for her set, and despite the sheer number of people in the venue, everyone present was united by the infectious vibe that she brought to the stage. Gemma Cockrell


Vogons at Brewdog
I last watched these guys play at ArcTanGent Festival in August and wanted to know if they were as good live on a small stage as they were on the large stage. The answer is a definite YES. This four-piece math rock/progressive band from Leeds and Sheffield were tight, tight, tight as they tap danced their way through constant changes in tempos and time sequences. Guitar sounds washed over perfect bass lines, leaving the drums to assault any senses you may have left. Vogons make perfect maths. Bassey


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