The SweetBeats farewell @ NAC 20 September 2019

 

After some 16 years the much-loved SweetBeats recently announced that this gig would be their last but it was fitting that it was at their spiritual home of the also well-loved Norwich Arts Centre, for which they were playing to help with the regeneration fundraising.

The SweetBeats

I was rather lucky to get the late opportunity to attend this one as it was unsurprisingly completely sold out but I did miss the support The High Points but heard good things about them. The SweetBeats had already started their set when I arrived and as well as the familiar music it was nice to see so many familiar faces in the crowd and feel the lovely atmosphere that is always synonymous with SweetBeats gigs.  There is more space now in the auditorium without the speaker stacks on the floor and with better sightlines from the side even the aisles either side of the stage were full of people dancing and skanking, smiles everywhere one looked.

The SweetBeatsThe SweetBeats

The SweetBeatsThe SweetBeatsThe SweetBeats

Well past 11pm the music kept on coming as people became increasingly aware these were the last songs they’d be hearing by the band so the atmosphere and connection between band and audience was strong and it was quite moving when they finally stopped and took bows to big cheers from the big crowd.

 

“The Sweetbeats performing in support of our #NACregeneration campaign. This will also be their farewell gig after 16 years of festivals and parties!

“Come and dance your pants off with us for one last time and we hope to see yer down the front. Remember Resistance is Futile!”

Dance all night to the joyful sounds of The Sweetbeats as they blend self-penned songs with twisted versions of the classic Ska, Reggae, Bluebeat, Soul and dub tunes that inspired them. Jamaica is where this music starts – the journey ends in bliss. The soaring saxophone and double-trouble trombone energise your soul while the sweet vocal harmonies entrance your heart. Chunkin’ rhythms and addictive riffs keep you rocking all night.”

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A bit earlier on I paid my first visit to The Bowling House, opposite The Reindeer, where Odd Box Promotions were hosting the first gig in the building. It worked rather well in the upstairs cafe area, it was intimate and the sound sweet with Martin controlling it as we had performances from the returning Alexander Carson, Kerry Devine, Jeremy Tuplin, and the wonderful Phoebe Troup, stepping in at late notice for Sunday Driver.

 

Phoebe Troup

In London the previous evening Alex had played at St Pancras Old Church and was reunited with some Wooden Arms, (Jeff was present here too) and they will be playing some dates together later in the year, including 29 November in Norwich at Bermuda Bob’s.

It was my first time seeing both Kerry Devine and Jeremy Tuplin. Jeremy starting his set quite memorably with Bowie-spirit references in his song. His voice reminded me a little of Dan Michaelson.  Kerry just charmed us all with some lovely humour between her gorgeously atmospheric and haunting songs. I’d been told good things about her beforehand and was not disappointed. She expressed her love of Norwich which I think grew even more as she got the audience accompanying her on her version of Portishead’s Glory Box.

Phoebe Troup

Phoebe too was a total delight.  She treated us to a brilliant new song and played electric on one or two, Kerry’s Gibson guitar in fact.  Just as she was starting Deep in the Riverbed an ambulance noisily drove down Grape’s Hill and onto Dereham Road. Phoebe said “That was good timing” before checking herself and adding apologetically “Oh, not for someone!” which cracked everyone up for some moments. Absolutely charming and a fantastic artist is Phoebe.

night time norwich

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Posted in Alexander Carson, live music and dance, Norwich Arts Centre, odd box, Phoebe Troup, SweetBeats | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alden, Patterson & Dashwood + The Shackleton Trio @ NAC 19 September 2019

Thursday saw me back again at the recently re-opened and refurbished Norwich Arts Centre for a joint headline gig by Alden, Patterson and Dashwood and The Shackleton Trio, playing a half hour or so set each followed by a finale set where they were all onstage together. To make the occasion even more noteworthy for me I was finally re-united with my DSLR after a pricey clean, service and new shutter!

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This seated gig had a deservedly strong turnout for these premier leaguers of Norwich folk who are on a short run of dates together in the UK, fresh from playing the Slaughtered Lamb in London and with an EP release of some of their collaborations.

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Alden, Patterson and Dashwood

Alden, Patterson and Dashwood

I’m still a bit wide-eyed at all the changes that have taken place at NAC over the summer and how much has been achieved, it’s brighter and cleaner – many saying the bar is a bit too bright and stark at the moment but I’m hoping that will soften when posters and prints are back on the wall again and the “new” smell subsides.  It’s all about the music though and in the proudly spruced up hall people were early to take their places ahead of the opening set from The Shackleton Trio.  Everyone is getting used to the Arts Centre changes as they return for the first time and initially I found the illuminations on the lighting rig itself a tad distracting but nothing could take away from the sound which was superb with the new PA and sound-desk and the fantastic team who work them.  The sound was clear and clean wherever one was stood or seated (I do miss the table though). Georgia regaled us with stories of a pet ostrich and towards the end of the set they played a storming version of their homage to legendary pub The Stanford which got a rapturous reception.

the shackleton trio

Alden, Patterson and Dashwood are an exceptional trio, I always love seeing them and am well aware of what a big deal they are outside of the region too but a hometown gig in the NAC felt pretty special. They seemed to enjoy it too and at the end of the set Georgia, Zip and Aaren came back onstage and they closed the night together in fine style.

ap&d plus shackleton trio

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Gladboy + Miles Otto + (the) Red Dear @ NAC soft launch 13 September 2019

As an Arts Centre supporter I recently received an invitation to the NAC’s “soft launch” night following the first stage to take look at the tremendous and impressive amount of work that has taken place over the summer. I confess to having felt somewhat bereft during its two month closure but the amount of work that has taken place in that time is breathtaking. Everywhere has had a lick of paint, the bar has been completely revamped (and the pink lighting has gone), the foyer has had improvements and the whole place feels more spacious. There is even a pop-up can bar in the foyer now but the real gasp-moment was seeing the hall. The old church roof of the auditorium looks stunning, the stage has a new PA and lighting rig and with the new speakers now suspended above and the smaller monitors the stage seems about a third as big again but this might be an illusion. There is a new sound-desk too and the capacity has even increased slightly with some changes at the back of the hall. Even the floor looks fantastic, the clean revealing beautiful parquet designs.

Gladboy

We had a welcome back speech from Pasco who also informed us the NAC has Grade I listed status, and Bradley also ran through some of the details of the work that had taken place and gave thanks to those involved. On top of this we had three acts playing for free but having the privilege of putting the new and clean-sounding PA through its paces so it was a pleasure to see (the) Red Dear, Miles Otto, Gladboy and of course the Arts Centre with its doors open again. It felt good to be back and I must admit I am really looking forward to hearing the likes of Acid Mothers Temple and Our Quiet Friends even more now!  My second home is back and I am so pleased.  An unbelievable amount has been achieved by all of those working to get it ready and the old building seems to have an increased feeling of magnificence and pride with the loving care and attention it has received. It almost feels like this beautiful church has a new sense of self-esteem and pride with the sensitive and respectful makeover it’s been given. Not only regeneration but revitalisation and this was only the first phase.

nacnac

I’m still without my DSLR which is being cleaned and serviced but the new lighting seemed nice and bright so I was able to take a few photos with my compact camera.

miles ottomiles ottonac(the) red dear

Gladboy

Right at the end of the night I made a quick dash over to Jurnet’s Bar for the first Music House session after the summer break where I was just able to catch the final set which was a new project from Phoebe Troup. Some of the songs were familiar as her solo material but the presentation was completely different in this collaborative form. I did not catch the name of the project (Halph?) but it’s not a million miles away from some nineties Massive Attack with some electronic beats and hugely atmospheric vocals from Phoebe, it was hypnotic, immersive and amazing.

 

As Shane packed down the PA – sporting his Pink Floyd t-shirt gifted to him by Richard Penguin the previous eveningPeter Turrell played in the middle of the floor to close the evening.

 

Over the weekend I saw an EDP article about Jurnet’s, it seems they need our support more than ever. It’s a beautiful hidden gem of a venue but does need more custom, particularly at the bar, to help it finance itself. The Friday Music House Acoustic-ish Sessions have resumed after the summer break and Cave-In also resumes on Saturday at 7:30. All events at Jurnet’s are free.

 

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Norwich 7-day gig listings at The Gighopper

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Shane’s Shenanigans @ The Reindeer: Penguins Go Pop + Mssr Mortimer + Olinski Onsomble, 12 September 2019

Thursday brought the latest monthly instalment of one of my favourite regular nights in the city, Shane’s Musical Shenanigans at The Reindeer.  The night was opened by Shane O’Linski and friends as Olinski Onsomble, they were followed by the Krunk of Lewis as Mssr. Mortimer / VEEG, and to close the night the uniquely quirky Penguins Go Pop led by Richard Penguin (who presented Shane with a Floyd/Barrett shirt he picked up in Suffolk the previous week, and which I saw Shane proudly sporting when he hosted the Music House Acoustic-ish Session the following night).  I was chatting online with Richard earlier in the day and got onto the subject of their song All the Little Houses and mentioned it was one I was particularly fond of and he said he was thinking of adapting the lyrics slightly to make it topically political.  I had no idea where that was going and although I often feel that gigs are a welcome respite and escape from politics I thoroughly approved of his changes and sentiments!  The song can be seen and heard in the YouTube link below. Thanks for the dedication too, Richard!

Mss Mortimer

Mssr Mortimer

Olinski Onsomble

Olinski Onsomble

Penguins Go Pop

Penguins Go Pop

Penguins Go Pop

Penguins Go Pop

Penguins Go Pop

Penguins Go Pop

Penguins Go Pop

Penguins Go Pop

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Norwich 7-day gig listings at The Gighopper

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Sheringham 40s Weekend on the North Norfolk Railway, Poppy Line 2019

On Saturday I spent a few hours on the North Norfolk Railway’s Poppy Line for the annual 40s weekend.  Sheringham was absolutely packed in what was surely the busiest 40s weekend here I have so far experienced.

Sheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s Weekend

Catching a delightful steam train to Holt via Weybourne was as magical as always and did feel like time travel, though the journey back so busy it was standing room only … in the guard’s carriage.

Sheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s Weekend

The journey back from north Norfolk was accompanied by the BBC Radio Norfolk commentary of Norwich’s historic win over Manchester City ensuring I will not forget this weekend!

Sheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s WeekendSheringham 40s Weekend

As an Arts Centre supporter I received an invitation to the NAC’s “soft launch” following the first stage of its regeneration and so the previous evening was spent there to look at the tremendous amount of work that has taken place over the summer. I must admit to having felt bereft during its two month closure but the amount of work that has taken place in that time is breathtaking. Everywhere has had a lick of paint and the bar and foyer have been completely revamped and feel more spacious (even a pop-up can bar in the foyer) but the real gasp-moment was seeing the hall. The old church roof of the auditorium looks stunning, the stage has a new PA and lighting rig and with the PA suspended and the smaller monitors the stage seems about a third as big again but this might be an illusion. There is a new sound-desk too and the capacity has even increased slightly with some changes at the back of the hall. Even the floor looks fantastic!

Gladboy

We had a welcome back speech from Pasco, and Bradley ran through some of the details of the work that had taken place. On top of this we had three acts playing for free but having the privilege of putting the new and clean-sounding PA through its paces so it was a pleasure to see (the) Red Dear, Miles Otto, Gladboy and of course the Arts Centre with its doors open again. It felt good to be back and I must admit I am really looking forward to hearing the likes of Acid Mothers Temple and Our Quiet Friends even more now!  My second home is back.

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Galli – In the Roundhouse There’s Hornets EP, released 18 September 2019

This week sees the release on Drongo Records of the much anticipated debut EP release of In the Roundhouse There’s Hornets from the fascinating Norwich band Galli.

galli cover 2

Featuring members past and present of such loved local bands as The Piratones, Solko, Organisms, HANK, and The Horo Quartet, Galli have been impressing everyone lucky enough to catch them performing.  In the summer of 2017 for BBC Music Day at the Millennium Library I was asked for some recommendations to play at the Forum, one of whom was Georgia King, playing her debut solo gig with a set later to become the trio known as Galli the following summer.  Earlier this year I was excited to choose them again for my Shashamane Recommends session at the Warwick St Social where they performed as a quartet for the first time with the addition of Cecily’s beautifully haunting harmonies joining Georgia (lead vocals and guitar), Ash (bass and vocals) and Alex (drums).

Galli

The EP opens with Sabika, an incredible song about sleep paralysis, inspired by a painting and which was released as a stand-alone track in spring. The performance and playing is subtle yet powerful and very effective, all the feelings of anxiety, fear, vulnerability and claustrophobia building and giving a sense of the anxious dread in lines such as “If you come tonight will you be kind?

Galli

It’s followed by Whittle Away, another atmospheric song of light and shade with a sense of vulnerability (“You Need a Hand to Hold Tonight“).  This is followed by Chrysalis which demonstrates the band’s influences of jazz, alt rock and soul all within the same track. Georgia’s voice is so unique and expressive while the musicianship is always sensitive and complimentary and there seems to be a special chemistry between all members. Closing the EP is All I Need which again highlights the variety of influences and the fascinating changes in tempo and space within, switching from sparse to full and back again. Wonderful musicianship.

Galli

Galli are one of my favourite bands on the local scene and I’ve enjoyed the way they have evolved, there’s nobody else quite like this and whether experiencing them live or now on this magnificent new EP they are always utterly captivating. Immersive, dreamlike, atmospheric, haunting, powerful and beautiful, Galli are special.

Galli

The EP was recorded at The Crunch Studio, recorded and mixed by Mikey Shaw (The Piratones, Solko, Dlore, Dub Cavern) and mastered by Mikey Young. In the Roundhouse There’s Hornets is released on 18 September 2019 and available through Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud and the usual platforms. Cover artwork by Cecily Eno.

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Galli’s next live appearance will be on the Sunday of the Deepdale Festival at the end of the month, also appearing during the weekend are: Morganway, Dove and Boweevil, Das Fenster and the Alibis, Fred’s House, Cobbler Bob String Band, Tilly Moses, Jon Ward, Lucy Grubb, The Wolf Number, Nobodaddy and many more.

 

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Peach Club + Lemondaze + K.M.B. @ Waterfront Studio 27 August 2019

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With the NAC temporarily closed for regeneration I’ve had a dearth of gigs, seeing relatively few over the summer until I headed to a very hot and sweaty Waterfront Studio in late August for Peach Club’s triumphant homecoming gig at the end of their Post Modern Siren tour.  They had strong and impressive support with Norwich’s K.M.B. opening the night in fine style ahead of a powerful set by Lemondaze from Cambridge playing post-punk with elements of shoegaze.

K.M.B.

K.M.B.

Lemondaze

Lemondaze

Lemondaze

Lemondaze

It felt a while since I last saw Peach Club and I was very much looking forward to this. They did not disappoint and danced with the lively and enthusiastic Norwich crowd. Danced quite literally together at times as Katie ran off the stage and became part of the throng at the front. Punk and riot grrrl spirit made for a hugely enjoyable headline slot from Peach Club and they were just what my ears needed on the back of folk festival which as enjoyable as it was it was I felt a bit folked-out and needed some noise of which I got plenty here. It was loud, lively, sweaty and wonderful. Welcome home Peach Club, and another proud night for Annie Catwoman with Sonic Youths‘ alumni on the bill at The Waterfront, albeit under the “difficult” red lighting of the studio.

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

Peach Club

“Peach Club are an activist riot grrrl DIY punk rock band consisting of vocalist Katie Revell, Amanda Mackinnon on bass, Charlie Hart on guitar & Rebecca Wren on drums.

“Beyond the fuzz, what’s most exciting about Peach Club is how every stab of noise feels like a mission statement.” -DIY

“Whip-smart garage punk, beneath the riotous riffs lie some cool-as-hell hooks that can’t fail to draw you in.” -CLASH

Support from Lemondaze + K.M.B”

Big thanks to Peach Club, Lemondaze, K.M.B. and Lee.

More Sonic Youths could be heard on Thursday evening in the city for the last of the season’s Head Out Not Home events, with Lucy Grubb and (the) Red Dear both performing.

lucy grubb

Lucy Grubb and (some of) her band at Head Out Not Home.

Hot Raisin

Hot Raisin at the Stanford on Sunday.

 

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