Everyone descended into a small venue above a card shop in Nottingham city centre, on a quiet Sunday afternoon for Clear Your Throat. The Chameleon, an arts café and venue, seemed like the perfect venue as the sun lit up the colourful art and graffiti while first band, Mixtape Saints, were setting up. They opened with an energetic performance of the anthemic ‘Heavy Water’. Whilst the room had yet to fill out, this didn’t matter to the band or their audience. They had travelled all the way from Leamington Spa for their early set but you would never have guessed – they played with all their energy, and the crowd couldn’t help but give it all back. Seeing Mixtape Saints is like seeing The Gaslight Anthem in a tiny venue; they have all the intensity and emotion, but with more energy. They kicked off the day perfectly with a fantastic set that shook away any tiredness and the remnants of Saturday night, giving a shout out to some of the great bands yet to come.
Northern punks T-Shirt Weather followed suit with an upbeat set. The band blend punk values, pop culture and lyrics that read like poetry into dancey sing-along songs. It was smiles all round as they played their set, interspersed with a few jokes (mostly aimed at Young Attenborough who were still to come). Their self-depreciating humour is reflective of their lyrics. Musically, their punk influences are clear with references like ‘Shots of Sourz Make You Strong’. Other gems such as ‘Another Pizza, Another Planet’ and ‘Beyoncé Eyes’ offer whimsical pop culture references which give a light-hearted glaze to deep, relatable topics. They are a great representation of the community which they come from, which produces consistently great bands and truly accessible punk, guaranteed to brighten your day. If you like fun, you will love T-Shirt Weather.
Nottingham favourites Isaac followed suit with a strong their characteristic punk songs with classic rock undertones. Isaac is an important band in the DIY Nottingham community, with singer Shankland organising and promoting many of the DIY shows in Nottingham – including Clear Your Throat fest. The band blasted through a ton of songs, including many new ones. Short and sweet, keeping everybody’s attention and providing a wonderful twist on poppy punk rock.
Young Attenborough was a name that had been floating round all morning and they delivered on expectations with a great set. Comparisons between Young Attenborough and indie-punk bands like Great Cynics and Bangers are perhaps lazy, but unavoidable. Their quietly profound songs deal with relatable topics, with themes of self-improvement. Their new album Isolations is perfect bedroom listening but their songs are just as strong live.
Young Attenborough closed the morning session on a high. It’s hard to describe a lot of the bands without a million words – but what combines them all is their commitment to DIY punk values and playing consistently enjoyable shows that everyone can enjoy.
Following the dinner break, Mannequin took to the stage to shake away any evening tiredness. The day was transformed from indie-punk sing-alongs to a punk rock, hard-core set. The Chameleon looked like an entirely different venue, feeling more like the midst of a Friday night than a Sunday. Mannequin is a Nottingham band, born and bred, and their impact on the punk community has been clear as the room was packed out for their set.
Bluebird carried on with this change of pace with a more emo tinge with math-rock influences. They are another great Nottingham band who have made a large impact in the Midlands emo scene. As the singer bounced around the stage and heads bobbed in unison, it was clear the band had everyone in the crowd hooked.
After singing to Paper + Plastick, it’s been a big year for Guerrilla Monsoon who only formed in December. Hailing from Birmingham, the band play aggressive, catchy punk rock songs, influenced by those such as Against Me! The set was full of boundless energy and massive songs. Simply put, it’s no surprise that they’ve been so successful.
Headliners The Traders, all the way from France, finished with a classic punk rock set. Reminiscent of bands like The Flatliners and A Wilhelm Scream, they tied together a perfect day. Playing one song after another in quick succession, their allocated time flew by. Again, they’re another band who are going places. They rounded out the set by moving all of their stuff (drums included) into the middle of the crowd to finish their last song. They truly gave it their all.
Clear Your Throat was the first of its kind, and it couldn’t have gone any better. The festival provided a snapshot of the insane amount of talent in the UK DIY punk scene.
Massive thanks to Shankland for putting on an incredible day with a stellar line up. With gems such as Chameleon and JT Soar in Nottingham on our doorstep, there’s no reason why the Nottingham community can’t build on this success.