The Besnard Lakes, Sennen @ NAC 17 August 2016

The Besnard Lakes were absolutely breathtaking, this felt like a special gig indeed.

 

the besnard lakes

 

I was somewhat caught out by the early start and missed the beginning of Sennen’s set but their enjoyable guitar-led style was a good taster for the sensory onslaught to come, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many amps on the Arts Centre stage, though little could prepare us for the headliners’ live experience.

sennen

Sennen

 

Canada’s The Besnard Lakes are a band I have wanted to see for years and almost did get to see them at London’s Scala quite a while back but never imagined I’d finally get to see them in Norwich at the NAC. I can’t recall how I first came across the band but none of my friends appeared to know them all that well which possibly explains why the audience was far from capacity for this visit. It was certainly a privilege to be amongst them though, it was loud, compelling and brilliantly good with a light show the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen at the Arts Centre before, with plenty of dry ice and some lasers too, backlit lead singer Jace Lasek appearing onstage as a silhouette and with a disarming similarity to our own Andi Sapey, he led the band through more than an hour and a half of epic tracks, Mogwai meets The Beach Boys with more than hints of Hawkwind, Krautrock and shoegaze bands but creating a huge psych rock sound that is uniquely their own.  They know how to give a gig a real sense of occasion with the lighting and a lengthy intro tape which definitely heightened the anticipation and excitement. The stage looked beautiful before they’d even started, well lit drumkit and lovely amps and guitars everywhere.

 

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

 

 

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

 

Many of the songs clocked in at well over six minutes which meant that one could really get inside the song, everything was so engaging and immersive.  There wasn’t much talk between songs with most of them leading into one another but when they did speak it was always on a really good natured level, Jace talking about the Olympic medals table, and asking us if there were really centuries old bodies buried beneath the Arts Centre. He was a little disarmed by the resounding “Yes!” and looked a bit unsure whether to believe us or not!

 

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

 

This gig was so good that I had a feeling of euphoria for ages afterwards and still feel I have yet to fully come down from it, it was that good.  I love that feeling great gigs give. Special mention must be made of NAC who was one of the stars of the show, it looked and sounded sensational. Definitely a gig highlight of the year so far, probably more than that, this was incredible.

 

 

Huge thanks to NAC for once again bringing a band to Norwich that I’ve long wanted to see, and hosting the gig so superbly.

 

 

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

 

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

the besnard lakes

The Besnard Lakes

 

It was unfortunate that there were three top gigs happening all on the same Wednesday night but that is a common dilemma on any day of the week in Norwich, Music City UK.

 

 

Summer evenings in the Playhouse Bar #instamood #norwich #norwichplayhousebar #summer #sunlight #beer

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Pre-gig summer ambiance at the Playhouse.

 

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Gig round-up, Phoebe Troup, Morganway, OosWolf, Fine City Blues, Field Alive, Nobodaddy etc. August 2016

A weird couple of weeks with my camera at the Canon hospital for check-ups, I had my own hospital check-ups but the gigs still come thick and fast and from the NNUH to Cactus Cafe Bar I enjoyed one of the most fun and varied OosWolf nights so far. Shane O’Linski’s music nights here are eclectic and there is a somewhat chaotic and unpredictable air to the events which for me is a large part of its appeal, along with some of the most interesting music in the city too of course. The atmosphere is relaxed and the cafe is always full of musicians and music fans.  I don’t think I arrived in time to catch all the acts but I still managed to enjoy Olinski, Camille Davile (who was brilliant!), Chai, the mighty Predawn, an astonishing set from Eiyuze, Blisster, and a Blank Lines Duo set which actually grew as the set wore on with various people joining.

 

blisster

Blisster

camille davila

Camille Davila

eiyuze

Eiyuze

eiyuze

Amy during the Eiyuze set

eiyuze

Shane with Eiyuze

eiyuze

Eiyuze

cactus cafe bar

Waltzing to Camille Davila

shane o'linski

Shane O’Linski

 

The lovely Blisster are always fun and I was glad to finally get a copy of their CD, Camille Davila played an utterly charming set which delighted everyone, even getting Shane to join her on a cover of Syd Barrett’s Here I Go. Predawn were also great and Eiyuze was a revelation, starting on his own with guitar and keys Richard was soon joined by a multitude of friends to form some glorious and sometimes quite experimental sounds. I absolutely loved it.

 

 

The next trip from a hospital checkup to a gig was complete with early signs of a migraine but I just did not want to miss Phoebe Troup who was playing for Head Out Not Home at St. Gregory’s. It turned out Jose was working sound and I saw a succession of other friends come over for the music making for a very pleasant evening, meaning I actually stayed for all three of Phoebe’s sets. It was gorgeous and soothing, I love her voice, playing and storytelling which is imaginative, evocative and at times very witty with some clever wordplay … my first time hearing the term ‘composting techniques’ rhyming with cheek in song. It’s no surprise to learn she’s on a creative writing course, she’s rapidly become a big favourite of mine, can’t wait to see her at an Arts Centre or Grapevine gig.

phoebe troup

Phoebe Troup

phoebe troup and

Phoebe Troup

After a trio of Phoebe Troup sets I was still not ready to head home and caught an enthusiastic, joyous set by The Lovin’ Handfull who had everyone singing and dancing along with them.  Being Norwich Music City, UK there was still much on offer for the rest of the Thursday evening so I went to the Murderers with Mojo Preachers for Fine City Blues before making my weary way back home.

mojo preachers

Mojo Preachers

At the weekend in a field farm in Suffolk the adorable Hot Raisin hosted a lovely event which featured Hello Bear, Lovin’ Handful, Turfclub Racebook, Zacharie Lambert, Don’t Lose Heart, as well as Hot Raisin themselves who performed as acoustic duo and with Hello Bear as the Electic Raisins. Gorgeous event with a lovely festival-party atmosphere, many thanks to Hot Raisin and all involved.

field alive, hot raisin

Hot Raisin

hot raisin

Hot Raisin

 

field alive

 

My latest visit to Eaton Park Cafe was for Nobodaddy but so busy was it on this occasion that the only table available was in the outside area which was beautiful on a mild summer evening with lovely food and the sounds of Nobodaddy drifting on the night breeze.

 

nobodaddy

Nobodaddy at Eaton Park Cafe

 

It’s been some weeks since I last went to the Plasterers but Morganway provided a perfect reason to rectify that for a Sunday Funday session.

 

morganway

Morganway

morganway

Morganway

morganway

Morganway

 

… and there was still time to catch a free gig at The Owl to end the weekend.

 

wallflower

Wallflower

 

More photos to follow.

 

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New releases from Morganway, Georgia Shackleton Trio, Daisy Victoria, Matt Watson, Kingdom Keys, Naomi Sutherland, Isaac Gracie, Jess Morgan

Among a number of new releases of late are Morganway, who played a launch night at Norwich Arts Centre for Tilting Sky recently, and who officially release their fine new EP “No Tomorrows” on Friday 29 July. You can pre-order the EP on either Digital, CD or Vinyl now via https://morganway.bandcamp.com/ 

morganway

 

 

Meanwhile Yve’s own solo album is very close to being ready … I am so looking forward to that.

 

#morganway #yvemaryb #norwich #NorwichMusicCityUK #bedfordscrypt #livemusicphotography #instamood #livemusic #cowgirl

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yve mary b

Yve Mary B

 

The brilliant Daisy Victoria has a new single – Animal Lover – which has been receiving airplay on BBC6 Music. 

 

daisy victoria

Daisy Victoria

 

 

 

Matt Watson is about to release his second crowdfunded album “The Endless Shipwreck” which was launched at Eaton Park Cafe last week, recordings from the night will appear soon as well as some video with fan and local musician appearances. The album itself features a host of local musicians as well as Erica Nockalls on violin.

 

matt watson photoshoot

 

 

The Georgia Shackleton Trio have just released their debut album The Dog Who Would Not Be Washed. Currently appearing at The Cambridge Folk Festival they launched the album at The Bicycle Shop recently this album was officially released on 29 June and is available from gigs and https://georgiashackletontrio.bandcamp.com/album/the-dog-who-would-not-be-washed

 

georgia shackleton trio

The Georgia Shackleton Trio

 

 

Naomi Sutherland has an 80s tinged new EP called Intuition which can be ordered from: http://www.naomisutherland.co.uk/store

 

naomi 1

Naomi (c) shashamane 2015

 

 

Another fine EP from a band who have only just come to my attention, Kingdom Keys, is available from: https://soundcloud.com/kingdom-keys/sets/beyond-what-you-see

 

Isaac Gracie whom I saw play The Plasterers last year has since gone on to play Latitude and become the darling of the NME has released his debut EP, “Songs From My Bedoom”

 

isaac gracie

Isaac Gracie (c) shashamane 2015

 

 

Our lovely Jess Morgan also recently released “Natalie” as her latest single ahead of a pledge campaign for a new album.  Jess has also been confirmed to play at The Octagon Chapel as part of Norwich Sound & Vision 2016.

 

jess morgan

The Jess Morgan Trio

jess morgan trio

Jess Morgan

 

 

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King Mud, Chasing Creation @ Jug Jaw’s Beat Club 25 July 2016 Hot Raisin @ The Bicycle Shop 24 July 2016

I had a great time at Bedfords Crypt for the latest Jug Jaw’s Beat Club night in conjunction with Punk Rock Blues.  It’s not often one gets to see such a low down dirty punky blues band in a venue like this through vintage 60s amps and speakers.  Chasing Creation opened the evening with an impressive set and to have King Mud play here in the Crypt was a great honour. Their first UK gig (one of just two!) it was powerful and visceral, pure raw energy and extremely loud. It was fantastic and these guys are the real deal!  Featuring members of Black Diamond Heavies and Left Lane Cruiser they delivered 90 minutes of some of the filthiest punk rock blues you are ever likely to hear.  I miss the house band – Lank Smith and the Pythons – but these nights are still amazing. You can read more about the gig on a review I did for Outline.

 

jug jaw's beat club

Jug Jaw’s Beat Club … before it got noisy!

jug jaw's beat club

Chasing Creation

chasing creation

Chasing Creation

king mud

King Mud

jug jaw's beat club

King Mud

king mud

King Mud

 

 

The previous evening I had the pleasure of seeing Hot Raisin not once but twice, first at Howlback Hum in the Playhouse Bar, and a little later on at the Sunday Sessions, put on by Tilting Sky in The Bicycle Shop.  They were delightful as ever and treated us to a beautiful new song called Track and Field as well as the relatively recent Whiskey Ginger.  Exciting directions their songwriting is taking them in.

 

hot raisin

Hot Raisin

hot raisin

Hot Raisin

 

vic allen

Vic Allen

 

vic allen

Vic Allen

 

 

I also caught the extraordinary Mssr Mortimer at Howlback Hum with personal lyrics delivered over four percussionists including a hand drum.

 

Tuesday night at the NAC was Summertime Blues night with Soho Blues, Brass Tacks/Highway 47, and a rare chance to see the brilliant Ida Mae.

 

 

soho blues

Soho Blues

 

highway 47

Highway 47

 

Big thanks to Outline Magazine, Bedfords Bar, Punk Rock Blues, Jug Jaw’s Beat Club, Craig at Tilting Sky, Hot Raisin, and Norwich Arts Centre.

 

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Outline’s 15th Birthday Party @ The Owl Sanctuary 23 July 2016

What a deservedly top-drawer line up and celebration for the indispensable Norwich Bible, Outline. Every act a revelation for the uninitiated. I had seen most of them before and although we sadly lost Milly Hirst from the bill to heat exhaustion I was absolutely blown away by some of the other familiar names, such as Graceland starting the night shortly after 7:30pm whilst the also wonderful Chad Mason was playing downstairs at the same time. Norwich Music City, UK even manages to create gig clashes in the same venue!  The whole event had a real micro-festival feel with a relentless line-up of talent both upstairs and downstairs at The Owl, with DJs including Hot Damn to close the night. Huge thanks and credit must go to Lizz for putting this all together. Outline is a vital resource in Norwich and 15 years is a huge achievement. There was a joyous party atmosphere in the Owl, festooned with balloons, party hats, old Outline pictures, cake, beer and music.

the owl sanctuary

 

outline party

 

chad mason

Another Chad Mason

 

I’m not quite sure what is going on with Graceland and foot injuries at the moment but no sooner does one dispense with the crutches than another takes them up … Rosie the latest casualty, breaking her foot whilst disembarking from a London bus in the Klang Haus preparations but nevertheless taking her place onstage for the latest Graceland gig. They were glorious, each time I see them I think they are the best yet, despite the intensely hot and sweaty conditions the girls did not hold back and delivered a blistering set. They have rapidly made themselves one of my top favourite Norwich bands.

 

graceland

Graceland

 

 

 

Pleasingly Chad was still only mid-set when I went downstairs, playing a well-received set. There was little escape from the heat actually, particularly intense upstairs but nothing was gong to prevent people having a party with further amazing highlights from an especially powerful and intense Birds of Hell, Magoo, and The Vagaband upstairs and Sink Ya Teeth downstairs with further music from MCs No Half Steppin’ and Hot Damn on the decks to close the night, and what a night it was!

 

birds of hell

Birds of Hell

 

 

Magoo played a sensational set too.

 

The mighty Vagaband closed the evening upstairs with a well chosen set mixing the lively with the thoughtful, following some frenetic reels and an insane few minutes for Gabrielle we had one of my favourite moments of the set, A Town With No Name, some unexpectedly dubby drums and really restrained playing highlighting the deserted, haunted feel of the song and the place, complete with eerie “ghost train” shrieks from Ali. The Owl had a punchy, beefiness to the sound which really suited The Vagaband very well indeed.

 

the vagaband

The Vagaband

 

 

Big thanks to Lizz, all at Outline, The Owl Sanctuary, and all the acts and djs.

 

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outline party 3

outline partyoutline party

 

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Tinariwen @ NAC 18 July 2016, Lewis Barfoot, Woodland Creatures @ The Bicycle Shop 17 July 2016

Almost two years since their only previous visit to Norwich and the Arts Centre we were incredibly lucky to be able to welcome back the mighty Tinariwen.

 

tinariwen

Tinariwen

 

 

On probably the hottest evening of the year there was a lovely vibe at NAC with all the doors open as Keith Slater warmed things up further with a Boiling Point Dj set as most people were milling around in the back garden.  I had a great chat here with a chap who recognised my shirt design, incredibly it appears we both had a shirt made from the same fabric from the same roadside shop in Kenya!  An hour or so chatting about Africa passed by very quickly.

 

At about 9pm Tinariwen took to the stage to warm applause and played for a good hour and a half or so, starting with some atmospheric vocal harmonies and then building that hypnotic, loping rhythm so evocative of the Saharan Desert. There’s so much subtlety in their music but it can also have that biting, militant edge with cutting guitars. The crowd adored them, not quite a sellout this time but close to capacity and competing with Belly at The Waterfront and also post-Latitude fatigue.

 

 

The sound and the playing was spot on, there were moments when I felt myself bordering on a trance-like state, especially on the songs with the repetition.  We witnessed some great dancing too, a bit like a dervish or a flame leaping from a fire responding to the energy from the audience like the air to breathe.  It looked like the band were enjoying themselves too but letting the music do the talking apart from the frequent good-natured “Everything good?  Everything OK?”  It is hypnotic, beautiful and paints soundscapes whilst the faster, more militant songs convey through feeling. Not speaking a word of Tamashek I can still feel the message of the songs.

 

tinariwen

Tinariwen

 

As with their previous visit founder member and songwriter Ibrahim Ag Alhabib was not present in the touring line-up but the singing and guitar playing was shared by the rest of the band and they fully compensated for this. Tight, warm and totally mesmeric this gig was just as good as their last one which was one of my favourites. The encore was magnificent, with the slow acoustic build-up of Wartila before the energetic frenzied blowout of Chaghaybou which really had the audience going taking things to a plateau which I wish could have continued but they certainly ended on a high. I waited so long to see this band play live and now I have seen them twice in my beloved Norwich Arts Centre, this was one of only three UK dates on their tour so we really were very lucky to have them. Well done and thank you NAC.

 

 

tinariwen set list

 

The previous night I attended a lovely gig at a very warm and humid Bicycle Shop Handlebar for the first visit to the city from multi-talented singer-songwriter Lewis Barfoot as part of her Summer Sundays Tour, with support from our own Woodland Creatures.  Arriving early I was very charmed to catch Lewis, musician/actress/theatre maker/director/writer soundchecking and greeting me in song.  The Woodland Creatures in good humour delivered a typically enchanting set which Lewis rightly described as “exquisite” and all the audience were in agreement on this. Their 40-45 minute set passed all too quickly but we still had Lewis Barfoot to look forward to.  Starting her set with an a cappella number she penned in Jordan, her haunting vocals with a middle eastern seed pod as percussion shaker it set up a theme of songs written around the world, from places such as New Zealand, Ireland, Spain and Russia taking us on a musical journey.  It was a lovely set and Lewis’ personality shone through at all times, warm, witty, friendly and engaging she gave brief backgrounds to her songs’ stories which were fascinating dealing with a range of subjects including loss. Always inventive with some clever use of loops, especially on the beautiful Little Bird. A really charming, intimate evening which was warm in all senses as summer seemed to finally arrive.

 

lewis barfoot

Lewis Barfoot

lewis barfoot

Lewis Barfoot

lewis barfoot

Lewis Barfoot

lewis barfoot

Lewis Barfoot

woodland creatures

The Woodland Creatures

 

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The Vicars of Stiffkey, Blisster, Changelings @ NAC 13 July 2016

All three of these bands I have seen numerous times in the city and in various forms and permutations but each time in a pub or at the lovely Jurnet’s Bar, this was my first time seeing any of them anywhere bigger than the B2 which was a thrill in itself and all three bands rose to the occasion and more.

the vicars of stiffkey

The Vicars of Stiffkey at Norwich Arts Centre

 

vicars of stiffkey

(c) shashamane

 

changelings

Changelings

 

Changelings rose from the ashes of Jessie Q and the Earthquakes, a band lovingly put together by Andy Sacre and who played some unforgettable gigs in a special period at The Blueberry. Alas we have lost Andy and the Blueberry does not seem to host gigs like that anymore but it was a rare treat to be able to see Changelings perform, especially at the NAC.  They sounded fantastic, Jessie a compelling visual focal point with a tight band behind her ticking all the right reference points for me and yet still sounding unique and exciting in their own right. Jessie’s vocals and mannerisms bring to mind Siouxsie Sioux at times but is always her own person, increasingly confident and always charismatic and compelling. I don’t know what the future holds for Changelings but I cherish the times I have experienced them in a live setting.

changelings

 

changelings

Changelings

changelings

Changelings

 

changelings

Changelings

changelings

Changelings

changelings

Changelings

changelings

Changelings

 

Blisster are a band who have wormed their way into my heart rapidly. Aside from their infectious brand of grungey garage pop punk, this Yarmouth band have a charisma and friendliness that charms me greatly. They have some obvious influences but they are all good ones, Nirvana, surf punk etc, whilst singer Amy projects an appealing, modest charm, they all seemed genuinely excited and pleased to be playing here at the NAC, their love of playing and what they play coming over strongly, the audience felt it and loved it too.  Their set is mostly originals though they do include a cover of Shocking Blue’s Send Me a Postcard, for which I thank them for reminding me of and their brilliant grunge-punk interpretation of it. I love Blisster!

blisster

Blisster

 

 

blisster

Blisster

blisster

Blisster

blisster

Blisster

 

I’ve seriously lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the wonderfully named Vicars of Stiffkey but my introduction to them most definitely came via Andy Sacre whose absence was keenly felt this evening so it was lovely and apt that The Vicars dedicated one of their songs to him. I kept thinking of Andy who would have loved this gig so maybe he wasn’t so absent from the night after all.  Fronted by NAC artist in residence Will Teather and featuring the likes of Shane O’Linski, Tom Conway, David Inge, and Dominic Redsell the band have some creative heavyweights in their midst and deliver a storming set with a wide variety of influences, even touching reggae and disco but it is the driving beat of krautrock, psych, and grunge with hints of The Fall, Can, Hawkwind, Gang of Four, Pink Floyd, Neu, Stereolab, Joy Division et al that make a big impression and its all done with self-awareness and a great deal of humour.  Special mention for the excellent sound too.

vicars of stiffkey

The Vicars of Stiffkey

vicars of stiffkey

The Vicars of Stiffkey

vicars of stiffkey

The Vicars of Stiffkey

 

 

 

 

 

We had three excellent but totally different bands in the auditorium offering music influenced and tinged with Punk, Goth, Psychedelia, Krautrock, Spacerock, Grunge and much more and yet all feeling utterly compatible and complimentary. As well as all this we also had Chad Mason dj-ing in the bar, a real treat to hear See Emily Play played loud!:)

 

chad mason

Chad Mason

 

chad mason

Chad Mason

 

changelings

Changelings

changelings

Changelings

changelings

Changelings

changelings

Changelings

 

 

The previous evening I had a lovely time at Cinema City for the fortnightly OST. Alas there was no Andrea King but it is always a treat to hear the dark and entertaining works of Mr. David Viner and indeed Drew McDonnell whose melancholy blues was brilliantly delivered. There was even some yoga from JoJo and Robyn at the end of the night in the Cinema City Bar!

 

mr david viner

Mr. David Viner

drew mcdonnell

Drew McDonnell

 

 

ost

Great vibe at OST

 

ost jojo

There are some fantastic images from the evening by Steve Appleton which can be seen here: https://steveappleton.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/brilliant-ost-evening-at-cinema-city/

 

 

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Will Teather: Alternate Realities

Will Teather: Infinite Perspectives

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