Beeston Beats: Purple Rain

Ooooo we have been lucky sausages!! Getting a lush, sneaky peek into what spring holds, and in early Feb too, last year we were ten foot deep in snow (artistic license) and this year the whispers of BBQ bounced around faster than my falling back off the wagon post dryanuary. While in the midst of this cruel mini spurt of glorious sunshine and this issue of the very fine Beestonian being centred around the topic of Outdoors I had a brainwave (yes it does happen occasionally) about beautiful sunshine and beer gardens with fruity cider and hazy afternoon drinking, followed by only just making it home for a slap up Sunday dinner to soak it up, (ya can feel the beautiful summer glow on ya face right now I bet!) I arranged a meet up with a band from the local area, picturing butterflies and nature and a laid back photo shoot by the weir….

In reality though the best laid plans relying on the weather in late Feb early March is incredibly stupid, and my ideas turned as fast as a picnic by Skeggeh beach on a bank holiday. The early spring photo op turned into a lets go to the pub idea and what better pub to head to than the Jolly Anglers, with  Andrew Sully, Ryan Richardson, Aaron Weedon, Chris Atkinson better known as Lilac Grove, the only band to play at the pub since, well maybe ever. The weather was shockingly horrendous as the rain made for a miserable Sunday morning coupled with the fact the night before I had attended a fellow Beestonian’s hen party, (Congratulations are in order by the way as by the time this hits the lucky couple will be sunning themselves on their hunnymooon). So here is a shameless Congrats to Claire and Mike J.

Anyhoo back to the job in hand as it were, one half of the band turn up bang on time and we exchange hi and heys in the dreary car park as we wait for the pub to open (I mean rest of the band). Despite being horrendous (I did mention that didn’t I?) the lads are in high spirits as we have a very chilled out interview style over a few pints of Pepsi and not so Pepsi.

The bands namesake Lilac grove, being the road that connects Meadow to Humber Road and is home to various foods, floor and maintenance companies so why pick that name? The band says they had a few different names in the hat and that one stuck (although they didn’t elaborate which ones fell to the wayside). They all naturally passed the How Beeston are you test, with talk of favourite hang outs of The Berliner and Hop Pole, coincidentally two of the venues also to host the band via the Micks music Festival and the annual must for music lovers Oxjam. Their previous gig at The Jolly Angler (also  have you ever seen a jolly angler? Like ever?), Became a thing as Lilacite? Aaron and his dad are regulars int’ pub while he’s not playing for the casuals. In fact the band are so Beeston Andrew mentions that he went to school with  Nactus Kunan (the last band I interviewed way back in issue 59). We randomly talk about music and mainly being influenced by Arctic Monkeys  and how much they enjoyed their gig in Feb and looking forward to their return on March 29th. I would love to tell you more of their set but as Pete Doherty very rudely delayed me getting back to this neck of the woods as he was exceptionally late on stage on the same night I only managed to catch their last track.  No need to panic though as they return at the Berliner on 5th May, Hop Pole 24th May and 7th Sep at the crown. I can tell you that the pub was very busy and full of new faces I hadn’t seen before it was obviously a successful night as they have been invited back so quickly. News in the pipeline includes recording over at eleven in Long Eaton (the former silver prize band) a brand spanking debut E.P for release in May. So get down and support some local lads and the pub music scene, go on ya know ya wannna!!!

LD

Beeston Beats: Das Schuhzimmer

If das Schu fits

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By Lulu Davenport.

Why hello January, where on earth did you come from? The festivities have gone and left most of us skint, over indulged and with failed New Year’s resolutions falling as fast as they were made.  Currently i am on day 20 of the highly controversial Dry January, Shhhh it’s a secret!  to make matters worse i have been offered a free shot by a barman (has anyone ever heard of this before?) been baked a boozy cointreau cake and won, yes actually won for the first time in my life A HAMPER FULL OF CIDER!! As these goodies taunt me and very quietly call my name i am safe in the knowledge that December i blitzed it properly.

I feel like i have failed in bringing the latest in Entertainment news to these pages, My head hangs in shame as i heard a new shiny bar had opened way back on November 16th and it took a whole month for the news to filter down to my ears (maybe they were filled with tinsel), even worse a friend had visited before me, shock! Horror!  I feel i have let everyone reading this down… but not for long, i herded up some friends (it’s easy to lure people out when it’s December) and sprinted ok, maybe waddled, to the newest bar on the circuit.

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Located next door to the Berliner, Das Schuhzimmer (meaning the shoe room) is the newest addition to the high road run that has seen the Gin bar, Berliner and totally tapped, pop up to offer Beestonites, Calpol shots, Espresso martinis, experimental stouts and ales by Totally brewed and many varieties of gin, it’s amazing anyone ever makes it into Beeston town centre. For those who have been to boilermaker in Nottingham and Washhouse in Manchester, Das Shu is a bar masquerading as something else.

I managed to catch up with manager James Thomas a thoroughly lovely chap who also runs the Berliner.

Hi and welcome to beeston beats, what is Das Schuhzimmer exactly?

Das Schuhzimmer is a speakeasy cocktail bar, using high quality ingredients and unique flavours. Most cocktails on our menu are our own creations.

What was your inspiration?

People in Beeston have wanted a shoe shop for a very long time, my Granddad used to run a Shoe Shop ‘Rose Shoes’ in Beeston years ago, so i took the opportunity to build Beestons first secret bar, to play on people’s hopes up for a shoe shop, but also to create a great addition to Beestons nightlife.

How is Das different to The Berliner?

Being in Berlin inspired me to open The Berliner, so i wanted to continue a bit of a German theme with the name, but it has a very different atmosphere and feel. It’s all table service, and it’s quite chilled, compared with Berliner, where we might have a live band on or more of a ‘party’ atmosphere on weekends.

What does Das Schu bring to Beeston?

Beestons nightlife is already fantastic, but I’d recommend DS as a nice cocktail bar to go to on date nights, without the need to go into town. It’s something different to bring your friends to and the cocktails we’ve created really are special.

If you were a shoe which style would you be?

Good question, probably a pair of Loake Brogues – good quality and stylish.

What is the future for Schuhzimmer?

People of Beeston have also wanted a cinema for a while, so we’re running a cinema night (Tipsy Cinema Club) every Wednesday from February in DS, ticket only and all films can be found on our Facebook Page.

Thanks James i shall be in to sample more cocktails when the dreaded Dryanuary is over, make mine a triple!  In other news, i have found a sign bearing my namesake hanging high up in the Victoria hotel, it’s the only one i have ever seen from Davenports beers, apparently there was a jingle ‘Beer at home means Davenports!”  In a completely unrelated ad -Wanted tall person with own tool kit must have an alibi ready. Anyhoo am off theres plenty more adventures to be had, see you next time me hearty’s!

LD

Beeston Beats at the BOO-at and Horses

Arghhhhh it’s upon us!! Theres no hiding now! Christmas has well and truly landed, and as you feast (…of Stephen…) your gaze over this mighty fine publication (doesn’t it look shiny and awesome?), the festive season will have invaded homes along with trees, tinsel, relentless adverts, good will (dunno who he is) and glitter, o so much glitter!! Then there’s the music and Michael Buble…don’t even get me started….

However nestled in-between the long hazy days of summer and the impending stress inducing retail Holiday shop was a lovely time of year I particularly like Autumn, with its cosy nights in, pretty fireworks and more importantly Halloween, the only time of year I can say the bags under my eyes are part of my outfit, there’s also the parties and one in particular caught my eye over in‘t Rylands at the Boat and Horses on Trent road, the first special steampunk spook-tacular social event (now say that after an eggnog) to be held on Saturday 27th October.

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Having changed hands quite a few times in the last few years, B+H has recently has a sexy new refit widening its appeal with real ales and gins. Being a keen steampunk enthusiast, I headed over, dressed to kill in a basque, long flowing dress and loads of fake blood and of course goggles. ‘Boat had really taken a lot of time decorating every spare space with creepy ornaments, and even hiring a few zombies to terrify bystanders. Set up in the function room was the stalls with all things steampunky from creations, hats, clothing and beautiful handmade goodies. On stage, sir Gregory master of ceremonies and his subordinate lackey Doc Cogs performed tea duelling, for those unfamiliar to the duel, biscuits are chosen and dunked in tea and the winner is those with the unsoggiest erm biscuit, this may seem tame but many a relationships and friendship have been lost in a tea duelling battle…

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In the main bar live music from that acoustic punk performer Paul Carbuncle, the always entertaining Pixie Styx, a few of the corndodgers and  Subway Circus along with Boats on the ocean taking the music far into the dead of night.

Right before I ramble on even more, there’s an apology due from myself to Berliner from last issue as (eeekk) I did a  whooopsie (not quite sure how I’ve morphed into Frank Spencer but Anyhoo) I wrongly stated that their Oktoberfest was Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd September when in fact it was the weekend after!!! My bad as the kids say.

As I ended my last piece with saying I was scuttling off to the beer festival at the Victory club I did as promised and accidentally fell in on the last day, when lo and behold the ales were reduced to an awesome ONE POUND (!!) a pint, quickly a flying visit turned into a mammoth drinking session with the only food consumed being a bag of mini cheddars. The next morning I woke up nursing a hangover and finding myself a fully fledged member of the Victory Club. It set me back £11 for the year, the moral of the story is there is no such thing as a cheap pint. It worked out well in the end as I decided to make use of my membership by checking out heavy rockers V8 when they stopped off at the venues classic rock night which is every third Friday Moshing for two hours to System of a Down and Motorhead covers has helped ease my morning for the Greyhound slightly, what adventures are next? I dread to think.  Till next time, enjoy the silly season and whatever you do don’t you open that trapppppdoooorrr!!

LD

Beeston Beats: Interview with Nactus Kunan

Music, gigs and festivals – who’s out this weekend?

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According to online information station Wikipedia, ‘Nactus kunan is an extant species of slender-toe geckos described in 2012, and indigenous to the Admiralty Islands of Papua New Guinea. It is brightly coloured, and its specific name means “bumblebee” in the local Nali language.’

Although I am an avid supporter of nature I haven’t decided to give Sir David Attenborough a run for his money instead I have stumbled upon the musical stylings of local Beeston band of the aforementioned gecko name. Individually known as Jack Kwiecinski, Josef Bone, Antony Rocco Onorati and John Wood the lads have formed Nactus Kunan and flying the flag for a style of music aptly named RnBeeston. Being a nosey so and so, I Facebook stalked them and frog marched them to the canalside heritage for an interrogation into all things beestony, musicy (technical term) and an impromptu photo session. Luckily the guys were willing victims and happily chatted to me even though the world was wrapped up in the world cup frenzy.

In the cafe the staff are just about coping with the fire alarm that’s blaring and rings through the heritage centre at what feels like a million decibels, i order a coffee and wait outside, sure enough over bound half of the band quickly followed by the remaining members, I suggest starting the photo shoot as the weather looks ridiculously murky and rain seems imminent.  The garden at the heritage centre is a great setting for photos and the bands easy going demeanour helps as my suggestions for the photos are met with an impressive eagerness. We briefly chat  about favourite pubs, Fast Lane and musical influences, take some more photos and head to Owens place for some shots with the weir in the background, altogether a fun and productive meet, want to know what the band had to say? Here it is from the ‘osses cakehole…

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Morning Nactus Kunan, how are you today?

We’ve just been diagnosed with a terminal case of World Cup fever, but other than that we’re very well thanks!

Tell us a bit about Nactus Kunan…

We’re a four-piece, alternative band that formed in 2017. Our music draws from a diverse range of influences including Dr Dre, Sade, George Michael and New Order. We combine heavy synths, slick guitars and 808 beats to create (what we think) is our own distinctive sound.

How did you all meet?

We all went to Chilwell School. Jack and Tony have been mates since they bonded over a shared love of 50 Cent and PES4 when they were about 12. Joe and John were in different school years, but we all ended up gravitating towards each other when we got a bit older. The friendship consolidated over a few years in the pub in Beeston, before Jack and Joe started trying to write some songs together

What’s your favourite thing about this lovely neck of the woods?

Heaven is a place on Earth. We love Beeston, so it’s very difficult to pick our favourite thing about the area. Aside from the fact it has the best transport links in Europe and a burgeoning, multicultural high-street, we’d probably have to say the pubs. We love the beer garden at the Star and we regularly score a respectable 17 out of 30 on the Crown pub quiz! Also Poppa Pizza The best pizza in the city bar none!

Who are you favourite local artists and why?

We really like Max Loelz, he has this laid-back, hip-hop vibe which we’re into. Also, Joe’s brother Charlie plays guitar for Yazmin Lacey who’s an incredible talent – she’s just started getting massive in the jazz world. We’re good friends with a band called Amulet as well. They’ve just written a load of new tunes with electronic drums which sound amazing.

 

Describe ‘RnBeeston’ for me?

Our early songs took a lot of cues from R&B, but we were always influenced by conventional guitar music too, which made our sound quite difficult to define. We said this tongue-in-cheek phrase ‘RnBeeston’ once and it stuck. It’s hard to explain, but there’s definitely a certain character to our music that captures the essence of Beeston…

 Anything else to say to the lovely readers of Beestonian?

Be sure to check out our latest single, ‘Exit at the Group Stage’. It’s a World Cup anthem (of sorts) about late nights and early kick offs; staying too long and leaving to soon. The official music video, shot at the Victory Club and various other Beeston locations, is now available to watch on YouTube.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the band for allowing themselves to  become victims in my line of questioning and having seen them perform over at rough trade in Nottingham after the interview I can say the lads are well worth a watch live, right which unfortunate souls are on the hit list next??

LD

 

Beeston Beats: Kingdom Rapper

There is Snow Business like Show Business! Of Beats and Beans, An Impromptu Coffee With Kingdom Rapper.

Saturday the 17th March. Just as we were fooled into thinking winter was over, the “Beast From The East” returned, and once again delayed our passage into Spring, as it had a couple of weeks prior.

Wrapped up and very much windswept I trundled over to Beeston Square. The plan was to observe and report on the making of a music video about Beeston by Benjamin J Howard, otherwise known as, Kingdom Rapper. By the time I had arrived gusts of snow were flurrying around the square, and the wind was picking up. The tarpaulin of nearby market traders flapped violently, and all signs pointed towards inclement weather. It was a far cry from the artic tundra, but it was still legitimately uncomfortable to be outside.

I noticed the crew bunched into small groups around the square. A drone had just been retrieved from flight on one side of the square, and on the other side of the square it was clear to me that considerations were starting to manifest regarding the shoot that was due to take place that day.

I introduced myself to the crew, things hit off instantly. They seemed just as interested in asking me questions as I was of them. Just after the point of no return; ridiculously high winds and out of control hair, a realisation hit me. I realised I had been very pleasantly, yet subtly coerced into a video interview for them, about Beeston. As well as filming the music video, Kindgom Rapper and his crew were also planning on making a short documentary film about Beeston and the making of his music video. Despite the weather, a faction of the crew were busying themselves, continuing to collect video content from passers by.

It wasn’t long before a decision was taken for the crew to discuss the options going forwards over a warm cup of coffee. The vote was cast, and the unanimous decision was to cancel the shoot for the day. No date for the re-shoot was set in stone at the time, but it was suggested that a couple of weeks should be allowed to pass to allow the weather to improve. Benjamin (AKA Kingdom) enthusiastically volunteered to film a short message to his followers on Facebook to explain how the weather had temporarily put a stop to the days plans.

In the meantime Kingdom had kindly agreed to speak to both myself and Christopher Frost about; his life and music, and the ‘I Am Beeston’ project, respectively.

I was keen to find out a bit more about Kingdom’s drive for making music, and, how he came to be in Beeston. So, as the “Beast from the East” raged on outdoors, we started chatting, and so it goes;

Kingdom Rapper moved to Beeston 3 years ago after living in various city centre locations around Nottingham. The pre-tense for leaving almost every city centre location named as a prior residence, from Basford to the Meadows was the same; getting involved up with the wrong people and ending up on a negative cascade. Kingdom originally comes from West Bridgford. He described a somewhat turbulent upbringing where his family were well meaning but had their own adversity to manage. To ride out the chaos at home Kingdom explained that he sought solace in music. One of the stories Kingdom recounted to me was a pivotal turning point in his life when he realised he had a connection with rap music. Kingdom said he was 14 at the time, his mother had brought home an Eminem album. After having taken a listen, Kingdom felt a connection with the aesthetic of the music and the messages conveyed within the lyrics. Soon after, he acquired a microphone and some software, and began to make his own music. Kingdom whilst recounting his earlier life also described how he had entered what he considered to be a negative spiral, he was on the way to developing a ‘smoking’ habit, of which he would later quit, but at the time this came about as not only as a coping mechanism but also as an aid to his creativity. Kingdom kept this within the privacy of his own space, but he did also say that on a wider scale some of his prior associations had connections to gangs and anti-social behaviour.  Kingdom wanted to break out of the negativity and grow as a person as well as an artist. To do this, he knew he needed to become a more positive person in himself and engage with more positive people. People that would allow him to follow his passion and be supportive of his endeavours.

It was by chance that Kingdom ended up in Beeston. An opportunity for a house share arose with a group of friends, and that sealed the deal. Since moving to Beeston Kingdom has found that he has integrated into the community and found his support group. Kingdom describes himself as a community orientated person, and through his music aspires to be an inspiration to other young people who may also have to stand in the face of adversity. Kingdom also explained that since his move to Beeston, he gained momentum with his music and with his community outreach activities. The mantra “turn negatives into positives” was a running theme throughout our discussion. It was apparent that Kingdom really wanted his success to be a conduit for others around him to be successful. He described his ethic for supporting and promoting local businesses, and how they had helped him by lending his team media equipment or allowing a venue to be used as a platform for the promotion of his music. The majority, if not all (I didn’t get to meet them all) of Kingdoms team either lived or worked locally.  Kingdom also said that if he ‘made it big’ then he would like to stay in Beeston and not allow himself to fall into the money orientated world that is associated with musical success. What was really refreshing to see was Kingdom’s down to earth attitude. Having had a minor dabble and walked upon various tourist routes through the music industry myself, I have had the privilege of meeting a fair few music artists. Sadly, a big driving force for many to make it, is indeed fame and the promise of a more affluent life. Kingdom seemed different, his vision was to make music to help people, and that fame overall was of no interest. He wanted to be a “catalyst for change” and change the world bit by bit. He believes he was given the skills as an artist, and that is what is enabling him to do what he does. He also sees his troubled past in a positive light through the ability to empathise with the struggles of other people within the community, as well as show them that with the right attitude, they can find their own way out of adversity and take a more fulfilling path through life.

As I asked about his progression into the music industry, Kingdom also explained how he did previously have a manager, but has since decided to take control of his own musical destiny and now manages himself. Kingdom described some of the more negative aspects of the music industry that had started to manifest, and he felt like he didn’t need to get caught up in contracts and allow himself the chance to become established in himself and be free to follow his own creativity. Being locked into a restrictive 2-year contract and pushed to give up the rights to his name so early on in his career was a big eye opener. His creative freedom was dampened, and he felt that his hands may as well have been tied. Almost everything he did was contract limited. This experience gave him the strength to go in his own musical direction, and I think that this will bring a breath of fresh air to the rap scene.

To draw the conversation to a close I asked Kingdom about his upcoming activities and events. As well as re-setting a date for the ‘Beeston’ music video he also said (and this sounds AMAZING) that there was a plan to film another music video in the Play zone in Lincoln. Various meet and greets, aka ‘chat and raps’, have been arranged with local schools around Nottingham. In terms of events, you can catch him at the Berliner bar for the Sw@g Testament Mixtape Party on April 30th and again at the Bodega on May 31st. As a man of faith Kingdom will also be presenting the Gospel Facto on July 7th. Various ‘in the pipeline’ bits and pieces about the BBC were also mentioned.

The best way to keep up with Kingdom Rapper and his movements is to keep an eye on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kingdomrapperuk/

If you want to check out Kingdom Rapper’s music videos and supporting documentaries take a gander at his YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk0c6CzCZ6od_AzvM-OuN4w

DB

Beeston Beats: Bendigo review

Happy New Year Beestonians! Let us hope you have all recovered from the toils of the festive season and the super dry period of abstinence that is now upon us.

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I may be a little late to the party with this one so to speak. January is always quiet, and we are all recovering from the shear indulgence and hedonism of the month prior to that really, aren’t we? I decided to take this one a little more low-key and finally check out the (relatively) new lounger’s venue that has opened in Beeston. The Bendigo Lounge, named after Beeston born, bare knuckle fighter ‘William Abendigo Thompson’ AKA ‘Bendigo’. Bendigo moved to Beeston a little later in his life and lived in a house on Wollaton road until his passing in 1880, where to this day a blue plaque is left in commemoration.

Proudly occupying a prime spot on the High Road, the former McDonald’s site has been re-claimed and put to use. The re-fit has been quoted as costing £580,000. The Bendigo lounge opened its doors to the general public on the 15th November 2017 and I must say, I feel quite proud to live in a town where “trading patterns” were not sufficient to allow the fast food giant to take hold.

The space is an intermediate between coffee shops and pubs and has a welcoming feel

The arrival of the Bendigo lounge has filled a much needed gap in the high street and also within the town’s night-time economy. The venue serves food from the morning right through until the evening and has a menu to cater for all needs and/or preferences, including a separate vegan menu and a comprehensive list of gluten free options.

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Typical fayre on offer comprises of typical British favourites such as; sandwiches, panini, salads, burgers, tapas, curry and steak. Breakfast options (for both veggies and carnivores) and a variety of coffees are also on offer. A trip to the Bendigo lounge won’t be too damaging to the pocket either. Most menu items for mains are priced at around about £10. Brunch options are served all day and are a little less expensive at around the £6- £8 mark.

 

Not forgetting drinks, again we have the typical selection of teas soft drinks, wines, cocktails and draft beers. In addition there is also a variety of smoothies, milkshakes, juices and home-made favourites.

Décor is eclectically quirky. An array of lampshades litter the ceiling, whilst the walls are decorated in colourful wallpapers, set behind a showcase of artworks, mirror’s and portraits. There is even a wall decorated in stylised images of Bendigo adopting a fighting stance. The furniture has an up-cycled feel and the table tops are brightly painted in an array of designs. The space is an intermediate between coffee shops and pubs and has a welcoming feel. At the front of the venue there is outdoor seating. I noticed the presence of bi fold doors. Obviously due to the weather these haven’t been opened yet, but I can imagine this would add a nice airy feel to the place come summer time.

Current offers include the “Cheeky Monday’s” Where you can get a free drink or dessert with any special, burger or main, and “Tapas Tuesdays” (which is when I went) offering 3 tapas and a glass of wine for £9.95. This offer is particularly good when shared. My companion for the evening and I both got this. We made sure to order a different trio of tapas each and found between us we had a lovely mix and match of dishes to enjoy. Service was polite and reasonably quick. The staff were all very friendly and seemingly on point despite the venue not having been open for long. For me this place gets a definitive thumbs up, and I shall most certainly be visiting again.

The Bendigo Lounge is typically open from 9am until 11pm, On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays the hours are extended until midnight. For more information please see the website on http://thelounges.co.uk/bendigo/

DB

Beeston Beats

Ey yup beatsonite readers,(be you a regular or casually stopping by).

This column tries to bring you news and snippets of the musical variety (plus any extra added adventures I may have been on) from our loveleh neck of the woods, so grab a cuppa put them weary feet up and reach for the chocolate hobnobs…

Back in October Many of you lovely people headed to Oxjam, for those that didn’t you missed out, the event was a complete corker,  jam packed full of fantastic variety of talent, Barton’s bus depot hosted the voice star Lia white, punk pioneers 3 Stone Monkey and the funky styling’s of Dirty Scrounging Bastards. While new venues Totally Tapped, and The Berliner added a bit of  spice, good ol’ faithfuls White Lion, Hop Pole, The Star, Rye, The Crown and many more got together to raise monies for Oxfam. On top of volunteering for the event I also took part in Stoptober for Macmillan, no booze, one month, shares in Pottle of Blues were possibly hit…

Back in the last issue we brought news the legendary Greyhound was to close its doors for good following extortionate hikes in council rates to an eye watering 64k a year.  The venue celebrated with an almighty farewell bang with the usual slots of open mic, rock band guitar hero, an evening of alternative rock and Morderstein, Yorkshires Rammstein tribute band who filled in for Rammlied due to an illness cancellation. I shall always fondly  remember the night moshing to the band performing ‘Du Hast’  followed by  DJ Lee Dowling buckling to my request for the Prodigy’s No Good Start the Dance to be played, at which a room full of metal heads descended back to carefree teenagers.

The Boat and Horses hosted their Christmas Craft Fayre on Saturday 11th November showcasing some handmade and local goods with charity stalls for Treetops Hospice and Beeston 2nd Sea Scouts, the five year old child in me brought some wax melts called reindeer poo and monkey fart, it really is the little things in life… The Victoria Hotel also had an alternative Christmas event for local creatives on the same day. I purchased a print of some artwork from Lauren Butler whose company Seek the Truth had a stall, her images are truly beautiful and slightly more grown up than the wax melts. Also munched on a Bakewell pudding muffin from Justine’s muffins and washed it down with a mulled cider (as it was November and the end of stoptober I had some catching up to do). That leads me nicely to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas – Til next year.

Christmas gig guide!

Ooo what do we have here then? 

  • The Chequers host Verbal Warning
  • Dec 30th (B.Y.O.D bring your own ducks)
  • New years eve Buster and d.j Soul man at the Chequers five quid tickets
  • The Berliner big fat quiz of the year, Dec 27th
  • White Lion Second time around folk club present the Smugglers Dec 1st £5 Tickets
  • Zephyr 4 at the Victory Club

LD

Beeston Beats: R.I.P (Rock In Pieces)

Howdy campers, it’s been a while since my incoherent ramblings have graced this page, I have been on many adventures and seen many things all of which I shall relay to you, but first the bad news…

The Greyhound has announced closure, the announcement was made at the time of writing, and will commence on Sunday 5th November.  A huge factor in this heart breaking decision is the crippling business rates which have soared from 32k a year to £64k!!! That’s a whole lot of pints needed to cover the shocking doubling of its rates, i can assure you I moan like a trooper when they raise the council tax by even a fiver. The rise has led to a statement both via their website and on their face book page about the venues demise prompting outcry from the Beeston public and further afield.

Till the sad, sad day of closure The Greyhound has a few cracking bands up its sleeve with the absolutely stomping rocker band, V8, performing on September 30th, Tick Tick Boom on Friday 20th Oct Friday 27th Oct, a spooky Halloween special withLizziee and the Banshees Friday 3rd November, followed by Rammlied the completely spot on Rammstein tribute, The final blow-out will be is an evening of alternative rock with Black Light Secret, Electric Soup and the Spacehogs.

Anyhoo, As was promised, back on track with adventures, of the Beeston variety, beginning with Liberty Leisure’s  Party in the Park held over at Broadgate Park on August 12th , after announcing a £1 entry fee the event caused a bit of a stir as many people were enraged about being charged a squid to go and look around some stalls. Feeling brave, I handed over my shiny pound at the disgust of some bystanders and headed to have a nosey. Entertainment was a random mix of what a friend called elevator music and headlined by the fabulous The Melanie Page Band. I managed to demolish a brownie courtesy of the guys at Beeston Brownie Company and washed it down with some samples of choccy vodka from Choccy Woccy Vodka Company (I am not even making that up!) while relaxing to some gorgeous vocal tones from Melanie Page purring like a kitten to covers of Bob Marley, The Selector and Bad Manners.  A pound well spent! What else can you get for that nowadays? Ten bags-for-life’s? Or 4 fredos? Answers on a postcard. Which will probably cost more than a quid.

The fun, however, didn’t stop there! I swung by the old bus station to have a cold drink while making a sandcastle and watched my first puppet show over at Beeston Sands (three little pigs!). So very, very, Rock and roll.

Also on the agenda I tried stalking fellow Beestonian Scott Bennett over at Splendour festival only to get to the stage too late and him finishing his set by saying good night! I spent the duration absolutely soaked but yet managing to stay till the very end and witnessing Kaiser Chiefs amazing set, see Ynot!! A bit of rain and other festivals can manage!!!….

If there’s anything on your calendar for October 14th clear it, get ya self down to Oxjam, support the charity and the local music scene, jobs a gud un’: until next time me mateys.

LD

Vice Squad Storm the Beeston Greyhound

You might wonder which is more surprising, that Vice Squad are playing in Beeston, or that it is free.

Vice Squad 2

But the fact that punk superheroine Beki Bondage gives the town its first notable punk gig since Flux of Pink Indians and The Fits played The Shed in October 1981, surely warrants compulsory attendance. Beki (Rebecca Bond) is notable for many things – touring the USA with Social Distortion and Discharge in 1982, releasing the sparkling single in ’82’s Out of Reach, Stand Strong, Stand Proud the same year, and writing Latex Love as a 14 year-old and still performing it in her 50’s. But of all these things, we should give her most credit for trekking the world, delivering rousing chorus-led shows to balding, middle-aged men, nodding their heads to the soundtrack of their youth. And as any of those elite fans would testify, Beki has channelled her desire to be Lita Ford into a productive, varied output that is received tonight by a vibrant crowd. The set spans 2014’s Punk Police from the Cardboard City LP, Upright Citizen from ‘82’s State of the Nation ep, 2006’s Defiant, Stuck in Reverse from the Punk Rock Radio album, and of course Stand Strong, which Beki assures us is ‘as relevant as ever.’

The post-apocalyptic ‘I’m too young to die/too late to live’ Last Rockers from the 1980 fledgling-Squad’s debut is the one everyone loves – the sooner she realises the musical world ended in 1984 and real fans don’t want new songs, the better! Her crowd-rousing ‘Oi, Oi, Oi’ chant (handing the mike to the crowd for them to reciprocate) is frankly cringe worthy, as is the bassist’s inflated Kiss-style stage routine, and the guitarist’s ‘I’m so crazy’ demeanour. As the sole surviving member of the original band, Beki is frozen in time, and a slew of albums under the reformed post-1997 ‘Vice Squad’ won’t release her from the UK82 tag she hauls from country to country. Yet it’s easy to see why Ms Bond and co. would play the Beeston Greyhound, with its obvious rock-vibe, but a shame that a band she formed as a Bristol punkette in 1978, rarely moves beyond a crowd of 50 diehards who’ve seen her play 30+ times alongside their reluctant girlfriends. The band makes scant new fans along the way, nor wins points for sophistication – after all it’s Vice Squad, not Tuxedomoon for goodness sake – but as music journo Gary Bushell always said of this genre of noise, ‘it’s the sound of the streets.’ Still, tonight’s gig was well appreciated by the jaded punk undead and bemused onlookers of Beeston and it’s fair to say, it was worth every penny…

DB

Beeston Beats: Of Greek Food and Gin

A few months ago a friend and I decided that some Mediterranean inspired food was in order to brush off those post-holiday blues, and with empty tummies we trundled off into Beeston looking for something tasty to fill our bellies.

Gin

I’ll never forget that Monday evening, we passed so many closed eateries. It was looking hopeless, and just before we resigned to settling for a takeaway, we made it to Wollaton Road. Thankfully ‘Yiannis’ Greek restaurant was open. Little did we know that we were stumbling upon a future development and another exciting new venue.

The food served within was fantastic. It was no surprise that the restaurant seemed full to capacity within an hour of us being seated. At the end of service Yiannis came across to speak to us. He told us about the conversion that was due to take place in the ‘then’ back room of his restaurant. In a few months’ time, this was to become the new gin bar. I was invited back with co-beats writer Lulu to review the venue once open. Naturally we also took the opportunity to speak to Yiannis about how the bar came to fruition.

The concept for the Gin bar was adopted after Yiannis visited London on a social venture. Gin bars, just like brioche buns and cereal cafes, were the order of the day. Wanting to bring a bit of that back to Beeston, initially the idea was to convert the restaurant in its entirety into the Gin bar, but after some customer feedback a 50:50 combo of restaurant and gin bar was settled.

The gin bar can only be described as a Narnia like gem. You traverse the bright and cheery Mediterranean restaurant front, to an opening leading into the venue located within the building’s posterior. Art deco and shabby chic surrounds are the order of the day.

There are approximately 30 different gins on offer, some from distilleries as local as Loughborough.

On one side, we have the wall of ‘eras’ which will have a corresponding cocktail menu (comprising 5 choices for each) to represent each period in time. Along this wall we can travel through time in aesthetic and alcohol from the 1920’s Prohibition era right up to the present day.

The music was pleasant and sat perfectly in the background allowing space for conversation. The staff members were excellent at engaging with people and encouraging interactions. We sat for a while taking in the atmosphere. This is the kind of place to go to when you want a nice drink, in nice surrounds to enjoy the artistry of the beverage in front of you. Definitely a quality and not quantity venue.

From speaking to Yiannis it was clear he had spent a lot of time not only doing his research, but also engaging with and supporting nearby businesses. Many of the products in stock were locally sourced and of good quality, strictly no draft on tap.

Glass

There are approximately 30 different gins on offer, some from distilleries as local as Loughborough. Feeling spoilt for choice I decided to take the plunge and ask for a surprise. I was presented with a gin Mare embellished with botanicals. All the accompaniments were fresh and complemented the drink perfectly.

Although the venue is in its infancy Yiannis isn’t short of plans to keep the venue interesting and dynamic, ranging from; mixing up new cocktails and gin combinations, to altering the bar aesthetics until the most socially favourable arrangement is found.

At present the bar is open from 5.30pm Monday through to Saturday with last orders served at 11pm. Lunchtime opening is in the pipeline with intent to use the space as a strawberries and prosecco bar. In the meantime though, the gin bar is off to a good start, and if anybody is as passionate about cocktails as Yiannis, a mixologist position is open for a reliable and passionate individual.

 DB

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