After five weeks of a whopping 50 percent deafness in the wake of Download, I pioneer on like the trooper I am, in the quest for all things different, carrying the flag for the good ship Beestonia…
Firstly, the Ryland’s suffered a blow as legendary venue the Plessey closed its doors after an almighty send off – which I attended – and can report that the nostalgia was running high. Regulars joined forces with curious passersby to celebrate this historic focal point and its rich background. Many a family party had graced the function room with entertainment ranging from live acts to bingo, Northern Soul or blues nights to name a few. After moving to the Beeston area I have spent many a night putting the world to rights or enjoying a cold one at ‘ode ‘Plessah’: a sad time indeed.
Quickly regaining my composure, I took a change of scenery to the Froth Cafe over at the Creative Quarter. Fear not those with an aversion to non alcoholic drinks, as the night hosted a gorgeous cocktail menu for a cracking 2 for £8 washed down with a side of Live Music of course.
The night in question classical music masterminds The Warp Trio made their debut in the tiny space usually allocated for Mish Mash gallery. Surrounded by stunning realistic portraits, and abstract canvases adorning the walls the mood was set by flickering candles and the gentle hum of chatter.
Formed back in 2014 the highly talented musicians splice together familiar popular classical music with an edgy twist. Josh Henderson introduces his two accomplices as pianist Mikael Darmaine and Ju Young Lee handling the cello.
Within a few bars of their opening piece, the sheer expertise was immediately apparent as the three musicians masterfully flirted between styles from subtle jazz influences to aspects of funk with an enviable ease. Throughout the evening, passion and energy exuded from the artists, during either their renditions of Chopin or original compositions – the experience was completely rewarding even for classical music novices such as me.
That’s it for another issue. I shall keep my eyes extra peeled for musical gems lurking in our vicinity, (that is not a euphemism for Pokémon Go!). Till next time….
There was a flying start for this year’s Oxjam in an utterly packed White Lion for the Launch and Music Quiz on June 8th.
There were ninety people plus spectators in nearly 20 teams, including the 30 members and supporters of the Nottingham University OXFAM society. They answered (or tried to answer!) questions ranging from what “what was the name of both a lute-playing contemporary of Shakespeare and a legendary blues singer?” to “who had the first billion times viewed Youtube video?” It’s Robert Johnson and Psy respectively, since you ask. In fact the scoring was pretty high despite the occasional furrowed brow and sigh of despair, and the winning team managed 42 out of 50. They promptly donated their cash prize to Sergio’s “Calais” fund (which was nice).
So a decent fund-raiser – and a great curtain raiser – for a festival that culminates in The Takeover on October 15th. Next up is Oxjam Unplugged on Saturday July 2nd. The venue is Middle Street Resource Centre, which you might think is somewhat unlikely, but it’s actually a lovely setting for the small scale event, catering for about 80 people seated cabaret style. There’ll be a licensed bar plus soft drinks, coffee and snacks. Plus it’s only a 5 minute walk from the Interchange or buses (Indigo, 36, Y36) and the tram stop.
On the bill is folk punker Paul Carbuncle who was a great hit at last year’s Takeover where he played3 sets in as many venues. Unfortunately Paul is otherwise engaged on October 15th so this will be his only Oxjam appearance this year. Also performing will be local favourite and Oxjam totem Emma Bladon-Jones – such a fabulous singer-songwriter, as if you didn’t know!
We’ll also be introducing two young singer-songwriters, Matt Humphries and Andrew Tucker (who is lead singer and songwriter for Ivoryserfs). Listen out for their unusual covers. Finally, completing the line-up is Dave Mooney, who combines his own songs about his travels in the east with covers from the skiffle and tea dance eras. He may (or may not) appear with Nancy, a puppet he employs when working as a street performer, so keep your eyes peeled.
Tickets are £6 from Oxfam Books & Music, The Middle Street Resource Centre, or on-line at www.wegottickets.com/event/363566 (+ 10% booking fee). Hurry while stocks last!
It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that the biggest rock festival the Midlands has to offer descended yet again upon the area. Being of a musical persuasion the headlining acts of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and the fire obsessed Rammstein lured me to that watery, mud infested outing which lasted five days.
Parting with enough cash to make any self respecting adult cry, I exchanged monies, freedom and civilisation to experience my fourth year in a row on the sacred Donnington ground. By now most people may have seen the images of tents streaming with mud free flowing like a chocolaty tidal wave taking out temporary nylon abodes.
The sheer volume of chaos Mother Nature inflicted was enough to conjure memories of warm beautiful pubs back over in Beestonian land where ciders and ales were served in glass, real glass not plastic beakers barely filled and more costly. Amidst a crowd full of rockers I had a true cheers moment, I missed my local, its characters, its cider and mostly its warm friendly atmosphere and unsoggy seating.
no one quite tells you that Download is mostly about queuing and walking
Manning up I waded through a sticky sea of sludge to the main stage determined my festival holiday wouldn’t be deterred by the weather. music begun at the highly unsociable hour of 11am leaving time to queue (yet again!) for a quick breakfast stop before making the half an hour journey to the arena from the campsite. In fact no one quite tells you that Download is mostly about queuing and walking.
Californian rockers Alien Ant Farm tie up a nice little link to the theme of this issue, as the band performed the 2001 track ‘Movies’, the video was a mash up of Ghostbusters, karate kid and Edward Scissor hands parodies.
Tedious link number two goes to Juliette Lewis and the Licks, Juliette being a Hollywood legend having graced the screen for From Dusk Till Dawn and Natural Born Killers performing an absolute kick ass set. Darting round the stage with enough energy to upset a Duracell bunny 42 year old Juliette didn’t slow down and looked amazing in a jumpsuit while she did so, some women have all the luck…
So were the cash, mud, rain, sunstroke and chaos worth it? To see these rock heavy hitters a short bus journey away, definatly however creature comforts have taken over and munching on a cheese board at The Crown or catching a random band over at the Greyhound is without a doubt less stressful and soul destroying. I shall be back next issue to seeking out Beeston’s finest random acts and bands, dry and slightly less grumpy!
It’s May already and, as I write, people are peering at that strange yellowy thing in the sky and waxing lyrical about flowing things appearing all over the place.
Maybe, in your excitement at the sudden appearance of a phenomenon known as ‘Spring’, you’ve been anxiously looking around for signs that, despite rumours to the contrary, one of Beeston’s great institutions has survived the winter to re-emerge, leaner, fitter, and brighter than before. Well, look no more: this article is the ‘green shoot’ you’ve been eagerly awaiting: the Beeston Oxjam Music Festival is back!
From its modest origins six years ago the Festival – aka ‘Oxjam Takeover’ – has grown to be the biggest of Oxjam’s forty-odd festivals around the UK, raising a record-breaking £17K for Oxfam. For 2016 we have a Team of volunteers – some experienced Oxjammers, some new – who have already got a plan of events that we’ll tell you more about in the coming weeks. So get your diary out. Here’s how it looks so far:
- Wednesday June 8 – official ’Beeston Oxjam Launch and Music Quiz’ at the White Lion;
- Saturday July 2 – ’Oxjam Unplugged’ – Middle Street Resource Centre (a new Oxjam venue but easy to get to by tram or bus, which stop outside, or just a five minute walk from the Interchange) – with licensed bar;
- Friday 16 September – ‘Oxjam Introducing…’ (Under-19 performers) – venue tbc;
- Saturday 24 September – ’Oxjam Ceilidh’ – venue tbc
- Saturday 15 October – Oxjam Takeover’ – venues and artists tbc
- Saturday 12 November – ’Classical Oxjam’ – Beeston Parish Church.
For details of the above as they become confirmed – and more events – check our Facebook page and website (oxjambeeston.org). Tickets for some events will shortly be on sale from Oxfam Books and Music in Beeston or online from wegottickets.com (10% booking fee).
We are also looking for volunteers who could help with any aspect of the Oxjam Music Festival, from artists’ liaison to publicity to general helper. If you’d like to know a bit more, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you.
It’s barely six months to go and only a few weeks to our launch event/pub quiz.
The last Beeston Beats featured a promise by myself to root out all alternative music, a vow that led me to the ‘Boat and ‘ossess’ (horses) down on Trent Road in the Rylands.
Previously I have only ventured ito this establishment very rarely, with prior outings to the Degeneration festival last year and again more recently for a fantastic Sunday dinner (now sadly not available).
Within moments of stepping in the venue something didn’t quite seem the same, a change in atmosphere lingered in the air and then it hit me; the strong character of previous landlord Peter was missing, with him venturing off to pastures new. His dynamic and friendly personality added a quality to the ‘ossess that made strangers feel immediately welcome.
Hosts aside, the music element still remains, with the pub’s weekly open mic night every Thursday alongside a guest spot at 10pm for an assigned band/act.
Catching my interest was a four piece group called Foreign Accent who were due to perform the late spot: a Hungarian folk band on a U.K tour covering local venues across Nottingham – The Maze, Surface Gallery and Running Horse.
Within moments of their starting I was utterly entranced. Their beautiful sound consisted of an infusion of violin over plucked acoustic guitar, twinkling keyboards alongside a hauntingly emotive vocal.
Even the subject matter of the songs was deep and meaningful with verses based on poems such as ‘Prayer after war’ inspired by the work of Endre Ady, telling the tale of an ex soldier trying to make peace with himself after war.
There was also a rendition of English folk ballad ‘Scarborough Fair’ followed by an Indian folk song ‘Vasudevaya’. ’Blue violet’ is based on a Hungarian folk song about a small flower asking for dewfall as a broken heart seeks love – the majority of mainstream modern pop music lyrics just fade in comparison.
The night was soaked in enchanting melodies, making it impossible to be occupied in anything else going on at the time. As for the next stop in my random music adventure, who knows where I will end up? This, was an amazing place to start, though!
Unruly music fiend seeks company and fellow companions for
Gigs and adventures must be a tiddly bit crazy and partial to coffee
and chocolate hobnobs