No Man's Land Festival @ The Bodega, Nottingham, UK, 13th August, 2022 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 4th, 2023  

Arch Femmesis

Panic Shack, Arch Femmesis, Girlband, Sobscene, King Violet, Lily Meg Clarkson

No Man’s Land Festival @ The Bodega, Nottingham, UK, 13th August, 2022,

Aug 16, 2022 Web Exclusive Photography by Ian Weston Bookmark and Share

Some things are worth waiting for, and the eagerly anticipated inaugural No Man’s Land Festival was one of them. Initially scheduled to take place in Manchester last year but eventually cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The 2022 event moved to a new location in Nottingham while its organisers put together arguably one of the most exciting line-ups anywhere on the festival circuit this summer. Essentially a collaboration between No Man’s Land and Women In Music Nottingham, the event’s focus on bringing together a host of mainly female and non-binary artists proved overwhelmingly successful from start to finish.

Not that there weren’t obstacles to overcome. Particularly when two acts pulled out just hours before - Bryony Williams due to travel issues caused by the ongoing industrial action from the rail unions, and recent End Of The Road Records signings Modern Woman because of illness. Nevertheless, replacements were sought at short notice and both played exemplary sets. Nottingham based solo artist Lily Meg Clarkson delivered a delightful stripped back, acoustic performance in the downstairs bar that grew in confidence (and audience numbers) with each passing note. While fellow local trio and Nottingham supergroup of sorts Girlband wowed those assembled in the Bodega’s main upstairs room with a set that recalled the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Throwing Muses and The Breeders at their finest. Although still only in single figures gig wise, Girlband - singer/songwriter and guitarist Georgie How, bass player Katey Dawson and drummer Jayda Mullings - only formed in April of this year, yet already possess an array of tunes big enough to slay several vampires.

Opening the upstairs (main venue) stage are Sobscene, another band who’ve only been together since the start of this year. But also one whose incendiary live shows have already earned rave reviews so far, making them one of the most hotly tipped bands in the East Midlands at the minute. Musically veering between the elegant grunge of Wolf Alice or Smashing Pumpkins fused with the ethereal dreampop of Beach House or Slowdive, Sobscene are a breath of fresh air on Nottingham’s live music scene. Opening with a brand new song (admittedly all of these songs are brand new to many in the audience) then following suit with blistering renditions of “In My Room” and “Cut My Hair”, Emmie Sheeran’s distinctive vocal omnipresent throughout. Its closing number “Another Planet” that threatens to tear the roof off the Bodega, its skyscraping hook ensuring Sobscene can add several more to their ever-growing list of devotees.


Industrial electropop duo Arch Femmesis also deliver a masterclass in performance and execution. Hotly tipped on these very pages back in January, their set could be described as the point on the axis where Peaches, Adult. and Consumer Electronics collide then swap notes in the aftermath. Two new songs are aired amongst live favourites such as “Androgynista” and “Madusa”, vocalist Zera Tonin spitting diatribes about “Rejectile Dysfunction” amidst a flurry of heavily constructed slabs of dark techno courtesy of Arch Femmesis’ beats maestro Meddla. It’s a concoction that works instantaneously, culminating in the day’s first outbreak of dancefloor action, and rightly so.

Back in the downstairs bar, punk pop four-piece King Violet create an unholy racket and with it a storm that suggests their time in the spotlight is imminent. Taking inspiration from the first wave of riot grrl (we can hear Bratmobile and Bikini Kill in there) and fusing it with the poppier sensibilities of The Big Moon or Paramore, the quartet’s eight songs set is one of the highlights of the day, closing number “October” in particular which causes a near riot of its own out front.

Closing the event are Cardiff five-piece Panic Shack, whose music has been described as The Go-Gos meets Half Man Half Biscuit by one scribe that shall remain unnamed. Due in no small part to their acerbic turns of phrase and witty diatribes about crap dates (“The Ick”), poseurs (“Mannequin Man”) and calling out male perverts (“Jiu Jits You”), Panic Shack are one of the most entertaining live bands on the planet now with a catalogue of insatiable ditties to match. Singer Sarah Harvey declares “I don’t wanna hold your baby” (“Baby”) while there’s even time for synchronised dance routines midset. Worthy headliners and undoubtedly destined for bigger stages over the coming months, Panic Shack provide the perfect finale to a hugely inspiring event jampacked with excellent performances.

Panic Shack
Panic Shack

Here’s to No Man’s Land 2023!


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