Being offered this role was just like asking me to do my hobby as a job
RADIOHEAD played for him for the paltry sum of £50. He's also put on pre-fame gigs by The White Stripes, Kasabian and The Strokes.
Now, after more than 20 years of promoting music across the city and beyond, Anton Lockwood is up for his first award.
The 46-year-old has been nominated for Promoter of the Year at the Music Week 2013 Awards.
It's for his work as promotions director at the city-based DHP, overseeing 1,200 gigs a year across the UK, along with nine music festivals including Dot to Dot, Gathering, Hit The Deck and Everywhere.
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DHP – which also runs Nottingham venues Rock City, the Rescue Rooms, The Bodega, Stealth and The Black Cherry Lounge – won National Promoter of the Year at the Live Music Business Awards 2012.
"That was brilliant but the Music Week awards are that bit broader and more high profile, so on a personal level it's very satisfying," says Anton, who lives in Sherwood.
The winner will be announced on April 11 at The Bowery in London and he's up against the man who offered him his job with DHP a decade ago.
At the time Andy Copping, who now works for Live Nation booking all the bands for the annual Download festival, was a promoter at Rock City.
"He was said they were going to open the Rescue Rooms and did I want to come and put all the bands on there? It was like asking me if I wanted to do my hobby as a job."
Prior to that Anton had been running his own music promotion company called The Night With No Name, initially with his girlfriend.
"We did a little known band called Radiohead at The Imperial in St James Street," he recalls.
"We paid them £50 to do a support slot."
Their first gig was in 1991 at Trent Poly with Silverfish and Fudge Tunnel.
Over the next 14 years they promoted shows across the city, including reviving the fortunes of The Boat Club as a live venue.
Says Anton: "We had John Peel down there broadcasting live from the ladies' changing rooms as part of Radio 1's Sound City.
"It was the only place where we could put all his gear far enough away from the stage so he could broadcast without being drowned out by the bands on the stage.
"He was quite amused by that I think."
He adds: "I had a real job at the time at Boots, working in IT management. It was quite a senior position. I was promoting shows as a hobby.
"Then Boots had a big restructure and I was made redundant.
"Around that time I had The Strokes, Kasabian and the White Stripes playing at The Social.
"That got DHP's attention and they offered me a job."
After the Rescue Rooms was up and running, DHP bought the Thekla in Bristol, opened Stealth, took over The Social (eventually renaming it The Bodega) and changed The Rig to The Black Cherry Lounge.
Anton was booking bands into all DHP venues, then expanded to promoting tours around the UK by the likes of the Flaming Lips, Ed Sheeran, Rufus Wainwright and Lana Del Ray.
"On the night of the awards I have three bands on in London, so I'd better win if I'm missing them," he jokes.
Nottingham record shop, The Music Exchange, is also nominated in the Independent Retailer category.
Anton will be making the journey to London with shop manager Joey Bell.
"I know him really well because I used to manage Punish The Atom, the band he was the singer for, so it should be a good night."