First impressions, the event was going to be a flop. The Rescue Rooms was nowhere near full, despite the lure of free entry for a music event with up and coming artists in a city full of die-hard music fans.
Tony Bates, the organiser of the event who was willing to create a platform for others, said in an interview: “The idea was to find a 14-year-old kid who can make music in their bedroom and wants to make it in life”.
It was as much fun being back stage as it was listening to the performances; interviewing the acts made me appreciate how much music meant to them and gave extra meaning to their songs. All of them had other jobs or commitments but music is an escape for them. One of the acts Raphic said: “Music is life to me.”
The presenter, Jackie Gardner, from Kemet FM was sassy and filled the event with character. She made the artists feel at home and wasn’t afraid to tell the audience to “shush” on more than one occasion.
This jokey back and forth including the judges made first time performers feel more relaxed and made the event seem more personal, including the audience in the banter.
The event started at 7pm, it didn’t matter that the venue wasn’t full as there was a warm atmosphere filled with mostly family and friends of the acts all here to support the talent.
The Dandy Lions even let a member of the audience sing into their microphone, which was risky considering they were all original songs, but surprisingly he knew all the words.
The same act was guilty of small scale bribing as they chucked Haribos into the audience half way through their song, explaining the song was about pick and mix; the crowd wasn’t complaining. The very act came second. “Unexpectedly brilliant,” spoken by judge Nina Smith.
The winner should have been obvious given that she was the only act who didn’t receive any criticism at all. Kelsey Shaw’s voice was truly stunning, however she wasn’t my favourite. She didn’t gush about her love for music quite as the others did.
Despite being the whole package, even playing guitar, I couldn’t help but fall for Chai Lardan and Ben Hibbert, a unique duo who mixed harmonies seamlessly.
Overall the event was inspiring and refreshing; despite it being something that isn’t usually for me, it was an enjoyable evening supporting Nottingham’s coming artists at an iconic music venue.