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July 2011

IT was close. One per cent was all that divided The Money and Tastebuds in the Future Sound of Nottingham competition at Rock City earlier this month. While The Money went on to enjoy their prize at Splendour – opening the main stage in front of thousands last weekend – runners-up Tastebuds were licking their wounds back in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
“It was quite upsetting,” says singer and guitarist Simon Broomhead.
“In a way it would have been easier to handle it if we’d lost by a big margin. But to know it was just one per cent... it tormented me for about a week. That said, it was a mind-blowing gig. To play on the main stage at Rock City and do a really good job, that was an incredible feeling.”
To snap out of the gloom, last weekend Tastebuds played their first show in London, at the legendary Hope & Anchor in Islington.
“It was amazing,” says Simon. “It’s a tiny place but the rock ’n’ roll heritage is quite humbling.
“There were posters on the walls of all the bands that have played there over the years: The Who, U2, Joy Division...
“The gig started off a bit dodgy because the first band didn’t turn up, so we went on earlier than we’d planned. And when we started there was one guy in there.
“We thought we’d made all this effort to play for one bloke. But then halfway the first song all these people appeared and it was rammed.”
They have a strong following around the Mansfield area but the Hope & Anchor crowd were all locals.
“There were girls screaming, so we definitely hit a nerve.
“We all agreed the next morning how much we loved it and that we’d have to do it again.”
He adds: “We also all agreed that coming back to Sutton was quite depressing.”
The band formed three years ago when keyboard player Anna Kerr was asked to live in a 52-room disused nursing home to deter vandals.
“It became the perfect base for the five friends, who had all played in various covers bands around the area, to write and rehearse.
“We had a room set up where we could leave all the equipment and if we had an idea we could walk into the room and just play.”
That lasted for 18 months before the place was reopened as a nursing home.
“It’s quite surreal driving past it now,” says Simon. “We’ve wondered what it would be like if all five of us ended up in there in 50 years’ time, still playing the same tunes.”
Since getting together as Tastebuds they’ve won Battle of the Bands competitions, played the Ashfield Show with Sugababes and appeared on bills with Ade Edmondson’s The Bad Shepherds, Alvin Stardust, James and The Holloways.
Says Simon: “We’ve got a friend who works in the music industry in London and her advice after the gig at the Hope & Anchor was to get a following around Nottingham.
“Bands that make a noise in their home cities are more likely to attract the attention of record companies. So we’re planning to do that.
“In a way that’s why we were gutted not to have won the Splendour gig because that would have made our name in Nottingham.
“Then again, before we did the Future Sound of Nottingham competition, few people in Nottingham knew who we were. We’ve had a lot of coverage since then so we’re on the way.”

Tastebuds play in the bar at Mansfield Town FC tonight, from 8pm with Funksaw, then the Wire & Wool Min-Fest at The Alley Cafe, Canon Court, Long Row West, Nottingham on Thursday with Just James, The Afterdark Movement, Nightmare Arcade and others.

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