Acid Mothers Temple + Guranfoe + Organisms @ Waterfront Studio 16 October 2017

When the sky turned yellow and otherwordly I knew that the Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. had landed in Norwich for their annual visit, for their appearance at the Norwich Waterfront Studio.

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eerie sky

 

After performing with such bands as Toho Sara, Ohkami No Jikan, Musica Transonic, and Mainliner, Japanese guitarist Makoto Kawabata decided to continue his musical explorations by bringing together like-minded individuals to create trippy psychedelic freak-outs inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Krautrock, and ’70s progressive hard rock. Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. (Underground Freak Out) were founded in 1996 as a “soul collective.” It’s not a commune in the full sense since the members don’t all live together, but it is based on communal values and has even been mistaken by some people for a religious cult.

Guranfoe is a British progressive rock group that formed in September 2012. Their music spans early 1970s fusion, improvisational jazz, psychedelic rock and ancient ragas. Their eclectic music is fleshed out with a liberal dose of wah, left turns of delicate psych and a dash of acid-laced jazz, while propulsive krautrock floats between the cracks and lingers just below the surface.

Organisms play doomy grunge rock, with excursions to psychedelia. Formed in 2016 and with and album out this year ‘Mollusk’, the group is lead by Joe Quinn from The Grazing Saints and Amazing world of living things and also features members from Norwich bands including Bavarian Rocket Group, Horo Quintet and The Woodland Creatures.

Through Astral Planes and Ethereal Bodies, they bring you raw and groovy music from the Kosmos.

acid mothers temple

 

Two local bands opened up for them, Organisms, and Guranfoe. I didn’t catch all of Guranfoe’s set and they initially seemed to have some technical issues and with sound which didn’t feel quite right for them but they are an interesting blend of instrumental and unashamed prog, psychedia and rock.  I have friends who are raving about this band and I liked them too so I want to catch one of their own gigs soon and am looking forward to properly experiencing Guranfoe.

guranfoe

Guranfoe

guranfoe

Guranfoe

 

guranfoe

Guranfoe

 

organisms

Organisms

Organisms sounded big, powerful and dark … but as with Guranfoe, the sound was disappointing, or the mix at any rate … their subtlety was a bit lost and it was a bit muddy and heavy at the bottom end but Bromley’s keys still  floated magically and dreamily over the top.  The short set flew by and when Joe announced their last song after only four or so it seemed so short and sudden but they finished on a high with a great groove on their closer.

organisms

Organisms

 

The onset of autumn usually signals the return of Acid Mothers Temple, seemingly playing a different venue each time – Epic, old Owl Sanctuary, new Owl Sanctuary, and now the Studio at the Waterfront, their sound was terrific, thankfully.  This time they somehow sounded bigger and a lot heavier, and still with their playful side.  A guitarist in drag with a pink wig (Pink Lady Lemonade) who left the stage for a little dance on the PA, it was a bit surreal.  Magical and dreamy as ever, one can easily lose the concept of time but I do know however that their first three songs took us well past the 45 minute mark – in fact they probably played the same number of songs as Organisms did!  Amazingly, they opened with probably their best known song – Pink Lady Lemonade – which was reprised later. Mid set featured an incredible Cometary Orbital Drive.

 

Good to see the word of mouth effect about this stunning live act as there are more people coming each time, and those that have seen them once always see them again!  Their previous Norwich gigs are among my favourite of all time, so obviously expectation is going to be incredibly high but they still deliver every time and there is something transcendental about their live experience, there is no other band like them for this.

acid mothers temple

Acid Mothers Temple

 

acid mothers temple

Not quite your typical gig scene but they are no typical band.

 

acid mothers temple

Acid Mothers Temple go walkabouts

acid mothers temple

This all seemed to make perfect sense at the time. JoJo with Higashi Hiroshi of AMT.

 

acid mothers temple

acid mothers temple

 

Many thanks to Acid Mothers Temple, and The Waterfront.

 

acid mothers templeacid mothers temple

 

I have learned that seeing another gig straight after Acid Mothers Temple is invariably a bad move as they are one hard act to follow. Their gigs are profound and intensely moving experiences, almost spiritual, and it takes time to mentally process. They also set the bar ridiculously high as a standard. Consequently I was not really in the mood for another gig so soon afterwards but still made my way to Norwich Arts Centre the following evening for the visit of Cabbage, The Blinders, and Queen Zee and the Sasstones.  The first act of the night were my highlight and I thought they totally stole the show. Liverpool’s Queen Zee and the Sasstones had a brilliant blend of presence, attitude, theatre and things to say, addressing fascism, Trump, and looking out with care and love for the LGBT community, especially after the Orlando attack.  They were loud, powerful, defiant and brilliant. The noise didn’t cover anything up, those were just great songs. Their sound was at times glorious … if I could pick at anything it would be to hear a bit more punch from the bass drum on some of the earlier numbers.  I believe they return to NAC at the end of the month supporting Marmozets, a gig I had earmarked but cannot make and am now even sadder that I won’t be there. I found it so refreshing to hear a band play who had melodies and hooks every bit as strong and powerful as their messages. They had a real New York Dolls energy about their performance too, which of course is no bad thing. Best act of the night by far, for me.

queen zee and the sasstones

Queen Zee and the Sasstones

 

 

 

They were followed by The Blinders from Doncaster, who also came onstage with bags of presence and an assured swagger.  Something about them, probably the bass player’s look, really brought to mind Nick Cave. Their sound was massive and impressive and although very enjoyable I was kind of wanting a tad more variety after a few songs but I liked them and will check out their recordings.

the blinders

The Blinders, looking quite demonic

 

 

Cabbage are highly regarded by many friends of mine, and although they have played Norwich several times already this was my first time seeing them. There was quite an air of excitement and anticipation as they took the stage and it didn’t take long for a mosh-pit of thronging bodies to become as one, swaying over the dancefloor.  I now knew why the crush barrier was making a rare appearance, I don’t think I’ve seen a mosh-pit like that at NAC since The Fuzztones in the late 80s.  All of which only served to alienate me further as I just wasn’t “feeling it” from Cabbage and I’m afraid about half an hour was as much as I could take.  There is no doubting their passion, energy, ability and self-confidence but they are simply not my thing. I did take pleasure from the amazing scenes of the devoted audience whose ‘thing’ Cabbage most certainly were.  That’s not to say I dismissed them, I have spent most of the time since the gig pondering on them and wondering if I listen more if I will have that epiphany moment and wondering why I was not connecting like the rest of the room was. The effect on their fans is the most impressive, energised and energetic, it’s a long time since I’ve seen that sort of action on the dancefloor.  They certainly shake things up too and got me thinking.  They will go far but it seems I just don’t like cabbage. On another day I’d have possibly enjoyed this a bit more but I was not in the mood and still in that headspace where Acid Mothers Temple placed me. Now that was a gig I really did enjoy.

 

 

cabbage

Many thanks to Norwich Arts Centre.

 

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Twin Guns + Ravenous Hounds + The Lantern Men @ The Underbelly 13 October 2017

What better way to acknowledge Friday 13th than with some mean and dirty “garage noir” in the Rumsey Wells’ Underbelly?  I’m still stunned – in a delighted way – that we had a gig like this for free in the city, what a gem it was and thanks to all who played and made it happen. It was fairly rammed down in that basement too but so was NAC who had another sellout night for NS&V just down the road, and another notable gig at The Owl for OddBox.

 

twin guns

Twin Guns

 

 

 

Despite being a band from the Broads (Wroxham) I’d never seen The Lantern Men name before but they provided a perfect opening set of some mean and dirty rock and rockabilly with a few great covers thrown into their set giving their treatment to the likes of Love Potion No.9 and a song I hadn’t heard in years which instantly took me right back to 1984 and the trash sound … “I’m Out of Control” from Billy Childish and Thee Milkshakes. A mix of some well chosen covers and originals played with infectious enthusiasm. Much fun.

the lantern men

 

 

From the ashes of Savage Island have risen some mean Ravenous Hounds and this debut gig from them made a big impression on me.  Some more filthy garage punk with a bit of Sonics thrown in they played every one of their songs so far and went down a storm. Everyone wanted more but they had nothing left to play, they even performed their brand new one written in Spanish!  I can’t wait to see them again. Loved it.

 

ravenous hounds

 

Looking very cool indeed it was not difficult to notice the members of New York City’s Twin Guns checking out all the other bands … I already loved them for this, as well as their online videos since learning of this gig.  A trio featuring Andrea Sicco on vocals/guitar, “Jungle Jim” Chandler (formerly of The Cramps) on drums, and Kristin Fayne-Mulroy on bass.  They have massive presence and the sound and songs to back it up.  Something of The Velvet Underground cool about their look, all in black, shades and leather jackets with something very NYC about them, I simply could not believe my luck to be experiencing their set in a tiny which you feel all the way to the gut, in a dark pub basement. I must have been smiling throughout. Perfect setting, and on Friday 13th too!

 

They describe themselves as garage noir which feels spot-on, check out their video to Johnny’s Dead (which they didn’t play here as they thought it might be too dark, instead closing with a nod to Lux Interior and “New Kind of Kick”), a bit of goth, a lot of noir and loads of reverb.  Fantastic stuff.  Jungle Jim, with his distinctive jungle style, Andrea on lead vocals and some great guitar, with absolutely fantastic bass from Kristin.  Fans of Guadalupe Plata and Jug Jaw’s Beat Club would have loved this, I enjoyed it immensely and went a bit overboard buying their records afterwards but when would I get this chance again?  It was refreshingly well-priced too and they were absolutely lovely people.

twin guns

 

 

 

Just look at this roll call of cited influences … and they are all in this glorious melting pot.

“Link Wray, The Cramps, Gun Club, Nick Cave, Lee Hazlewood, Davie Allan & the Arrows, Q65, Sons of Hercules, The Music Machine, Dead Moon, Neil Young, Suicide, Echo & the Bunnymen, Howlin’ Wolf, etc.”

All these influences are detectable too, in a glorious melting pot of rock ‘n’ roll, especially Link Wray, The Stooges, Suicide, The Cramps, The Fuzztones et al.

 

twin guns

 

 

 

twin gunstwin guns

 

 

Massive thanks to Robert Watson for putting this gig on, another of his belters!

 

twin guns

twin guns

rumsey underbelly

 

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John Craigie + Yve Mary B & Mark Howes @ Grapevine for Music, Norwich Guildhall 12 October 2017

yve mary b

john craigie

After a quiet September Grapevine is back with a bang for the autumn season with no less than four music events at The Guildhall in October alone.  The first of those featured that magical lady, Yve Mary B, with local guitar legend Mark “Boweevil” Howes and a couple of surprise guests, plus headliner John Craigie, a Californian folk singer now based in Portland who was spoken of in the highest terms possible by Rainbow Girls on their recent visit to the UK, American friends and a few others “in the know” about this special talent.

Although the leaves are falling and the nights are rapidly drawing in, for the time being it remains incredibly mild in Norwich, consequently an already pretty full Guildhall was baking hot by the time I arrived.  I’m never quite sure where to place myself here but being so occupied I opted to lean against the pillar which although giving a good view of the performers does mean from a camera point of view, the dreaded “toilets” signs will be visible on photos and video. Not to worry, it is all about the music! 🙂

Just the two acts on the bill meant both acts could do a deeper set and it was a delight to hear Yve and Mark playing together, a good musical chemistry between them and although Yve unusually was playing to a setlist it was still fluid and organic which meant Mark had to focus on her playing as well as his own and that’s when the magic happens. Both of them playing beautiful guitar and of course Yve’s gorgeous vocals.  The set included Island Song and a few from her High on a Moutain album before Mark put his guitar down and he was replaced by a couple of guests for a Bee Gees cover of To Love Somebody, Lucinda Fudge and Clare Hayes who harmonised acapella beautifully on some Southern gospel and Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby (Go to Sleep You Little Baby), by Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss which is featured in the classic O Brother Where Art Thou?  I hope we see this format again, they were great. As yet without a name, with this branching out I’ll call them Tree Oh for now.

 

I had a chance for the briefest of chats with John Craigie ahead of his set, and he seemed really impressed by Yve’s songs.  I’ve heard so much about John, not least from Rainbow Girls who covered his song 28 at The Smokehouse in Ipswich recently.  I think they may even have joined him to perform it in Nottingham too.  They are big fans and I can see why.  Unassuming, witty and with a delightful way with words, not just in his songwriting but in his stage manner between songs too.  Self-deprecating, he mocked his own bio’s description – “When Craigie plays, it’s one of those special shows that can make you laugh and cry in the same song” – but it is an accurate quote.  He joked that his ideal audience for the music would be ” … a load of people who’d just been dumped. In a dark room”.  He has an ability to articulate his feelings, thoughts and experiences, many of which we can easily relate to and that’s when we find he is expressing our own feelings too.

john craigie

John Craigie unwittingly channeling hundreds of years of Guildhall courtroom history. All that was missing was the bible, though there was a song about that!

He told of how he wrote a couple of songs under pressure such as the wonderful Woodstock Baby, and the aftermath of the Trump election (“Cheer us up with a few of your songs that can make us laugh and cry”) literally days after the event.  Plenty of positivity, for music and togetherness at least, in the gallows humour.   Michael Collins turned out not to be an Irish rebel song but was in fact about the forgotten astronaut and colleague of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (“… named after Buzz Lightyear”) who whilst those two were setting foot on the moon and larking about he piloted the floating module for a lonely 22 hours.   But it’s the stories between the songs which are as charming as the songs themselves; “So, Mr. Aldrin sir, what did it feel like finally setting foot on … the set of The Simpsons?”  Brilliant!  Think an American Will Varley or Chad Mason … the set has the same balance of appreciation of the music and laughter between the songs and sometimes within them.  I don’t think many others could play an entire set with closed eyes and yet get the audience to sing along with a chorus of a song they didn’t know about not looking at photos on a cell phone, all done at the command of his eyes opening. It was an absolute treat … I was just kicking myself for not getting to speak to him beforehand about Rough Johns and particularly the song 28, but then when the crowd noisily demanded an encore there it was.

Although a Portland resident it was California that was most frequently mentioned, and it’s a place that has been on my mind too.  We have a number of mutual friends there and some of them are perilously close to the devastating wildfires that have been eating chunks of the state.  Some friends were housing their own dear ones who’d lost their homes only to have the fire head that way too, being too afraid to sleep and on standby for their own evacuation which of course in some cases has now happened. It’s almost unimaginable.  I am thinking of them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-41587743/california-districts-wiped-out-by-wildfires

Huge thanks to John Craigie, James of Blue House Music – a man of impeccable musical taste and a true gent – Yve, Mark, Lucinda and Clare, Dickie on sound and of course Steve and Jan of Grapevine.  There seemed to be something of a ‘fairy light malfunction’ while Steve was introducing Mr. Craigie but Steve handled it with a “Well if you will put me in charge of light entertainment!”  🙂  Probably my fault for saying “You can’t have too many candles and fairy lights” to him earlier. The atmospheric Guildhall seemed rammed and it was good to have a full crowd for such a wonderful talent on his first UK tour in one of my favourite Grapevine nights.  All the more impressive bearing in mind the numerous gig clashes in Norwich, not least the sold out opening Norwich Sound & Vision Festival night at the Arts Centre. John Craigie is a talented artist, raconteur, troubadour and another absolute gentleman. It was an privilege to have him play in the city, thanks to all who made it happen.

 

The Woodstock Baby.

 

 

Next Grapevine is on Saturday featuring Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage, then there is an OXJAM opening night on the 20th, followed by a Tin Heart Troubadours album launch on the 27th.

 

The previous week I headed to the Flamingo (aka The Pig & Whistle) for a hastily relocated gig featuring The Lovin’ Handful. A fundraiser for The Carwash which is where it was supposed to be held.  A new project after the closure of Old School Studios, this new studio/rehearsal space on Ber Street is a new project by Mr. Jason and shall be opening soon.  Upstairs at The Flamingo it was hot and absolutely rammed with a just superb atmosphere, which is fortunate as the gig was being recorded for The Lovin’ Handful’s live album. I cannot wait to hear it!  This band are a LOT of fun and have quite a following.

the lovin' handfulthe lovin' handful

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Rainbow Girls @ The Smokehouse, Ipswich, 28 September 2017

Norwich Road in Ipswich feels a bit like Magdalen Street in our city, and just off a side street and in the middle of a car park is situated South Street Studios, a complex of community projects which includes the purpose built venue The Smokehouse.  At a time when funding for the likes of community centres, the arts and just about anything which promotes community it is really refreshing to see such a place spring up. It feels friendly and vibrant too.

 

rainbow girls

 

Sitting on the car park railings before the gig, eating some chips in the company of a charming black cat who decided to join me, I could not help noticing a really unusual sky.

 

ipswich sky

 

The Smokehouse isn’t a big space but it is made for music and is equipped with a sound-desk, PA, lighting, dressing room and a delightfully informal and nicely priced bar in a side room, it had a good vibe and I get the impression it is proving successful as a new music venue which can only be a hugely positive thing.

 

rainbow girls

At the Green Note on Monday.

 

rainbow girls

 

About 8:30pm the Rainbow Girls came onstage, this being my third time seeing them on the tour. I saw them at the first night of the tour in Eaton Park Cafe, and again on Monday night in Camden’s Green Note and the morning after that gig they were flying to Ireland for their two days off.  They arrived back that very afternoon of the Smokehouse gig at the same time as I was on the train to Ipswich. Their energy is incredible.  As is their spiritual and soulful energy which is so warm and positive, I love their company. I love their music too.  Tonight it was once again split into two sets with a similar setlist but with a few inclusions I hadn’t heard on the other dates. John Craigie’s “28” about the 27 Club, and from their own Perceptronium album  “No Girls Allowed”.  Once again they included a storming cover of Carole King’s “One Fine Day”, also made famous by The Chiffons, as well as the new gems from the American Dream, and even some stunning unrecorded material too. Also in the set was their splendid version of “Go Home” by Lucius.

rainbow girls

 

rainbow girls

 

They sure have a special energy and a wonderfully inclusive spirit of acceptance and coming together, I shall really miss them but feel blessed to know them.  The world is a better place for them and they inspire a lot of hope.

 

 

Big Thanks to Rainbow Girls, James at Blue House Music, and The Smokehouse.

 

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Rainbow Girls @ The Green Note, Camden, London 25 September 2017

 

On previous visits to the the UK Rainbow Girls came to party with us, and we all fell in love with them time and time again with each visit.  After a two year absence they are back once again, to wake us up and bring us all together.  Of course, we are still falling in love with them as much as ever.

 

rainbow girls

 

This time they have things they want to talk about and the set and stage format is quite different. The 2017 touring alt-folk Rainbows have no drums, accordion, keys or bass (though they have not been permanently banished), their songs and messages address all of their concerns about these strange and troubled times but they are far from broken or depressed. In much the same way that Hurray for the Riff Raff, and  Courtney Marie Andrews is doing (my last visit to London for a gig, earlier this month) they too have a lot on their minds and have plenty to express which is coming out in a wealth of new material.  One of the many things I love about Rainbow Girls is their energy and indefatigable postive outlook and faith in the human spirit – they come right out and say it between songs, that we need to connect, find the love that unites us, stay together and of course this is the way. Embracing our similarities rather than being divided by perceived differences that certain powers try to encourage in their power games. There’s an awakening happening and the Rainbow Girls are some of those shining a light on the path ahead.  Their social commentary songs are wonderfully well done, beautiful to listen to, subtle and with thought-provoking lyrics; and despite some of the subjects tackled the atmosphere is never downbeat. Quite the opposite in fact, the way they express and perform they always leave me feeling at the end of a gig or playing of a recording not only uplifted but also positive and energised with their attitude of connecting with fellow humans. You see, so much of what the Rainbow Girls are about is harmony, the coming together of the different parts making a whole that is something beautiful and harmonious, which is how the world could be. As for their actual harmonies … they are the tightest, sweetest and most harmonious I have ever heard at a gig, it is something to behold. Their energy draws you in. As people they are just the best and their spirit cannot be broken. There is something energising and inspiring simply about being in their company and listening to them.  Plenty of fun and joining in happened during the set too – a call and response singalong for Stephanie Says, some audience harmonies for Can We Keep This Love Alive, and their glorious cover of the Carole King composition, One Fine Day, which was a huge hit for The Chiffons.

 

rainbow girls

 

 

rainbow girls

 

rainbow girls

 

rainbow girls

 

At the lovely Green Note the set differed a bit from the Norwich gig but still showcasing songs from the amazing new album American Dream though this gig was split into two 45 minute sets with a handful of new numbers. They are obviously on a creative roll at the moment as these new ones are as strong as anything else in the set. Vanessa’s vocal lead on the song about an African-American individual in the segregation-era wanting to drink from (and bravely doing so) the “Whites Only” water fountain only to discover that it is just the same water is hugely poignant and beautifully written. Goosebumps moment and one of the set highlights.  The album itself has a wholeness to it with all the songs sitting comfortably together with a running theme and mood to the it without ever feeling samey.  The “three-headed dog” is obviously proud of the new “baby” and well they should be. It is superb.

 

 

Their performances are just an absolute joy with plenty of smiles, laughs and singalongs too, as well as some RGs stomps and finger-clicks.  Caitlin’s booted stomps sounding particularly impressive on the wooden pallet stage.  It’s a beautiful way to experience their music, in such a setting with the girls gatherered around a single ‘Ear Trumpet’ condensor microphone, switching guitars and lead vocals, always harmonising and always performing just wonderfully. They have music coursing through their veins, they live and breathe it. Imagine a trio of Yve Mary Bs!

 

 

They are so hardworking too … under normal circumstances they would probably carry on playing for as long as they were allowed but at the end of their two sets here they packed away, met and hung out with the crowd for a while, ahead of a two-hour drive for just two hours kip before a 6:30am check-in at Stansted and a quick trip to Cork for a micro-break, kissing the Blarney Stone, sampling the pub music and doubtless another gig or two on their couple of days off on cheapo RyanAir tickets.  I have a feeling that Rainbow Girls and Ireland is another love affair waiting to happen, they sure will be a good match. The Irish will obviously adore them, just as everyone who sees them always does.  I love them as people and as one of my favourite bands.

 

rainbow girls

 

It was good to hang out beforehand for a few hours in Camden, living here must feel like being in a permanent festival and I found the vibe in the places I ambled around really friendly and relaxed.  On the windowfront of the Green Note itself I noted not only the Rainbow Girls poster but also posters for forthcoming gigs by Norwich gems Jess Morgan (with Dan Whitehouse), plus Clark & Zuppardi … not forgetting that The Vagaband also played here last week too. Another artist featured was John Craigie, a great friend of the Rainbow Girls and with a date on the same tour at Norwich Guildhall for Grapevine in October.

 

 

 

rainbow girls

 

rainbow girls

rainbow girls

 

 

In my second London “away-day” gig of September (after the excellent Courtney Marie Andrews at Bush Hall) I enjoyed my afternoon in Camden, feeling the presence of Amy Winehouse almost everywhere I went ahead of the Rainbow Girls gig at the charming Green Note … small, dark and candlelit, relaxed, refreshingly friendly and intimate … I’d call it Camden’s Bicycle Shop.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Revelation Brothers + Falling From Trees + Hot Raisin + The howtocuredyslexia Band @ OPEN, HANK @ The Owl Sanctuary 22 September 2017

The usual Friday gig-clash had me dashing between OPEN and the Owl Sanctuary this week in another packed night of music in Norwich. Even arriving just after 7:30pm I found the howtocuredyslexia Band was already well into his set at the Revelation Brothers’ album launch and he had the audience’s full attention, listening to his clever lyricism.

 

the howtocuredyslexia band

 

A wonderfully relaxed and in holiday mode Hot Raisin took the stage at 8pm, joined this time once again by Luke. They’ve played loads lately and were tight and sounding good through the Club Room PA. Tory sporting a Courtney Marie Andrews-esque fringe, they were in good humour too and sold the very last physical copy of their Whiskey Ginger EP (though still available as a download) and during the final flourish of said song Luke broke a string in a rather rock and roll moment, much to the mirth of the girls 🙂

 

hot raisin

 

Third act on this full bill were Falling From Trees, now augmented to a five-piece with the addition of drummer Sam.  The development of this band in the two or three years since I first saw them is incredible. They were then an acoustic sibling trio and it was largely based around Rebecca’s powerful voice with Adam and Leo on guitars. The band since the addition of bassist Joey have become infinitely more powerful and tight, he’s brought a new energy and there’s a new dynamic to the band and it shows in the way he connects and draws in the audience. They played a belter here and have even progressed since I saw them at the Mo just a couple of months ago.  I don’t think I’ve known such a rapid improvement in a band before, they’ve grown as a group so much, with the corresponding self confidence that comes with that. Tighter and bigger than ever they are thriving and the audience felt and loved it too.

 

falling from trees

 

There was an enticing gig also happening at The Owl so as soon as FFT finished there set I headed over.  Me, Sugar Promotions put on a bill that included the intriguing Tres Pantalon plus Gurunfoe.  I’d heard good things about Guranfoe but alas they had just finished their set when I arrived.  Reports were really positive though. Must try and catch them soon, if not before that incredible line up at The Waterfront Studio when they, and Organisms, support the amazing Acid Mothers Temple.  I did however catch the full set from the incredible HANK.  They too have grown into a massively powerful and fascinating beast even since I last saw them at Harlequin just a few weeks ago.  They have a tremendous energy and chemistry and a rapidly growing enthusiastic following.  The Owl room upstairs was boiling and incredibly sweaty with the headbanging and dancing bodies gathered around the stage.  They may well be our very own version of a heavy Acid Mothers Temple. Catch them soon, they are very good, loud and a lot of fun. And they love breakfasts.

 

hank

 

hank

 

 

HANK

 

Another dash back to OPEN and the Revelation Brothers had already just started their headline slot meaning I had totally missed Perfect Mistakes though I did sort of catch them when they joined the boys onstage for a few songs, including a totally unexpected encore cover of Aha’s Take on Me!  Their debut album can be purchased from Bandcamp and will also soon appear on Spotify etc. There was a great atmosphere during their set, good vibes from the stage and from the floor. It felt quite celebratory, as indeed it was.

 

20934784_2062961930395995_3702981551788380231_o

 

the revelation brothersthe revelation brothers

 

Afterwards I spent a mellow hour or so with a chilled-out dj vinyl set for a perfect wind-down.

Night time Norwich 102 #norwich #handlebar #instamood @bicycleshopnorwich #night

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Thanks to Craig at OPEN, and Ash at Sugar, Me.

 

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@RShashamane

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http://www.facebook.com/hotraisinmusic/

https://hotraisinmusic.bandcamp.com/album/whiskey-ginger

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Norwich: Music City, UK

Posted in falling from trees, HANK, Hot Raisin, howtocuredyslexiaband, live music and dance, Perfect Mistakes, The Revelation Brothers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recent releases: Organisms – Mollusk LP + The Wolf Number – The Bunker Sessions EP, plus more…

 

organisms promo

 

A couple of local releases to catch up on now the festival season is over.  During the summer Organisms released a highly impressive debut album – Mollusk – on Tontena Records. Former Grazing Saint Joe Quinn’s latest venture, with Lizzy Burt (Woodland Creatures), Alex Elliot (Horo Quintet), his stalwart Paul Taylor (Grazing Saints, King Kiwanda), and Bromley (Bavarian Rocket Group et al.) as well as drumming contributions from another Grazing Saint, Mick Amato, who relocated to Nottingham last year.

organisms at boom room

 

Mollusk opens with the powerful Waves and is followed by the first single Games Non-People Play.  Incredibly catchy and memorable it features sparse guitar build up to duetted chorus between Joe and Lizzy.

 

organisms promo 8

 

Starting on a wonderful guitar note Astral Bodily Hair is another of the album’s highlights for me (actually the very first song I heard by the band when I visited Tontena Studios during its recording), beautifully played and produced with gentle glockenspiel low in the mix it again shows off the interplay in the vocals of Joe and Lizzy.

 

organisms

Organisms live at Karma for the Ideal Surreal/Howlback Hum “We’re From Norwich” fundraiser.

 

Lizzy takes vocal lead on the sad but lovely Green Grass (“We are not always good to each other”), as well as Magpie, and mid-album we are met with the epic Vampyr almost seven and a half minutes. Opening line: “God is a chaos crawled into your life”!

 

harlequin

 

Nine tracks in all, superbly placed and sympathetically produced by John Vigar, showing restraint in the right places, letting the songs breathe and letting one really appreciate the songwriting.  I usually find the space in songs as important as the sounds when done properly and this is the case here.

 

organisms promo

 

The album is not without its feel of sadness, desperation and melancholy but it is never depressing. The closer Re-arrange has a positively bouncy intro despite the lyrics (“Everybody’s gone away, I can’t come out to play” ; “Everybody’s feeling something, I’m feeling nothing. Nothing at all” – what a way to close an album … and that is not a criticism, I like the way it is left on that lonesome, uncertain note.

 

 

The hooks and harmonies and special touches throughout show the chemistry between the band and it can be surprisingly uplifting in places but always darkly and hauntingly beautiful. One of the stand-out local releases of the year.

 

 

organisms at boom room

 

Another of those standouts is the soon to appear release from The Wolf Number.  The Bunker Sessions EP (recorded at Old School Studios shortly before it closed) is officially released with a launch gig for Odd Box at Norwich Arts Centre, along with Lord Kesseli & the Drums, Ellie Bleach et al. on 29 September 2017.

 

The Wolf Number - Bunker Sessions EP Artwork

 

This too has a sympathetic production, the space within it suiting the glorious cosmic soundscapes from this ambient rock instrumental trio.  If you like Mogwai, Pink Floyd, The Cure you will love The Wolf Number.  You can read my review of it for Outline Magazine here.

 

The Wolf Number - EP Promo ImageThe Wolf Number - Band Image

west fest

#westfestii #instamood #livemusicphotography #drums #dasfensterandthealibis

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Wooden Arms also have an album release, though I have not heard it yet it has a ringing endorsement from the Outline review and can be pre-ordered here.

 

wooden arms, trick of the light

 

wooden arms

Alex introduces Alex and Wooden Arms at Sofar Sounds last year.

 

 

It’s getting difficult to keep up with all the new releases these days but here are some more, starting with GRACELAND.

 

 

Hot Raisin’s “Later” from the Whiskey Ginger EP …

 

 

“Bad Bitch” by Peach Club …

 

 

“Chrysalis” by The howtocuredyslexiaband

 

 

The superb “Wild Life” by Jay Ducker …

 

 

The Revelation Brothers launch their album at OPEN on Friday …

 

 

Jaztec …

 

 

… and the mighty Mammal Hands release a new album – Shadow Work – at EPIC in November …

 

 

The legendary Vagaband also have something in the pipeline, more on that soon.

 

 

The same with Morganway …

 

 

The lovely Yve Mary B …

 

 

Sink Ya Teeth …

 

 

 

 

and Turf Club Racebook …

 

 

Birds of Hell …

 

 

Soyuz Rats …

 

 

Blisster

 

 

The Vicars of Stiffkey

 

 

Blank Lines

 

and Playhouse have just released their debut album via Soundcloud.

 

 

Planet Neil.

 

https://planetneil.bandcamp.com/track/my-rocket-dance-mixhttps://planetneil.bandcamp.com/track/my-rocket-dance-mix

 

This is by no means a comprehensive list so apologies for any omissions ….

 

all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2017

@RShashamane

http://www.facebook.com/Organismsband/

http://www.tontenamusic.com

http://www.tontenamusic.com/mollusk-album

http://www.facebook.com/thewolfnumber/

https://www.thewolfnumber.com/

http://www.outlineonline.co.uk/content/the-wolf-number-the-bunker-sessions-ep/album-reviews/120352/2485

http://www.outlineonline.co.uk/

http://www.woodenarms.co.uk/shop/trickofthelight

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Norwich: Music City, UK

Posted in bands and new releases, Birds of Hell, graceland, Hot Raisin, howtocuredyslexiaband, Jay Ducker, Jaztec, Mammal Hands, morganway, Organisms, Peach Club, Planet Neil, sink ya teeth, soyuz rats, The Revelation Brothers, The Vagaband, The Wolf Number, Turfclub Racebook, Wooden Arms, Yve Mary B / Morganway | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment