Beat The Streets 2024, Nottingham, UK, January 28, 2024 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 29th, 2024  

Bloodworm

Bloodworm, Marvin’s Revenge, Bored Marsh, PASTE

Beat The Streets 2024, Nottingham, UK, January 28, 2024,

Feb 08, 2024 Photography by Nigel King (lead photo) Web Exclusive
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Having become a staple in the festival circuit in the heart of England, Nottingham to be exact, Beat The Streets festival plays on local mythology by taking from the rich (well those with at least a few quid in their pockets) to give to the poor (well, homeless charity Framework, to be exact) with drinking and music, turning a few thousand revelers into Robin Hoods by getting them lashed (Dry January, be gone) and dancing for a good cause.

A purely local affair (except for a turn from Beans on Toast who is an honorary local), it’s a unique type of event that sells out purely on good intentions and a line-up of local talent. With the band’s fees, ticket sales, bar take and merchandise all going to charity, it’s a feel-good event through and through.

Beat the Streets 2024 came with the added benefit that Nottingham’s local scene is in possibly its strongest state in a decade right now, with talent from all genres in abundance and a batch of young, underground bands banding together to support each other, which, despite not being necessarily the ones pegged by corporate interests to succeed, means they can sell out biggish local spaces just by hiring them out. Proper. DIY. Shit. It’s exciting.

The moshpit for Marvin's Revenge (Photo by Charlie Philips)
The moshpit for Marvin’s Revenge (Photo by Charlie Philips)

A brief saunter into Rock City starts the day with some very nice, harmonic jazzy-pop from Serena Jasmine. Classic radio-friendly fare, her music is a lovely, accessible twang with a tight band. It’s just nice, and there’s nothing wrong with being nice!

There’s nothing overly “nice” about unhinged noiseniks PASTE, who explode from the Rescue Rooms stage like a 90s dress-up party. The look and sounds traverse grunge, early-era grebo and suited-and-booted indie swagger. At times it really works, and at times it feels like it might all collapse in on itself, but it’s all bloody loud, bloody shambolic and bloody fun. They are into it and what more can we ask? Noisy shit for 2pm on a Sunday.

PASTE (Photo by Charlie Philips)
PASTE (Photo by Charlie Philips)

A different beast but no less visceral is trio The Rain Age, who dig down into a mesmeric groove, all swirling psych-guitars and deep proto-goth rhythms, with minor bursts of noise. This music is “post punk” in that classic sense of “guitar-music-that-punk-developed-into” rather than a sound. Under deep, cerebral lighting and with pristine sound they prove why they are ones to watch. With bugger all online really, they are a slow-build band that we’ll be hearing for more from.

This moment hits us with the first of many scheduling issues, with half hour sets backed up against each other all day, navigating the distances of Nottingham city centre is impossible to make it all work, so alas we miss the brilliantly named Sex Toy Vending Machine at the Bodega, despite glowing recommendations. But basically doing a sprint round trip over town to get back in time for hotly-tipped “goth-something” band Bloodworm, might not have worked without time travel.

Goth “everything” might be more appropriate for the three-piece who are honing their proto-goth sound more and more every time I see them. Despite audio-issues with the bass, the band deliver a tightly-wound modern-take on the kinetic danceability of Siouxsie and the Banshees and the moodier end of the Cure. Whilst there are more than shades of these classic bands in their songs, the new cuts are starting to find Bloodworm nuances which truly stand them apart as a band to watch from the region. Bloodworm is a band making waves nationwide right now and a band that is primed to bring early 80s moody-angst back to the indie dancefloor - nothing wrong with that!

Bloodworm (Photo by Nigel King)
Bloodworm (Photo by Nigel King)

The same mad-logistics issue means we miss the incredible TR^NKS whose swirling mesh of shoegaze, psych and electronica blew our minds live at the end of last year at Derby’s Dubrek Studios. Over in Rough Trade, Tonia, complete with circulating rumours of a major label deal of some sort, is the kind of artist you’d put surefire bets on for mainstream success. A confident figure with a nice voice, the music treads a nice pop-rock-with-jazz-tinges that causes no ruckus, has little bite, but is a reassuringly comforting listen. This is a show with no rough edges, no noise, just consummate intelligent pop tunes. Tonia is playlist bound for hundreds of thousands of people, whether they know it or not.

Made up of veterans of Nottingham bands, Bored Marsh named via a local in-joke about a now derelict shopping centre and already having had debut single “The Grind” feature on Made in Chelsea of all places, are rightly recognised as one of the brightest indie hopes on the city right now. Their show in Rough Trade is effortlessly tight, their seismic, dark, melancholy indie rock filling the room. Nottingham’s Interpol? Yeah, sure, Shades of The Walkmen? Yeah. Glimmers of Editors? You bet. Radiohead’s angsty melodies. Totally. But all wrapped in anthemic indie. Bored Marsh are anything but boring and hopefully we will see recorded material beyond their two singles to date very soon.

Bored Marsh (Photo by Nigel King)

“Alt dad band” say Airport Dad about what they are, in an almost crushing indictment of the coolest alt sounds from the late 80s/early 90s (an era that fashion and music is mining once again in the nostalgia process) is now “dad rock”. The fact is the music they make is “dad rock”, I mean, I’m a dad, I’m in my forties and this shit is my youth. But it’s now their youth as well, are we all young again? Who cares. Airport Dad play nice radio-friendly alt rock packed with rhythmic and melodic quirks and singalong choruses! Dad rock is the new cool, or something, well it is when it sounds like this anyway…

“Nottingham’s best live band” I’m reliably told by the drummer of another Notts band who could also hold that title, about Marvin’s Revenge, whose recent shows in the city have descended into pandemonium. As they end the night in Rough Trade, it’s easy to see why they have such a buzz. They channel the noise of the 80s and 90s - Pixies quirks, the crushing riffage of Jesus Lizard, Fugazi rhythmic adventuring through the modern “post punk” lens. While new songs introduced to the set start to display a reflective side to the band, is this balladry of some sort, it is the big bangers off their recent EP, “VR Porn” and “Jack (let go of the door)” that cause mass mosh breakouts and sing-alongs. Plugging away for years, Marvin’s are ready to take on the world, and based on this they will win.

Marvin's Revenge (Photo by Charlie Philips)
Marvin’s Revenge (Photo by Charlie Philips)

And as it’s a school night, there’s a quick jog to catch one of the last buses back to Derby reflecting on just how exciting Nottingham music is right now, and that our inebriated state has maybe helped stick a roof over a vulnerable person’s head. Live music is that powerful.




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