PRB Presents: Starcrawler + Damp Matches @ NAC 31 August 2022. Gnod + Red Mar @ Voodoo Daddy’s 28 August 2022

Sometimes after a very enjoyable gig things settle and we place them in categories of greatness in our mind. Some may drop a place or two once the initial excitement calms down but others retain their place in classic greatness in our own all-time favourite gig lists which we all compile in our heads, and a few even warrant the Legendary status. That’s definitely the case with Starcrawler’s first visit to Norwich in 2017 at The Crypt where 90 or so of us lucky souls crammed into this medieval underground space to witness something truly extraordinary, a night of bona fide legendary status. Before this latest gig I was chatting with a friend who was also there five years ago and we both agreed it was one of the very best gigs either of us have ever attended, probably The Best (and neither of us say such things lightly). But all of Starcrawler’s subsequent returns to Norwich have also hit and retained that classic greatness level of unforgettable gigs too. It’s a phenomenal level of consistency, growth and development, each one bigger and full of the same high impact rock experiences that we love so much about this special band.

Photo: RShashamane

During those interminable lockdowns when I started to wonder if live gigs like this would ever return, particularly live music shows like Starcrawler’s. I even dreamed about their gigs, literally, I missed them so much. This is why I saw them twice in London in the same week in spring, the second of which I had a lucky chance meeting with Arrow and Henri within minutes of my stepping off the train. I mentioned to them that Norwich would love to see them back and they have grown a pretty strong following here. They replied that they tried to make it happen but nobody could get the available dates to work but would try and make it happen next time. When I saw that they were returning to the UK to play All Points East alongside Nick Cave, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Aldous Harding et al. I wondered and hoped they might possibly return as, because they are one of the hardest working bands I have ever known, they usually try and fit in as many dates as they can when they come over for a festival appearance or big support slot (Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, Nick Cave, Jack White, Beck), sometimes without even a single day off. Quite something as their gigs are very high intensity and energetic shows as it is, let alone factoring in the touring schedule but they just seem born to play live.

Photo: RShashamane

This wished for news of a Norwich date arrived early last week when PRB announced their much-awaited return to our city, adding that (true to their word) the band had asked to play here! Their fourth time in Norwich. With just one week’s notice for a Wednesday night gig it still sold out which is no mean feat at all in these cash-strapped times. They have now sold out on each of their four visits to Norwich. After their first NAC visit I joked with Henri that they started by playing a medieval crypt in the city but were now selling out churches. He joked back that they were aiming to play and fill a cathedral. Well, we have two cathedrals and I have no doubt they’d fill both, they are truly adored in Norwich.

Photo: RShashamane

Anyway, I arrived in plenty of time and was pleased to see the character that later in the evening Arrow would dub “Rumpelstiltskin“, he and I met and chatted briefly ahead of their London Hoxton Colours gig and the same happened here in Norwich – he’d travelled from Paris to see them (both times) and was also going to see the following gigs in Liverpool and Leeds.

Starcrawler’s Tim and Bill. Photo: RShashamane

The doors opened just as the nearby church bells were striking 7pm and the early arrivals headed to the bar area and garden, it was good to see so many familiar faces, some of whom I had not seen in close to three years. The Starcrawler devotees claimed their spots at the front ahead of the support set, local band Damp Matches, familiar to me only by name, I had not seen them before and knew nothing much about them but it quickly became clear what a good choice they were to support Starcrawler, a similar energy, lively, visual and with a healthy dose of attitude and strong songs. Everyone I spoke to enjoyed their set, I certainly did. They are even fans of Starcrawler too so they felt honored to be opening for them.

Damp Matches. Photo: RShashamane
Damp Matches. Photo: RShashamane
Damp Matches. Photo: RShashamane

All day and even the previous day I had been looking forward to and building up excitement for Starcrawler’s set, this sort of thing can be filled with a danger of over-expectation but Starcrawler never, ever disappoint on that score and not only match this huge level of expectation and excitement but consistently exceed it. From the moment they arrived as a visiting band in 2017 it was clear that for all the energy and unpredictability of their shows this is a very tight unit of great musicians who take it seriously, they seriously care and they are meticulous about everything. In the dimly lit atmosphere of the NAC stage it may not have been obvious to all but almost everything was pink. The drum kit, amps, the guitar cables and even down to the setlists and the pink gaffer tape holding them down on the stage. Starcrawler have a strong aesthetic sense, they always put on a show but I love all this attention to detail visually, from the dynamics of movement to the clothes and the now the pink gear too. I already associate this vibrant pink solely with Starcrawler now. Something else that may not have been common knowledge was that Henri was playing with a broken bone in his wrist, not that anyone could have guessed from his shredding and dervish movements throughout. Another measure of their commitment to their craft.

Starcrawler’s Henri – playing with a broken hand! Photo: RShashamane
Photo: RShashamane

There was a strong sense of anticipation ahead of the 9pm stage time, building further when the lights dimmed, the stage filled with smoke and the intro tape played. The band came on, started playing Goodtime Girl and then Arrow burst upon the scene to loud cheers, she blew kisses to the crowd and we were off and running. It was loud, frenetic, powerful and glorious, plus we had “Rumpelstiltskin” conducting and choreographing the moshpit. Brilliant!

Starcrawler’s Arrow. Photo: RShashamane
Photo: RShashamane
Photo: Paul Lievens, paulievens64

Since their 2019 visit they have had some line-up changes, on drums they now have Seth Carolina, plus the addition of Henri’s brother Bill Cash on guitars and pedal steel. This is a master-stroke. Their sound is now bigger, mightier and more powerful, it’s more expansive but and also has a subtle edge, particularly on the slower songs. The country hints and influence has always been there but it’s worn more openly apparent now with the slower segment of the set about halfway through where they fed us some appetisers for the album with some new, slower songs featuring the pedal steel and Henri playing acoustic guitar. They still love to rock out too though, blistering out old favourites including both sides of Ants/Used to Know, I Love L.A., No More Pennies, Bet My Brains alongside more recent songs Stranded, Roadkill, Goodtime Girl, Thursday, Better Place, Runaway and many more in this strong 22-song set, which of course included the epic Chicken Woman as an encore, a song where anything can happen (and often does!) during its performance. The new songs really give an insight into how they are developing their sound and style as a band. It all bodes really well, this is an excellent and interesting band. Tonight Arrow dived into the crowd and was carried aloft and Henri also went walkabout playing guitar in the pit which even included an audience with the Pope! Crypts, churches, cathedrals and now the pontiff. Starcrawler are going to be huge if there’s any justice and reward for sheer brilliance, dedication and extremely hard work. They have it all, the ability, desire, work ethic, talent, artistry, creativity, image and of course the songs. They deserve everything good and we may all look back on the days we saw them in venues like this but Starcrawler seem absolutely genuine when they speak of their love for Norwich, they have always said this but it was quite obvious at this gig with the warmth from the stage and also from the floor. The love and respect was reciprocal. They appeal to all ages too, there are more younger people each time but the older ones recognise something in Starcrawler and their performances that we have missed for a long, long time. An energy, excitement and sense of occasion. They don’t lecture us or go on and on about politics (nobody really wants that at a gig outside of a benefit or awareness gig, do they? I don’t. Gigs are my respite and escape from the everyday things), they just entertain us and put on a heck of a thrilling rock show. They tap into something primal in any music fan and it’s intoxicating. We all felt it.

Starcrawler’s Henri playing acoustic guitar. Photo: RShashamane

We also recognise many of the musical reference points that form their own sound, I detect influencial names within the band from the like the Ramones, T-Rex, Ozzy, Iggy, Cramps, MC5, AC/DC, Nirvana, Sex Pistols, The Runaways, White Stripes,Parsons, Berry, New York Dolls and increasingly even the Rolling Stones, certainly in the command of the stage, amongst others as well as rock, punk, outlaw country and a lot of glam but they very much have their own identity and clearly mean what they do. With stage presence in abundance to boot, as music fans we always recognise authenticity and Starcrawler are definitely For Real. Any band’s sound is always going to be formed from the melting pot of their influences but what finer pedigree of influences could anyone have? One thing I have felt with their gigs this year is this feeling of their being on the cusp of much-wider recognition and the potential to explode to a much wider audience. I hope so, though I do love seeing them in these smaller venues. They have a huge tour on the horizon in the US this autumn and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving band should that recognition arrive, they are certainly ready and able for it. If it does and they become huge, we will treasure all the more the memories of seeing them in the Arts Centre and Crypt, though Henri stressed to me once again that they will “always play in Norwich” which filled my heart with joy.

Starcrawler. Photo: RShashamane
Photo: RShashamane

Being a Wednesday night you might think everyone would file out once the music was over but not a bit of it, the bar was very busy with “that buzz” you get after a great gig where everyone wants to talk about it and keep the evening going. The new album was not yet at the merch table but She Said is imminent with a 16 September release date. Henri was at the desk and happy to chat and so too was the wonderful Arrow when she appeared a few minutes later. Both were happy to talk, sign and have photos taken with everyone, they value their fans in the same way we do them, it was notable and obvious what a keen and genuine connection they have with their audience, I love and respect them even more for that. A formidable force of nature onstage, off it Arrow is chilled, friendly and good humoured, really lovely. Likewise, Henri will make time to talk to anyone with a question about music and his set-up, he even put on a Damp Matches t-shirt. It was just beautiful, there’s a real connection between this band and their audience, and this city. Starcrawler, and last night in Norwich, is rock ‘n roll Heaven. They are absolute stars but off-stage they’re down to earth music fans like all the rest of us, happy to engage and we love them all the more for it. There seem to be ever more of us in this rapidly growing Starcrawler fan-base too, just as there should be.

For all those present, for the duration of the gig (and for some considerable time afterwards in my case) I am pretty sure that for one evening at least nobody was thinking about inflation and energy prices as the band provided most welcome escapism from all of that by taking us on a ride through their world for ninety minutes or so. This is the best gig experience for me, where a gig is an escape from daily concerns. At Starcrawler gigs I am immersed throughout, they are spellbinding and I am spellbound in their world.

Lyric video for Broken Angels. Released on Friday 2 September 2022.

Photo: RShashamane

Huge thanks to Starcrawler for providing yet another highlight of the year and creating another indelible memory (Lord knows we are grateful after two years without being able to create new ones), PRB for booking them and NAC for hosting. Thanks also to the generous Gordon Woolcock for his giving nature, who on this occasion took a photo of me with Arrow and also printed some small cards of his Starcrawler photo collection to put on the merch desk, free for anyone who wanted one (or several in my case though I did try not to be greedy!), thanks Gordon. Thanks also to Paul Lievens and Bekki, for the use of photos and also for taking one on my camera of me with Arrow.

PRB’s next gigs in Norwich are The Handsome Family at the Norwich Arts Centre on 7 September, and Daddy Long Legs on 19 October, also at the NAC.

Please excuse what may be a rambling and gushing account of the evening, it’s not intended as a review as such, more just a record of my own experience of what felt a special evening which I will revisit in my memories often. I’ll load a few more photos soon, which may be rusty as it was only the second time I have used my DSLR this year!

Words cannot express how much I love Starcrawler. Here is a very happy ‘me’ with Arrow, a true star and the captivating singer in my very favourite band: Starcrawler. On my 9th or 10th time seeing them and the third time this summer, I finally managed to express just what they mean to me. When I am seeing Starcrawler I feel not just pure unadulterated joy but also, I feel no pain … they make me feel young, excited and completely pain and worry-free, this is a very, very rare and precious quality indicative of the energy and joy they bring.

During our interminable UK lockdowns when we were all missing music, Starcrawler gigs were what I missed most of all. Their Norwich gig tonight was triumphant and wonderful, selling out in just one week. No mean feat! I love Starcrawler so much ❤️
❤️
Photo: RShashamane
Photo: RShashamane

We also remembered some friends who were here for when Starcrawler last played the venue but who sadly are no longer with us though I’m sure they are still part of the Norwich Starcrawler flock and were present in spirit.

Photo: Paul Lievens, paulievens64

Starcrawler

PRB Presents

Damp Matches

A few days earlier I saw another wonderful gig, GNOD at Voodoo Daddy’s. It was intense, heavy, very loud and perfectly cathartic. One could almost see the baggage of two and a half years being shaken and thrown off the backs of both band and audience. It was superb, this gig and Starcrawler’s were so cathartic, just what was needed. I’m very grateful for this performance. Supporting GNOD were another local band I had not yet seen, Red Mar. They were pretty impressive actually, creative, doing things differently and very interesting for it. They had some great moments in their set and they’re a name I shall look out for in the gig lists to catch again. It was a busy day of music in the city and I very briefly caught some of 4D Jones’ album launch at the Reindeer before seeing The Cool Kings at the Walnut Tree Shades. Those Deadbeat Cats were also playing several sets on Gentleman’s Walk for Head Out Not Home.

GNOD in Norwich on Sunday 28 August 2022, Voodoo Daddy’s.
Photo: RShashamane
My new Gnod vinyl, goes well with the Rega
Class graffiti in the Voodoo Daddy’s toilets

STARCRAWLER

PRB PRESENTS

DAMP MATCHES

GNOD

RED MAR

Posted in Best gigs, damp matches, live music and dance, Norwich Arts Centre, punk rock blues, starcrawler | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Norwich Psych Fest 30 September – 1 October 2022

Norwich’s Psychedelic Music Festival Returns

 

Cinecide is proud to present the second edition of Norwich Psych Fest, taking over Norwich Arts Centre for three consecutive nights this autumn. As well as a mix of alternative music from live bands, the festival will be serving punters delicious food by JIVE Kitchen, a collection of indie art to peruse courtesy of the Big Fat Art Cart, and psychedelic light projections by Julian Hand.

BDRMM (supplied photo)

The festival returns from Friday 30 September – Sunday 2 October for a weekend of fuzzed out psych bliss. Expect a mix of psychedelic genres, including noise rock, shoe gaze, dream pop and much more. BDRMM, Tess Parks, and The Soundcarriers are set to headline, with an impressive supporting line-up, and DJ sets from Sonic Cathedral, Stewart Nash and Venus Vinyl.

Tess Parks (supplied photo)

The weekender is proving to be bigger and better this year, with a mind-bending mix of both international and grass roots acts. A large portion of the line-up features local musicians based in the city – Ben Auld, Janna FX, Black Magic Caravan – and further afield in East Anglia with Ipswich’s Under The Sun and Cambridge’s Lemondaze. Norwich favourites Karma Sheen return for some Sufi-infused psychedelia, and members of Flamingods play under their new project Noon Garden. Not forgetting the absolutely unmissable Large Plants – listen to their cover of La Isla Bonita now for a taster!

Soundcarriers (supplied photo)

Launched in 2021, fresh out of COVID lockdowns and keen to reinvigorate in the local music scene, Norwich Psych Fest is organised by Simon Nunn of Cinecide Promotions, and Jonny Briggs. Last year’s festival packed our the Arts Centre and received high praise for added something new and different to the local music scene.

Red Mar (photo by Andi Sapey)

“Overall, the music was great. The turnout was good too … I have craved a proper packed-out venue and a full-on writhe around with a load of fellow psych-heads more than I knew. I’ve always been jealous of Manchester having such a solid grasp on the psych fest format and Norwich Psych Fest has definitely satisfied that hunger…” – review from Callum Ritchie at Outline. [http://www.outlineonline.co.uk/content/norwich-psych-fest/live-reviews-/121441/2486]

Large Plant (supplied photo)

Cinecide is also putting on several nights at Voodoo Daddies in August and the following months, with GNOD, Red Mar, Asteroid No. 4, Magic Shoppe and more to still be announced.

Bug Teeth (supplied photo)
Noon Garden (supplied photo)

Tickets are available from Norwich Arts Centre website, for the whole weekend or individual nights: https://norwichartscentre.co.uk/event/norwich-psych-fest-weekend/

Social media: @norwichpsychfest

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NEW SINGLE release, Dove and Boweevil with Yve Mary B in aid of cancer charity

Hello there, 
   Dove & Boweevil are  sharing news with you of our upcoming single featuring our dear friend and talented songstress Yve Mary B.

      Having performed on several occasions with Yve over the years, one stand out song for us was a cover of Jimi’s Hendrix’s song Angel. We decided to record it just before Yve moved to Alabama in the US a few weeks ago ( good luck Yve!) and to put the song to good use by raising money for charity.

A copy in either Wav or Mp3 format is available here. 

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/doveandboweevil

Why raise money for charity? ( tissues are needed)

     Angel by Jimi Hendrix is a song that I felt connected to after my mum Alison passed away from cancer in June of 2000. Sadly earlier this year I lost a good friend and choir member to cancer and so it was Dawn that inspired the decision to raise money for the Star Throwers charity based in Wymondham who took great care of her during her illness. They do great work supporting patients of any type of cancer as well as their carers and while there is a great amount of fundraising for Cancer generally Dawn felt that smaller more local cancer charities often get overlooked.

     I think each of us can probably list loved ones lost to cancer or have gone through it but it seems that in recent years Dove & Boweevil have lost some great supporters of our music so we dedicate Angel in their memory;

Alan Pearce (February 2022)  at Blues Matters Magazine who always showed interest in our music and we had a few great chats over the years.

Rob de Fries (Jan 2022) of Blues Train FM in the Netherlands pledged generously to our album and also invited us to play The Shack.

Matt Taylor ( March 2020), we were fortunate enough to work with Matt a few times, he always had time to offer help and worked on our PR for our album This Life.

Dave Raven ( March 20i9) Great advocate for the UK Blues scene who supported our music with interest,

Jules Fothergill (March 2019), a talented guitarist and part of the UK blues family was an inspiration.

Lastly my cousin Steve Diamond passed away in July 2021.

  We are so grateful to have had the pleasure of knowing such gifted and generous people who have supported us over years.

There are a great many charities across the country supporting those affected by cancer but we decided to pick one close to us here in Norfolk. https://www.starthrowers.org.uk/ If you are able to contribute or support our fund-raising by spreading the word of our single we would really appreciate it.
Many Thanks
Lauren, Mark and Yve.
aka. Dove & Boweevil and Yve aka Bo and the Moondaisies.

www.doveandboweevil.org

Posted in bands and new releases, Dove & Boweevil, News, Yve Mary B | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Courtney Marie Andrews + Lola Kirke @ NAC 17 June 2022

A gig I had been looking forward to for some considerable time, this was Courtney Marie Andrews’ first UK date after a string of European shows on her current tour and her first time back at Norwich Arts Centre in almost four years. When it finally came around it coincided with our hottest day of the year so far. When an artist who hails from Arizona says it’s hot you can be sure it is.

I had planned on spending most of the afternoon in the city but there was no way I was cycling in the midday heat and so left it until late afternoon before heading to the city. Recalling the wonderful synchronicity of bumping into Arrow and Henri of Starcrawler within minutes of getting off the train at Liverpool Street Station a few weeks back I thought I’d carry a couple of photos with me again, from Courtney’s last visit, ‘just in case’ on the off-chance that I might get them signed should I happen to bump into her or if she was at the merch table when the show was over. As luck and chance would have it, while I was locking up my bike having just reached the city who should I see but Courtney herself greeting her friend Lola Kirke who was just arriving and was support for the evening. Overcoming some of my shyness – if not my awkwardness – I did say hello just before Courtney headed back into the venue and she very kindly chatted briefly and signed my photos. I told her how much I’d enjoyed and appreciated her Patreon livestreams during the depths of what felt like interminable lockdowns over those often bleak two years. I also mentioned that I’d already pre-ordered my copy of the recently announced new album Loose Future (due out in October). A single from it has already been released with a seemingly re-born Courtney in the video to Satellite, after some of the sadness and heartache which was the theme of the beautiful melancholy that formed the tracks on the GRAMMY-nominated Old Flowers. She added that she would be doing several songs from the forthcoming record tonight.

It was actually my first time carrying my DSLR this year, incredibly. The weight of the bag on my back was not something I had missed but I had missed photographing my favourite artists and it was a pleasure to do so again, although I did feel considerable rustiness. I can see why musicians practice so frequently. Still very warm at 7pm I cooled down with a cold beer in the NAC garden and had a nice chat with a fellow music blogger/photographer, Amy who writes for Click Roll Boom. I’d missed these chance meetings and conversations with fellow music fans, as we all observed, we’re already sharing common ground at gigs with the love of music and conversations are natural in such settings. It was also nice to see again other familiar faces such as David, Dickie, Nic and fellow big CMA fans Craig Hill and his daughter Alex.

Lola Kirke at Norwich Arts Centre 2022

Just after 8pm we all headed indoors to a sparse but very warm hall before actress and musician Lola Kirke took to the stage. This was my first experience of live music in the room with natural light flooding into it, with the covers which had blacked them out for decades having been removed during the recent restoration and updating work. It felt a little odd and unfamilar at first, to see the whole room so clearly like this with daylight coming in through the windows. Lola was very good with a lovely, friendly stage presence. It turns out that on Wednesday she had played at the Third Man’s Blue Basement in London so she’ll have been as familiar with these hot venues as I am from my own recent visit there to see Starcrawler. With just her voice and acoustic guitar her songs had a strong country flavour which went down very well with everyone present, as far as I could tell. Very enjoyable.

The song in which she collaborated with Courtney, Broken Families, was in the set and beautiful. Monster is another superb song. We were all won over by her storytelling songs and warm energy.

The window blinds buzzed as they closed just before Courtney’s set, making things feel more familiar. Backed with fellow excellent musicians on guitar, bass and drums I realised it had been quite a while since I’d seen CMA touring with the ‘Bandrews’ as my most recent CMA gigs have been solo ones. The Loose Future, Old Flowers, May Your Kindness Remain and Honest Life albums were all represented tonight with the inclusion of some of my favourites: Table for One (I have Courtney’s handwritten lyrics to this one framed and on my wall at home), Burlap String, It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault, Old Flowers, May Your Kindness Remain as well as Satellite, Loose Future and a few other new ones. Courtney seemed in good spirits and chatted amiably with the crowd, complimenting us on our attentive listening and appreciation as well as the city of Norwich itself (despite referring to it as a ‘town’, I could feel people wanting to point out our city status!)

Courtney Marie Andrews at Norwich Arts Centre, June 2022

The heat was quite stifling and I think it was draining everyone a bit though the music kept us all going, the heat was certainly affecting the guitars though causing some re-tuning, Courtney joking that her guitar was suffering and complaining about the temperature.

CMA at NAC

In introducing Summertime Feeling to us the band jokingly played the opening notes of Summer Lovin’ from Grease and to her immense credit and the delight of the audience Courtney gave it a go, joining in with a few impromptu lines from that song as well as much laughter. She asked us to pretend that had not happened so forgive me for documenting it here, Courtney, but we all loved it! A very charming moment in the evening.

A relaxed feel to this set with everyone onstage comfortable with one another and smiles aplenty. Towards the end of the set we had a few unfamiliar songs (to our ears at least), tracks from the new album and possibly one or two even newer than that. It was a good music audience who listened very attentively to these new ones and the positive, loud reactions at the end of each suggests they were all given a convincing thumbs up. We had a magnificent, soaring Near You, played and sung to perfection. Responding to the loud cheers and applause at the end of the set (Table for One), we were rewarded with an encore of Ships in the Night to close a set of almost twenty songs. Not for the first time I found myself at the end buying one of Courtney’s albums that I already own simply so that I could have a signed version of it. I suppose I could have just brought my own copy with me but I don’t regret this at all and was happy to support one of my favourite artists with a purchase from the merch stand (I also bought a t-shirt which in my excitement to get the record signed I somehow dropped from under my arm, so big thanks to the NAC staff who correctly guessed it was mine.) Next stop for CMA and the band is the Black Deer Festival on Saturday (today). Big thanks to Courtney for a beautiful gig in stifling heat and for being lovely enough to sign my things. Very kind.

http://www.facebook.com/CourtneyMarieAndrews

http://www.lolakirkemusic.com/

http://www.facebook.com/LolaKirke/

A couple of weeks earlier the Playhouse Bar had the first of their post-restrictions live music nights, with Maya Law, Phoebe Troup, and janani.fx all playing. Janani – whom many will know from Gladboy – performed a stunning set in her new solo venture, the array of influences and inspiration which she has creatively processed to express herself musically was as impressive as it was breathtaking. Great stuff.

janani.fx

Phoebe Troup was on electric guitar and playing in a duo format. Lots of new songs and a couple of old favourites too. I love everything Phoebe does.

Phoebe Troup

It has felt like ages since I have seen Maya Law and indeed I think it is some considerable time since she has played but this was a fun one, and wonderful to see her performing with Freya, both of them really impressive.

Maya Law (accompanied here by Freya Roy on guitar)

I very much enjoyed all three sets and also having nice catch-up chats too, such a relaxed and friendly musical vibe that we had been deprived of for such a long time. It was also fun to be at a gig with my camera again, I had stopped doing that for ages too. Afterwards I went to the Walnut Tree Shades to catch the end of Peter T’s weekly open mic night. Not as packed as usual, what with it being Red Rooster weekend but enjoyable nevertheless.

Peter T

The Cherry Tree in Costessey is somewhere I had not been to in years but it is under new management and has resumed live music. It was packed in there with a great atmosphere for The Glamtastics and a few weeks earlier, The Flying Sabres.

The Glamtastics
Posted in courtney marie andrews, freya roy, janani.fx, live music and dance, Maya Law, Norwich Arts Centre, Peter T, Phoebe Troup, The Flying Sabres, The Glamtastics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Starcrawler @ Colours, Hoxton, London 26 May 2022

Starcrawler are one of the bands I had missed most over the pandemic, quite possibly the band I missed most, having not seen them since late-2019 which is why, in the absence of a Norwich date, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to see them. I felt very lucky indeed to be seeing them twice actually, having only days earlier been in that audience in that unforgettable Third Man Records Blue Basement gig.

After stepping off the afternoon train when it arrived in Liverpool Street I thought I’d check out the location of the venue to know how long to allow myself for the walk back for the train back at the end of the evening. Heading in the direction of Shoreditch and into Hoxton Square I soon had my suspicions confirmed that Colours was indeed a venue I had visited before, under a different name when it hosted a gig by Marissa Nadler and Mary Lattimore that I attended in 2016 but as a result of some beautiful serendipity what I noticed first of all was Arrow and Henri chatting outside the venue itself, literally about 15 minutes after I’d stepped off that train. I was delighted to have a few nervous (on my part) words and get a couple of photos signed. They actually remembered me from Norwich and said they’d wanted to play the city but were unable to get a date that worked for all. There was much more I would have liked to tell them but there was a shyness hurdle on my part.

After walking around for a couple of hours I made my way back to Hoxton Square and made the mistake of having a pre-gig pint in the Red Dog Saloon opposite. I was told the pint I ordered was ‘not available’ and when I went to pay for my alternative was told they had ‘no change available’ (!), which must be their way of refusing to handle cash which is still very much my preferred form of tender, especially as my account was nearly empty but the card was just able to cover the very expensive £7.31 for a pale ale, outrageous even for London. This wasn’t a place to linger so after this I went straight to the Colours venue and found the staff and security super friendly. Also, beer was much cheaper than at the Red Dog and they happily accepted cash. I should have just come straight here, it was quite welcoming.

It wasn’t just the staff who were relaxed and friendly it was also a lovely crowd of chatty Starcrawler fans which made the time waiting for the show to begin fly by. I also chanced to see Arrow’s mom Autumn de Wilde again and this time felt brave enough to speak, adding that Starcrawler have the ability to make me forget everything negative for the duration of their shows. She agreed.

Support band were a new name on me – Island of Love – and they were good fun, loud and powerful and very well-received. They also have connections to Third Man Records, I believe. Colours apparently holds 300 which seemed almost implausible when it was nearly empty but when it was full it was very believable. One of those curious venues that look smaller when empty than when full.

Everyone was waiting for the main act though and keen to secure a good spot. The gig was another sellout and there was a palpable air of excitement and anticipation among the mixed crowd with a wide, healthy range of ages. The band all entered the stage from the same door this time and Arrow’s arrival was loudly greeted with approval from the by now packed floor. There was such a sense of occasion about this gig and Arrow especially has tremendous stage presence, it’s impossible to take one’s eyes off her. The setlist was, I think, much the same as it was at Third Man, it was such a big sound too with the two guitars, and the drums sounded massive. Arrow’s vocals were a tad low in the mix from where I was stood but that didn’t detract from a hugely enjoyable gig where the years fell away for the older audience members and we were all as one, a heaving mass of bouncing, moshing bodies – something I wondered at various points during the pandemic if we would see again. As the set closed with Bet My Brains Arrow climbed into the audience and was carried aloft before being lifted back onto the stage before running out through the stage door. The crowd were demanding an encore though and not taking no for an answer, eventually the request was granted and we were treated to an intense Chicken Woman, at the end of which Arrow was once again being carried by the adoring crowd. I’ve seen Starcrawler many times now and I think this is the first time I recall an actual encore. They leave everything onstage such is the energy of the performances that it almost seems greedy to ask for more but this was a hungry audience because Starcrawler shows so good that enough never seems enough.

The band had come to this gig from Dublin as they are currently supporting My Chemical Romance and all their days off from that tour they are filling with their own headline shows, almost running two tours concurrently. By rights this band should be huge but they are all big stars in my eyes and for everyone here, I loved hearing the stories from the other fans and how inspirational they are to many in the audience.

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Starcrawler @ The Blue Basement, Third Man Records, London 21 May 2022

It starts to feel reassuringly ‘old normal’ when favourite overseas bands and artists start announcing dates in the UK. I have missed Starcrawler gigs as much as anyone’s during the pandemic lockdown years and was pleased to see their announcement of a string of dates supporting My Chemical Romance – what I was not expecting at all though was the short notice announcement of a headline show in the tiny, tiny Blue Basement of Jack White’s Third Man Records in the heart of London’s Soho district. I was very pleased to secure a ticket as this basement really is just a small box of a venue (not a criticism, the sound was great and so was the atmosphere) with the audience capped at just 40. I never imagined I’d get another opportunity to experience Starcrawler in such an intimate, close-up venue as at that Norwich Bedford’s Crypt gig but how wrong I was, filled now with anticipation at seeing them in a venue less than half that size.

The doors finally opened about an hour later than stated and it was already hot milling around upstairs in the record shop before we were allowed downstairs shortly after 8pm. There was no messing around down there though and the band were already on the tiny stage as the first of us reached the floor, striking up the opening chords of Goodtime Girl. I was still trying to secure my position and vantage point when I felt someone pushing by to get even closer to the front. Of course it was Arrow!

It was loud and exhilarating. The opening song segued into new single Roadkill and was followed by I Love L.A. and then some greetings from Henri Cash, by which time everyone was boiling in this sweatbox, not that there were any complaints about that, we were just all thrilled to be there and there’s something extra-special – I feel – about going some steps for a loud rock gig. This was also my first time seeing the new line-up, with Seth Carolina taking over drumming duties from Austin Smith and the line up augmented by brother of Henri, Bill Cash on pedal steel and further guitar, and of course bassist Tim Franco completes the line up with Henri and the spellbinding force of nature that is Arrow de Wilde on vocals. The powerful drumming and second guitar fills the sound further and the pedal steel and another dimension. I’m a big fan of this hint of a country tinge to Starcrawler that shows itself from time to time on the less frenetic songs.

The set seemed to be passing at breakneck speed and as I stood there smiling and nodding away I realised just how much this sort of thing was precisely what I have missed so much. A loud and exciting rock and roll act, a tight musical unit with strong songs enjoying themselves and also with the compelling, visual, theatrical and unpredictable aspect. The set featured plenty of old favourites (No More Pennies and Bet My Brains being particular favourites of mine).

Arrow disappeared into the crowd during the final song and Henri was also in the crowd with his guitar and then it was all over. Obviously there were calls for “One more song!” but how could this be followed. It was brilliant and I think I was beaming from ear to ear and had waited two and a half years for the Starcrawler experience again.

A notable presence among the audience was Arrow’s mum esteemed photographer Autumn de Wilde. I’d have loved to have met her and the band to say thanks/hello but even though it was only 9pm we were ushered upstairs by the staff and in truth we probably did all need some of that cooler fresh air. I stepped outside to find it was still light, that doesn’t often happen after a gig and I made my way to Oxford Circus tube station, I’d kind of forgotten it was a Saturday and the West End. It felt like high summer. Everywhere was very lively and the night was just beginning for many, there were also Sunderland fans everywhere in good voice, I guessed they won their Wembley play-off final against Wycombe.

The tube was as rammed as I can ever remember it, just to reinforce the feeling that things are very much back to normal, for the moment at least. The early finish meant I was able to catch an earlier train back than usual and the Saturday night vibe was still very strong and in full flow in the city when I arrived back in Norwich and carefully negotiated Prince of Wales Road towards the city centre for a much needed pint at the pub before the long walk home. I knew I was going to pay for this night with tiredness the following day but it was totally worth it, plus of course I kept thinking of Starcrawler themselves, somewhat envious of their youthful energy, arriving from California, playing this energetic show the following day and Milton Keynes with My Chemical Romance the day after that with barely a day without a gig during the whole tour. They are young and have energy but they are so hard working and deserve all the success and recognition that comes their way, they are keeping the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll alive and exciting, especially live.

I rarely seem to carry my camera around with me these days but I’m glad I did for this one, even if all I had with me was a compact, this band never fail to inspire me. Below are a few photos from some of the recent gigs where I did get a photo.

The Scaners, from France, playing a most wonderful set at the Louis Marchesi Crypt, supported by the new line-up and always excellent Beat With a Gun, for Gluttonous Mutt.
What great signings!
The welcome return of Dry Cleaning to NAC
Kurt Vile at Rough Trade East, London. This was something quite special and lovely.
The Levellers at the UEA LCR
Amazing Amy mural in London
The Beatles bench in London
Phoebe Troup
Red Hot Riot’s return to The Reindeer.
Yve Mary B absolutely silencing a noisy Louis Marchesi into rapt attention for a stunning acapella Peddar’s Way.
Bo Ningen at NAC
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The Scaners + Beast With a Gun @ Louis Marchesi Crypt 28 April 2022

A gig I had a ticket for well in advance and was looking forward to tremendously. Gluttonous Mutt putting on one of their basement punky, garage blues trash nights in the Louis Marchesi Crypt. I love these nights and this one did not disappoint. It’s a good feeling walking down some steps for an underground punk rock and roll night and a feeling I had missed, as well as some of the familiar faces I’d not seen in a while, or at least since the last Ravenous Hounds/Beast With a Gun gigs.

The Scaners
The Scaners

Support for the evening was from the wonderful Beast With a Gun, kicking things off in fine style and also with a first outing for their newly adjusted line-up. As charismatic, entertaining and brilliant as ever, I loved every moment of it.

Beast With a Gun

I knew very little of The Scaners, the French sci-fi punks from Lyon, I was here because I trust the promoters’ taste, which match my own quite closely. The Scaners had me hooked from the off. Loud guitars, and keys, the pace was frenetic. They look like The Clash but their sound often put me in mind more of The Ramones, Devo, Pere Ubu and even a little bit of B-52s as well. How could you not love a band with titles such as Levitation Train 2077, Mars Attacks, X-Ray Glasses. On! Space X-ploration, Alien Boy, Don’t Run, We’re Your Friends, Please Abduct Me, etc. You can see the theme.

I had so much fun at this gig and couldn’t resist buying an album, my only dilemma was choosing which record as I only had enough money for one. Lovely people too and just look at these signatures.

https://www.facebook.com/thescaners

https://thescaners.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/beastwithagun

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Red Rooster announces 2022 line-up & joins Festival of Suffolk lighting beacon for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on June 2nd

RED ROOSTER FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LINE-UP FOR 2022

and

JOINS OF FESTIVAL OF SUFFOLK LIGHTING BEACON TO OPEN CELEBRATIONS FOR

QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE ON JUNE 2ND

To celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on June 2nd Red Rooster festival is pleased to announce it will be opening these historic celebrations by lighting the beacon in Euston Park on its opening day.

Red Rooster will also be joining the Festival of Suffolk, which aims to build a £5m Festival Fund by 2024, administered in partnership with the Suffolk Community Foundation. This fund will support grant funding to charities, community groups and social enterprises in Suffolk who share festival values, and act in one or more of the six core areas:  Culture & Tourism, Opportunity & Education, Enterprise, Community, Environments and Health & Wellbeing. 

 Harry, Duke of Grafton says:

“We are all hugely excited to be hosting Red Rooster 2022 over the platinum jubilee bank holiday weekend.

Red Rooster 2022 is shaping up to become a hugely memorable weekend with a fantastic music line-up, delicious BBQ from the new Red Roaster zone and a huge array of activities for all the family. The Red Rooster team cannot wait to see you in June.”

Red Rooster welcomes Seasick Steve as the headliner of Red Rooster 2022 on Friday night. Steve has come a very long way in the 15 years since he burst into the public consciousness with his amazingly raw, powerful and emotional performances on Jools Holland becoming a household name overnight. It is those astonishing and engaging live performances that have turned Steve and drummer Dan Magnusson into such a powerful force both Iive and on record (selling over 1m albums) and selling out venues all over the world in the process.

Born and raised in California, Ex UEA student Nick Waterhouse tops the main stage’s Saturday billing, bringing his intoxicating Rhythm and Blues to Euston Hall. His latest album ‘Promenade Blue’ represents rebirth and reinvigoration as well as a clarity of purpose, vivid and magnetic.

Memphis man Sugarray Rayford is a real catch for Red Rooster; his new album ‘In Too Deep,’ the follow up to his 2020 Grammy nominated ‘Somebody Save Me,’ an album which also earned Rayford two major Blues Music Awards for B.B. King Entertainer and Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year (over 2 consecutive years!). Combining classic soul melodies with funky R&B groove. Raw blues power mashed up with contemporary sounds.

Joshua Hedley has been on Red Rooster’s wish list since his amazing Third Man album ‘Mr Jukebox’ was release by Jack White’s label in 2018. Joshua has been making a name for himself as Nashville’s righthand guy. Known as the “mayor of lower Broadway” by collaborators and comrades, Hedley is a fixture at Robert’s Western World, where he plays for tips with his band the Hedliners. The multi-talented singer-songwriter has played fiddle with Justin Townes Earle, Robert Ellis and Jonny Fritz. Now, Music City’s favourite son is breaking out on his own and he’s heading to Red Rooster.

Another Third Man act are Smoke Fairies, who were the first UK band to release a record on the Nashville based label.  Their latest album ‘Darkness Brings the Wonders Home’ reached #1 in the UK Rock chart and went top 10 in the Indie Album charts.

A twice winner of the British Blues Award for Best Acoustic Performer and Best Songwriter, Marcus Bonfanti signs up to Red Rooster, Bristol’s Beth Rowley brings her Americana inspired lullabies, and the very welcome return of slide guitar maestro, Martin Harley, who will blow our minds once again.

Danish/Brazilian duo The Courettes make their Red Rooster debut, whilst William The Conqueror return with their fuzzy roots rock n’ chops.

He Was In Heaven Before He Died: A Tribute to John Prine, will feature Robert Chaney, The Magic Numbers, Beth Rowley, Felix Holt, Louis Brennan, Josh Flowers, Laura Tenchert, Pat Ralla & Joe Harvey Whyte. After a stellar show at Red Rooster 2021 with their homage to legendary music doc ‘Heartworn Highways’, this unique collective of musicians & songwriters are back once again to pay tribute to one of the most influential songwriters of a generation.  

Also newly announced are:

Awkward Family Portraits, The Schizophonics, Lady Nade, Alan Tyler & The Tapadoband, PM Warson, Red Hot Riot, Old Baby Mackerel, Chastity Brown, Mudlow, East Lonesome Drifters, The Dashwood String Band, Professor Baba & His Invisible Band, Ags Connolly, Jake Morrell, Sister Suzie, Lucy Grub, The McGuilty Brothers, East Angles Brass Band and Loose Leaf Drifters. With DJ sets from Eddie Pillar, Iraina Mancini, Ross Allen + Rocky, Wendy May, DJ Diddy Wah, Dean Thatcher, Dean Chalkley + Neil Barker, Oh Gunquit, Crispy Cowboy, Hank JD Sleek, Shola Aleje, and Andrew Hackett.

This fantastic line-up will join the previously announced:

North Mississippi Allstars, Cedric Burnside, Robert Finley, The Sheepdogs, Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express, Elles Bailey, Danny George Wilson, and Dom Pipkin & The Ikos.

Red Rooster has consistently sold out the last 4 years and expect to sell out quicker in 2022. We’re one of the best value festivals out there at just £109.50 + Booking fee for the whole weekend, which includes 3 nights of camping and parking FREE. Kids under 12 are free as always and we’ve also introduced a teen weekend ticket for just £50 + Booking fee.

Get your ticket before it’s too late – we don’t want you to miss this one! JOIN US HERE

http://www.redrooster.org.uk/

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FIRST WAVE OF ARTISTS ANNOUNCED FOR RED ROOSTER FESTIVAL 2022

After a sold out, and enormously enjoyable Red Rooster 2021, organisers are pleased to reveal the first wave of artists confirmed for 2022.

Red Rooster is delighted to welcome four-time Grammy award nominated North Mississippi Allstars to perform next year. Formed in 1996, by brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, they’re now bringing their Hill country Blues four piece with new album “Set Sail” set for release next year.

Joining them will be Mississippi Hill Country blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Cedric Burnside, widely heralded as an exemplar of the genre. Grandson of RL Burnside and Son of blues drummer Calvin Jackson – it’s in the blood – and we can’t wait to welcome Cedric back after the success of his Grammy nominated album “Be Trying.”

Louisiana bluesman Robert Finley joins the party, bringing a masterclass in Rhythm and Blues, his voice a shining centrepiece. His critically acclaimed album “Sharecroppers Son” was produced by Dan Aubach of The Black Keys and released on Dan’s label “Easy Eye.”

Straight out of Saskatoon, Canada, The Sheepdogs make their Rooster debut with their distinctive Southern Boogie sound as dynamic on stage as they are on record.

San Francisco’s Chuck Prophet and The Mission Express play the main stage in 2022, bringing a mix of modern lo-fi sensibilities with and storytelling songs with swampy roots influences. Chuck Prophet is an Americana legend going back to his days with Green on Red to his latest release, “The Land That Time Forgot.”

The smoky tones of the UK Americana Awards, “Song of the Year,” and No.1 Amazon blues charts, chanteuse Elles Bailey join the bill, alongside Danny George Wilson, Sister Suzie, Dom Pipkin & The Ikos, as well as the renowned Eddie Pillar on the decks, founder of legendary fanzine and label, Extraordinary Sensations and co-founder of the Acid Jazz label.

Red Rooster has consistently sold out its last four events 4 years with tickets flying out at a record speed. 2022 will no doubt follow suit. It is one of the best value festivals out there at just £109.50 + Booking fee for the whole weekend, which includes 3 nights of camping and parking FREE. Kids under 12 are free as always and we’ve also introduced a teen weekend tickets for just £50 + Booking fee. The weekend ticket price will also be capped for the next 2 years!

Get your ticket before it’s too late – we don’t want you to miss this one! JOIN US HERE

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Dry Cleaning @ NAC 2 December 2021

The last significant gig I attended before the pandemic was Dry Cleaning, in Shoreditch March 2020. So it was good to see them as one of my early significant gigs at the NAC (although I have been to many smaller pub gigs in the interim, as well as Bo Ningen here too, either side of a frustrating gig-free bout of Delta Covid. Things were already changing weirdly back then in March 2020, with rather over the top handwashing advice and instructions. I think most of us new things were going to change quite dramatically though I doubt many knew for quite how long it would continue, on that occasion it was most noticeable by the long queues for the gents, or more accurately the washbasins and hand-dryers as everyone was so diligently washing and cleaning their hands for the minimum 20 seconds! I wanted one final blowout of an away day gig in London and Dry Cleaning were the obvious choice, I felt they stole the show when they supported Bodega at NAC (not that there was anything wrong with Bodega but Dry Cleaning interested me far more) so I was lucky enough to secure a ticket at the 500 capacity Village Underground for the Dry Cleaning headliner before the gig sold out.

Dry Cleaning are a band who actually managed to enhance their reputation even further during the lockdown years. They seemed on the cusp of big things just before the pandemic hit but some storming sets for KEXP and a magnificent album – New Long Leg – on 4AD produced by John Parrish only enhanced their reputation so they hit the ground running when live gigs resumed.

It was great to see them headline in Norwich at the Arts Centre, fresh from a run of shows in the States, they also sold out the NAC. I detected that things did not yet feel quite entirely normal for everyone in the audience with some understandable nervousness at being out at gigs again after so long but we are getting there and on the whole people had picked up where they left off, the music certainly helps.

Dry Cleaning at Norwich Arts Centre, December 2021

Official Website & Merch Store

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