Excitement mounts as the road is blocked off. Twinkly lights glisten over the streets, while endless colourful bunting flaps around wildly in the crazy-ass strong Nottingham winds.
20th April, Vulture Hound was at Hit The Deck. This isn’t a newbie festival on the scene, but is slowly building up speed as this year saw a better line up than ever before. Establishing itself this year, as THE premier indoor Festival, first Bristol and then Nottingham got hit by these crazy-talented folk, just to name a few: Brand New, Saves The Day, Pulled Apart By Horses, Brutality Will Prevail, Memphis May Fire, Kids In Glass Houses, and The Blackout! The near 60 strong line-up featured a range of bands, from the small to the heavy weights.
First we caught Lacey, an unassuming local band, who are familiar friends and fans of the event, at The Forum. To a non Nottingham dweller, The Forum looks like an average bar or club from the outside, but down into the dark smokey belly of it and there’s a perfect gig spot, easily fitting an audience of a few hundred. Lacey barely wasted a minute to get started on their set, the joy of festival efficiency. With a great alternative rock pop sound, not pop rock, as they definitely lean further towards the Rock, they were the perfect introduction to the Festival. It’s easy to shun off a alt-rock sound on record, but live? They can stand shoulder to shoulder with the headliners of this event easily. Their tracks are heartfelt, lyrical and hook-ridden. Lacey’s sound harks back to the early 00’s emotional, quiet and riffy sounds of Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World or The Used. No doubt there are big things in store for these guys, having landed a support slot for (Bowling For Soup Jaret’s new band) People On Vacation with their talents, the spectacular rise is looking to come sooner rather than later. Adding to all that, the guys are good looking and lovely, they simply cannot fail.
Next, after moseying over to Rock City’s main hall, Hawthorne Heights were awaited by an ever growing and anticipatory crowd. So, these guys look cool. They sound cool. Their set was a full album, which is never a crowd pleaser, but they were decent, they have a fun sound, some catchy tracks, and are a good live band. However, they took to the stage with an air of arrogance, playing at the crowd instead of for them, and (one member especially) even over-performing, which you wouldn’t think was possible for a rock band.
We caught The Front Bottoms set in Rock City main hall. Padding onto the stage in socks, the charismatic front man was captivating. Appearing like their music and life ethos are one and the same, the guys are cool and chilled. With sound similar to The Strokes or The Hives, the hit of their set was ‘Skeleton’ which was especially resonating.
Crammed into the Rescue Rooms bar, people squeezed to see American Pie star Thomas Nicholas. With support from Matt Kennedy, Thomas played a heart-warming acoustic set, whilst chatting with the crowd in the intimate venue. He expressed genuine surprise at the amount of people who had come to see him, what a lovely humble attitude for a talented musician and recognisable movie star.
Pulled Apart By Horses are a band made for festivals. The energy, the sound, the look. It’s what festivals are all about. Gracing the main stage, PABH are an exciting British band, blasting jam-packed, emotional and intellectual tunes with heavy riffs, mega sounds and buckets of energy. The name alone states the guts and grit present in this ensemble. Not for the faint of heart, the guys boast pretty heavy post-hardcore rock n roll, and look like an awesome and sweaty hair bear bunch!
Hitting up the Rock City main Stage, veterans Saves The Day. Having spied the guys earlier in the day, they seem similar in presence on stage to back here on earth; quiet, unassuming and laid back. The fans welcomed them to the stage by blasting out the guy’s most popular track ‘At Your Funeral’, the room was packed and the crowd was pumping. STD played their forty-five minute set with precision, each song sounding fun and happy-go-lucky, no matter what the songs actually about as the lead singers tone is simply adorable.
With an epic performance to end our day, The Blackout hit the Rock City Basement with the energy worthy of a rocket. Originally wondering, why this high profile rock band has been put in the smaller venue, on attendance the reasoning was obvious. Vocalists Gav and Sean throwing themselves all over the place, with no respect of their own safety- onto the crowd, under the crowd, climbing all over the amps, rails and posts, its hard to imagine who were loving it more, the crowd or the guys themselves. Blasting out recognisable track after track, you realise what stars these guys are, and what amazing music they’ve made over the years. If you went in as a rock fan, you left as a The Blackout fan. If you went in a fan you left simply obsessed. EVERYONE should see these guys live.
Already anticipating next year, Hit The Deck was an amazing event.