Hit The Deck 2014 - Nottingham
Imagine the scene: it’s a grey, dull Easter Sunday and you’re tired, you want to eat chocolate and relax. But somewhere in the middle of Nottingham, a day of debauchery awaits, with bands playing all day across six venues (and one shop), a day where a lot of people were very drunk and a day where there was more pop punk than you could shake a stick at. That day is Hit the Deck 2014, this year headlined by Brand New.
Kicking things off just after midday upstairs at Rock City with Adelphia, they look suitably ‘scene’ even whilst playing possibly the world’s most awkward cover of Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’ (which gets one teenage girl very excited, for reasons unknown). But still, an entertaining way to kick off the day and one to watch if they can do something different with the somewhat clichéd alt-rock sound they peddled for most of the set.
Inside the main room of The Rescue Rooms (with the acoustic stage in the bar), were Sheffield screamo rockers Elegies who delivered a high-octane set in a style very similar to Welsh rockers The Blackout who headlined the Rock City basement later that day. There was more screamo to be found over in Stealth, albeit a rather poor version of it, with Grappler delivering a very angry set flanked by constant strobe lighting. Not for the faint-hearted, and definitely not a good idea for a venue with the characteristics of a glorified bar.
After a while the acts tend to blur into either very clichéd pop punk bands or screamo/hardcore bands that just didn’t impress. Even once hotly tipped Welsh rockers Verses stutter with a set that ticked many boxes but never quite clicked. This feeling was rather interrupted when The Front Bottoms took to the stage peddling their rather excellent brand of folk punk to a packed out room upstairs in Rock City. Their more dedicated fans were very audible for a set filled with cuts mostly from their 2013 album Talon of the Hawk.
The highlight of the day came from soon to be departed Welsh rockers Kids in Glass Houses (who recently announced a farewell tour) who delivered an emotionally charged energetic set in The Forum, which saw quite a few people leave in tears. Whilst the set was mostly made up of singles, with the likes of ‘Saturday’, ‘Matters At All’ and ‘Drive’ all getting airings, a touching moment came when singer Aled Philips dedicated ‘Hunt The Haunted’ (from 2010’s Dirt) to a group of fans who have followed the band around for a very long time.
The day ended for us with Norwegian metal band Kvelertak who were headlining The Rescue Rooms with a heavy set that was so filled with CO2 and flames that quite a few people left the 450 capacity venue with what appeared to be sunburn. Unfortunately, after Kvelertak’s set, we couldn’t catch headliners Brand New due to the room at Rock City being at full capacity but considering the amount of people who were gushing about the set afterwards, it seemed like a great way to end the day.
Despite some issues with the booking (perhaps more to do with the state of the current scene), this year's festival can go down as another resounding success for the Hit The Deck crew. Now an integral part of the festival calendar, those in attendance will surely be marking up their calendars for 2015.