Playing in a band at Nottingham may seem like too much to balance for us students with our heavy workloads and social lives to lead, but for me it is fundamental creative escape. There is something really exciting about getting a group of like-minded people into a hot, sweaty and steamy – no wait, crammed – practice room, ready to join ideas and play loud music for a good few hours each week. While parallels can be drawn between this and the reverberations of weekly clubbing, it is indescribable how elated you feel when a song comes together or when a stranger after a gig claps you on the back to say “well done”.
Being in a band at Nottingham is totally different to my home experiences (in my case, Oxford). Before, I was sometimes having to get my parents to help me lug equipment to the outskirts of the county, from run down pubs with seemingly inbred audiences, to popular venues in the city and even playing at my school. Although Nottingham is a much bigger city, the music scene appears to be more localised yet with the similar range of venues. Seven is one of the best known venues for university bands, with its acoustic bar downstairs and the area upstairs allowing the gain to be increased. While this is probably the most regularly played venue for bands at Nottingham, I have also had the opportunity to play at the Rescue Rooms and at a little-known venue called the Maze, situated on Mansfield Road. On first impressions it appears to be a standard pub, but as you delve into its depths, an intimate venue emerges with corner staging, a bar and a large audience area. Apart from the above, there are still so many places to explore across the city and the range that I have experienced so far is varied and refreshing.
So how do you get involved? Well, for the individual artist, just grab your guitar or whatever instrument you play and book yourself in at places such as Snug and Wax Bar. The atmosphere at both is always chilled and extremely welcoming. For the group artist, firstly knock on a few doors in your hall. I can guarantee that at least one person will play the guitar or have a half-decent voice. Get chatting and get jamming. Alternatively, become a member of Nottingham’s very own Band Society…surprisingly called BandSoc, which hosts regular gig nights at Seven featuring university bands. Membership enables you to have access to its fully-equipped practice rooms joined to the New Theatre and to the Archaeology building. It is really fantastic to be involved and I would recommend anyone with a burning musical desire to give it a go. Who knows, one day you might be headlining the Summer Party…
To get involved with BandSoc, check out www.bandsoc.net