London Calling + Borrowed Time @ NAC 30 November 2019

The Clash have featured quite a lot for me in various ways of late, which is never a bad thing and they certainly feel as relevant as ever. In the 40th anniversary of the release of London Calling and fresh from the exhibition in London a week or so earlier before the Starcrawler gig I was back yet again at the Arts Centre for Clash tribute band London Calling, with support from Borrowed Time.

Paul Simonon's bass

The bass guitar Paul Simonon is destroying on the London Calling album cover.

Not sure why but I wasn’t expecting the gig to be quite as busy as it turned out to be but it was pretty busy with mainly 50-somethings who were all good-natured, enthusiastic and who knew all the words.

London Calling

First on though were Borrowed Time who’d made the long journey from Gloucestershire and were seemingly more than ready to explode with energy. A sort of hardcore sound reminiscent of the 1982 wave of punk, they had a decent reaction from the crowd and spread a good message.

Borrowed Time

Generally I don’t (or didn’t) tend to do tribute bands but I have to say the ones I have previously seen have all been excellent: The Ramonas, Think Floyd and Lioness all impressed me. Add London Calling to the list.  Coming onstage to an intro tape of Morricone’s “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” giving it a real proper gig feel and the crowd were up for it. The opening words were: “Fuck Boris Johnson!” and they launched straight into album opener London Calling to get a mosh-pit singalong right from the off which slightly surprisingly considering the average age, didn’t let up all night.

London Calling

Some songs worked better than others but most hit the spot, all the faster ones certainly did, and by the time they were doing Clampdown I was won over, one of the set highlights for me but there were plenty of others.  They did warn us they might go off-piste at some point and would that be OK?  It sure was and to the crowd’s obvious delight they couldn’t resist doing so, treating us to tracks from just about all the Clash albums with Tommy Gun, English Civil War, Complete Control et al sending the audience absolutely nuts. At the encore “Mick” asked which we’d like to hear, Stay Free, or Should I Stay or Should I Go? We got both!  By the time they finished with White Riot it looked like they’d given everything. So had the audience. A very enjoyable gig and a treat to hear these songs performed live.

London CallingLondon CallingLondon CallingLondon CallingLondon CallingLondon CallingLondon Calling

London Calling

“AGMP Concerts presents

London Calling UK play THE CLASH

“London Calling” 40th anniversary concert

+ Borrowed Time

The UK’s Premier Tribute to THE CLASH play their 1979 album in full + more.

“Among the very best albums ever recorded” – Q Magazine

The Clash released their acclaimed third album “London Calling” in 1979. The first Punk double album, it reached the Top 10 in the UK Charts and sold over 5 Million copies worldwide. The title song also reached the UK Top 20 and is arguably The Clash’s most famous song. The album was voted sixth-greatest album of all time by the NME and eighth-greatest album by Rolling Stone Magazine.

London Calling, The UK’s premier tribute to The Clash will be paying homage by playing the album in it’s entirety in sequence. They will then go on and play the best of the rest including all the hit singles and more such as “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, “Rock The Casbah”, “I Fought The Law”, “White Man in Hammersmith Palais”, “Complete Control”, “Stay Free” “Clash City Rockers”, “White Riot” and more.”


A few years ago I was very kindly offered an exhibition of my photographs for NS&V at Norwich Arts Centre who somehow knew of my fondness for this album and the artwork and designed this brilliant poster, this week of London Calling reminded me of it.

shashamane poster resize

Norwich Arts Centre’s poster for my exhibition



Norwich: Music City, UK

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The Comet is Coming + Leafcutter John @ NAC 28 November 2019

The Comet is Coming

Probably the hottest ticket in town and a gig which sold out months ago meant that not only was the NAC absolutely packed but there was also a palpable sense of excitement, anticipation and occasion for the visit of The Comet is Coming. A major musical happening in Norwich and a real coup for the Arts Centre. This was a gig that not only brought a lot of styles together onstage but a lot of music fans of different genres too on the floor, a diverse mix and a lot of unfamiliar faces.   It brought the curious and interested as well as those in the know.

Leafcutter John

Leafcutter John

Leafcutter John

Opening was Leafcutter John, known to several I spoke to but not to me. If there was any doubt that this was going to be a gig out of and above the ordinary this opening set would have banished them. Hypnotic, creative and musical this was music literally made with light. He said the songs were actually inspired by north Norfolk coastal walks and armed with a laptop, what appeared to be bike lights and a circuit board of sorts covered with light sensors, he created something which was hypnotic and captivating, especially with the camera projecting it all onto a screen above.  In a cycling equivalent of a Lesser Free Trade Hall-type moment of inspiration my bicycle lights have disappeared off and already formed a new band. The Dynamos.

Comet is Coming

The Comet is Coming were well known to many in the audience but this was my first experience of them too. Everyone poured out of the bar as soon as the bell announced five minutes til stage time and so began over an hour and a half of stunningly varied music, taking in jazz, rave, rock, psych, kraut and all manner of other things which somehow all fitted together to keep the spell throughout. A great atmosphere in the crowd and the sound was magnificent. Everyone left with a smile on their face after one of those memorable gigs which clearly meant a lot to a great many people in the audience. As enjoyable as it all was though towards the end I did feel in some way at capacity and retreated to the bar where I saw a few friends who had actually done exactly the same. It wasn’t that anybody disliked the gig, they had big smiles as they left the hall and as someone said: “I’ve had all I need. In a good way. It’s fantastic!”, it was just there was a sated feeling, or in my case a sensory overload and the need to escape for a while. It was that sort of night where one could dip in and out of the music as the musical onslaught could feel overwhelming at times. There was actually a spiritual quality to it all and highly appropriate that it took places in this much-loved old church.

The Comet is Coming

The Comet is Coming

“The Comet is Coming is the soundtrack to an imagined apocalypse. In the aftermath of widespread sonic destruction what sounds remain? Who will lead the survivors to new sound worlds? Who will chart the new frontier? In a warehouse somewhere in London 2013 a meeting would take place between three musical cosmonauts. They would pool their energies to build a vessel powerful enough to transport any party into outer space. Together they chart a path based on the encoded language of Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and the BBC Radiophonic Workshops from which the band’s name emerged. It is after the end of the world, the stage is a spacecraft, the mic is an accelerator. brace yourself for The Comet is Coming.”

King Shabaka saxophone
Danalogue The Conqueror keyboards
Betamax Killer drums




Norwich: Music City, UK

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Tav Falco’s Panther Burns + Beast With a Gun @ NAC 27 November 2019

The way gigs come along sometimes meant I hadn’t been to NAC in what felt like quite a while but things panned out this week in such a way that this was my first visit of three to this wonderful venue within four days. I was introduced to the music of Tav Falco’s Panther Burns when I was lent an album in the early 1980s but never thought I’d get the chance for the live experience until a Red Rooster appearance a few years ago and to my knowledge this was the first Norwich gig.

Tav Falco's Panther Burns

Beast With a Gun were very excited to have this support slot and told of an epic hitch-hiking journey to see Tav Falco way back and how lucky we were to have this gig in the city of Norwich.

Beast With a Gun

Beast With a Gun

Due to some road closures on the A11 Tav Falco’s Panther Burns also endured a bit of an epic journey and had only recently arrived when I got to the venue and they were quickly soundchecking as the bar started to fill up. Things still ran pretty much to schedule though and the wonderful Beast With a Gun kicked things off at about 8:20pm throwing in one or two new ones including a cover. Always a great experience hearing this band and they sounded immense.

Beast With a GunBeast With a Gun

Beast With a Gun

There was also some Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll taking place at the LCR on the same night for the visit of Primal Scream (a band very much inspired by Tav Falco: Bobby Gillespie, “Tav has long been a hero/inspiration to Primal Scream. A true master of rock and roll and a cultural ditch digger on the same level as the Cramps. Thanks for all the great music, Tav.”) but we had our own pretty generous helping of rock ‘n’ roll too at the NAC, albeit the crowd size may have suffered a bit from the unfortunate gig-clash.  The set opened with the instrumental Apache before the charismatic Tav Falco drew us all closer to the stage.  Looking dapper, sprightly and a nimble mover, appearing a good twenty years younger than his apparent 74 years of age and for a good ninety minutes or so we were treated to some great music. I’m fairly confident this was the only gig in the city featuring Chinese Rocks seguing into the Hawaii Five-O theme! If they were in any way fazed by the difficult journey they didn’t show it and put in a strong set which earned them two encores.

Tav Falco's Panther BurnsTav Falco's Panther BurnsTav Falco's Panther Burns


Tav Falco's Panther Burns

Tav Falco's Panther Burns

Raised in rural Arkansas, Tav Falco embarked on his long and distinguished musical career upon arriving in Memphis in the mid-1970s. Teaming up with local music legend Alex Chilton (The Box Tops/Big Star) in 1978, the duo formed the long-running and still active band Tav Falco’s Panther Burns. Panther Burns thrived on the early 1980s music circuit and were a popular draw at such storied NYC clubs as The Peppermint Lounge and Danceteria. Despite Chilton’s exit from the live lineup in 1984, Panther Burns carried on and the band’s current discography includes ten studio LPs and numerous EPs, live albums, and compilations.

Artists who have cited Panther Burns as an influence include the American alternative music acts Southern Culture on the Skids, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jack Oblivian, and The Gories. In Europe, neo-psychedelic groups who have referenced Panther Burns include England’s Spacemen 3; Germany’s Cuban Rebel Girls (named after one of Falco’s original songs); France’s The Dum Dum Boys; Italy’s Time Machine; and Scotland’s Primal Scream. Says Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie, “Tav has long been a hero/inspiration to Primal Scream. A true master of rock and roll and a cultural ditch digger on the same level as the Cramps. Thanks for all the great music, Tav.”

Equal parts primal rock ’n’ roll, hill country blues & avant-garde art, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns aren’t just music, but a state of mind.

Falco’s current album, Cabaret of Daggers, was released to fervent reviews in November 2018. Recorded in Rome, Falco is joined on Cabaret of Daggers by the latest incarnation of Panther Burns: musical director/producer/guitarist Mario Monterosso (Dale Watson, Red Mount Trio), pianist Francesco D’Agnolo, bassist Giuseppe Sangirardi and drummer Riccardo Colasante.

Tav Falco’s Panther Burns will be on tour throughout 2019.




Norwich: Music City, UK

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Red Rooster Festival 2020 first wave of acts announced

As we approach the darkest days of winter Red Rooster have announced their first wave of acts for the Red Rooster Festival 2020 to get us looking forward to drier, brighter days in their beautiful grounds and the fantastic music they always bring us. Next year’s headliner is none other than Richard Hawley. The line-up is already taking shape nicely. Tickets can be bought here.

Red Rooster festival is delighted to announce the first line-up for its 7th edition, 2020. The 3-day event takes place in the beautiful parkland and woods of Euston Hall, Suffolk, from May 28 –30.


Richard Hawley is set to headline Red Rooster 2020 with North Mississippi Allstars, Luther Dickinson, The Sheepdogs, Nicole Atkins, Jim Lauderdale, MFC Chicken, Sister Suzie & the Right Band and Mudlow also announced. Many more artists will be confirmed in the new year.


2019 has been a landmark year for Richard with his ninth studio album, Further, blasting into the UK album charts at No.3 in the same year he celebrates his twentieth anniversary as a solo artist, something that he views with his customary sense of bluff realism.

“I suppose twenty years is quite a long time in this business but, to be honest, even after all this time, I’m still a searcher. I’m still genuinely searching for things, in music and in life. I can’t tell you exactly what I’m looking for, or where I’m actually going but when I get there, I’ll probably send you a text,” he says, wryly.

In the two decades that have elapsed since Hawley jettisoned band life, first with The Longpigs and then as Pulp’s guitarist, the 52-year-old songwriter has forged one of the most singular and diverse careers in modern music.

His ability to cut across styles, time and, in some instances, place, is down to Hawley’s deep and intuitive understanding of music itself, his grounding stemming back to his childhood when his father, a musician himself, introduced Richard to country, blues and rock’n’roll.

Talk to him about his blues heroes, and he is likely to list Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup (“the master!”) and Freddie King as personal favourites. At heart, though, Hawley remains in love with rock’n’roll in its purest form and he sports the quiff to prove it. “People often ask me why I still have a quiff. I always tell them it’s because I still can,” he deadpans.

Off My Head –

The Grammy nominated North Mississippi Allstars are Mississippi Royalty – The sons of legendary producer Jim Dickinson, Luther & Cody learnt their craft with the crème de la crème of North Mississippi Hill Music musicians including Otha Turner, Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside. The Allstars new album, “Up & Rolling” captures this history while looking to the future with the brothers playing with Cedric Burnside the grandson on RL and Sharde Thomas the grandaughter of Otha Tuener plus Jason Isbell, Mavis Staple and Duane Betts. Luther will also play a special solo set on The Little Red Rooster stage.

Up & Rolling –

Hurry Up Sunrise –

The Sheepdogs headline the mainstage on Thursday night and will blow the roof with the twin lead guitar attack of their contemporary take on good time Southern boogie in the vein of CCR and The Alman Brothers. But instead of originating from Alabama the 5-piece hail from Saskatoon in Canada – Expect Euston Hall to be jumpin’ on Thursday night !

Nobody –

Nicole Atkins was the de facto Queen of Ashbury Park, , New Jersey then married and relocated to Nashville. Nicole’s voice had always recalled a classic vinyl collection. She is the heir to the legacy of “Roy Orbison, Lee Hazelwood, Sinatra, Aretha, Carole King, Candi Staton.” She is untethered to decade or movement or the whim of the hipster elite.

A Little Crazy –

Jim Lauderdale is a 2-time Grammy winning Americana icon, a singer-songwriter whose unmistakable rhinestone-incrusted silhouette has been a symbol for creative integrity and prolificacy for thirty-two albums over decades of recording. He’s an A-list Nashville songwriter whose songs have ruled the country charts while recording an eclectic catalogue of albums that run the gamut of American roots styles, all brought together on his new album ‘From Another World’

Listen –

Red Rooster also welcomes the sax driven rock and roll of MFC Chicken, the explosive high energy of Sister Suzie, the non-stopgrind-a-go-go of The Fuzillis and the Brighton sleaze of Mudlow.

Red Rooster tickets are on sale now priced £69.50 + booking fee for the whole weekend, which includes 3 nights of camping and parking FREE. Kids under 12 are free as always

Announced billing order is now as follows:

Richard Hawley

North Mississippi Allstars

The Sheepdogs

Nicole Atkins

Jim Lauderdale

MFC Chicken

Sister Suzie

The Fuzillis



“An unrivalled atmosphere”- The Telegraph

“The go-to early summer event for those who wish to immerse themselves in a truly Deep South weekend experience of music, food and culture.” – Daily Mirror

“A truly unique event” – ITV News

“One of England’s most buzzed about music festivals” – Vanity Fair

Red Rooster celebrates the very best in Cajun, Soul, Rock ‘n Roll, Roots, Blues and Country music. Now coming up to its 7th edition, it is the go-to early summer event for those who wish to immerse themselves in a truly Deep South weekend experience of music, food and culture. Located in the beautiful surrounding park and secluded woodlands of Euston Hall in Suffolk, Red Rooster it evokes an authentic, laid back, free and easy atmosphere, where children can freely run around vast corn fields, where friends can enjoy lip-smacking authentic ribs and soul food by a campfire whilst being serenaded under the stars. All congregate to get down and dirty to the raucous and heartfelt music radiating from the woodland’s main stage. The party crowd continues to dance the night away to the jumpin’ hot dj selection at the Howlin’ Woods venue and bar down by the lake.



Norwich: Music City, UK

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Starcrawler + Pretty Sick + Glossii @ The Underworld, Camden 21 November 2019

Just over two years ago, in November 2017, after a short trip and very slow journey back from France I arrived back home tired and sleepless just a few hours before heading out again to one of the best and most exciting gigs I have ever experienced, that legendary first Norwich gig by LA’s Starcrawler in Bedfords Crypt.  At that time they had just the one single (Ants) and no merch at all but since then I have seen them a further two times in Norwich, they have released two albums and several singles. This was my third time seeing them in London having also seen them at OMEARA and Tufnell Park Dome.


Some bands are just worth making the extra effort for, albeit with the added expense and trouble of an away day gig but for me personally, Starcrawler are definitely one of them. Arriving in London just after lunchtime I made the short walk to The Museum of London for the London Calling exhibition, celebrating and commemorating that seminal album by The Clash forty years after its release.  Among the exhibits were many Pennie Smith photos, lots of artefects, Clash clothing, gear, Joe Strummer‘s typewriter and Paul Simonon‘s smashed Fender Precision bass which was captured at the moment of its destruction in frustration at New York’s Palladium in 1979 by Pennie Smith and used as the iconic cover photo for London Calling. The exhibition is well worth a visit.

Paul Simonon's bass

camden town

After this I made my way to Camden and some familiar haunts ahead of the gig at The Underworld, my first visit to this venue and I was impressed.  Great sightlines, atmosphere and staff, drinks a tad pricey though.  First band on were London’s Glossii an entirely unknown quantity to me ahead of the gig but terrific fun with lots of energy. At the time they put me in mind a bit of Penetration, The Au Pairs and a few others though subsequent views of their YouTube videos obviously has a much less raw sound but this was what I felt at the time of their enjoyable set and I’ll be looking out for them.


Next was Pretty Sick, a band from New York led by Sabrina Fuentes on bass and vocals. They too got the audience completely on-side with them with their grungey riot grrrl vibe and guest dancers.

Pretty UglyPretty UglyPretty Ugly

With everyone thoroughly in the mood at about 9:30pm Starcrawler took to the stage to much enthusiasm from the welcoming and excited audience.  That first Crypt gig was just over thirty minutes or so in length but Starcrawler have a lot of new material since then and played for a good 75 minutes or so with the energy levels not letting up for a second.


As much as I love the songs on that first album I couldn’t quite get over the feeling that the overall sound of the recordings quite did not completely do them justice, at least to those who have experienced their exhilarating live gigs. I wondered if any recording really could. Now, however, they have some of that mighty live spirit and energy captured expertly by the brilliant production from Nick Launay (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, L7, Yeah Yeah Yeahs et al.) on their latest album Devour You. A fine album which not only has the sound we have been craving but also an impressive diversity of songs with even something of a country twang on the excellent No More Pennies (look out for some Norwich footage in the accompanying video).  A number of standout tracks on this album (Rich Taste, She Gets Around, Lizzy, Born Asleep, No More Pennies, Bet My Brains) which should increase their exposure and reputation even further, the recordings are big and the Starcrawler beast unleashed. They deserve it for bringing so much excitement back into music, I forget everything else when they are onstage delivering their loud, compelling punk and rock energy. They are growing and developing and are extremely tight from their relentless touring schedule. It’s incredible that I’ve seen this band, from LA, six times in two years.


Unfortunately, just as the set was ending I had to make a sharp exit to the tube station to be back in time for the last train back to Norwich from Liverpool Street (I made it with an unusually comfortable ten minutes to spare), and was therefore unable to get anything signed afterwards but did buy my merch before the gig started, there’s plenty on the table these days with albums, t-shirts, badges, jackets and even a rosary.  As it turned out they were doing a Rough Trade signing the following lunchtime but I couldn’t really afford or justify a second expensive trip back to London again on consecutive days but it shows how much I love Starcrawler that I gave it very serious consideration.



Here’s hoping they will be back in the country next year with hopefully another Norwich date too, they’re one of the best and most exciting live rock ‘n’ roll bands around at the moment, as well as one of the most hardworking. Thank you Arrow, Henri, Tim and Austin for making me feel so young when watching and listening to you. The whole crowd clearly felt the same with young and old moshing together throughout. It was pretty cool to see a couple of other Norwich-ers there too!


rockfeedback proudly present:
Starcrawler – A truly original young band from the city of Los Angeles. Led by their nineteen year old frontwoman Arrow de Wilde, their take on dark and heavy rock & roll both recorded and through their chaotic live shows, brings such music into the 21st century as an almost transgressive form of pop.Doors – 19:30 // Price – £15.00 adv.8:00pm – Glossii
8:45pm – Pretty Sick
9:30pm – Starcrawler


Starcrawler are all LA natives and met in high school. Their self-titled LP was released one year ago in January by Rough Trade Records to rave reviews. Since then, they’ve toured non-stop all over the world, including triumphant sets at Primavera, Rock Am Ring, Download Festival, Voodoo Festival, Fuji Rock, Reading, Leeds and more. In March, they won the 2018 SXSW Grulke prize for best US act after blowing minds at each of their nine shows. They were VEVO DSCVR artists with video testimonial from Shirley Manson who said “I feel like Starcrawler, and in particular Arrow, are really challenging the norms in which women are seen in music.” The amount of support they have received from their fellow artists has been overwhelming. They opened shows for the Foo Fighters at Olympic Park in London, and toured with The Distillers and MC5.




Norwich: Music City, UK

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The Turf Club Racebook + Hot Raisin + Rory Hill @ The Reindeer, Yve Mary B @ Frank’s Bar 17 November 2019

My first gig in a little while (due to putting my back out) was the first Tilting Sky at The Reindeer, Craig putting a really strong line-up together for the launch of The Turf Club Racebook’s much-anticipated album, produced by Chris Turpin and recorded at The Forge.  Opening the Sunday afternoon gig was Craig’s son Rory Hill playing an impressive set which immediately silenced any post-roast chatter and captured the attention of all with just his vocals and guitar. Expressive storytelling somewhat in the style of Townes Van Zandt and he did in fact do a Townes cover, my first of three that I would hear over the course of the day’s gigs and his only cover among a set or strong originals. He explained that many were inspired by his wife but material is changing, including songs about the imminent arrival of their first child.  It had been a while since I heard Rory perform, too long, and I enjoyed his set very much.

Rory Hill

The middle slot of the bill was filled by the ever delightful Hot Raisin, again in their familiar trio incarnation they delighted the audience with a well-chosen set list which included Captain, Whiskey Ginger, Later, Feel and many other favourites but I’m always intrigued with music by familiar acts how it can be different songs that shine at different gigs. At this one, for me, it was definitely Midnight Gremlins where they all seemed to hit a particular groove and were really a unit gliding along. My set highlight from one of my favourite and most-seen bands and friends.

Hot Raisin

I’ve seen The Turf Club Racebook a great many times over the years too, from Graham’s early solo gigs to the current six-piece format that includes Mary, Tory and Luke from Hot Raisin, Jess on violin and Chase on double bass. Graham is one of the most modest people I know so it was pleasing to have TCRB headlining their own launch gig for Tilting Sky fresh off the back of an appearance with interview and live session for BBC Introducing in Norfolk, and I am pleased to now be able to listen at home to some favourites that have become familiar through these live gigs such as Well, Yeah and A Wondrous Thing, to name just two. The album can be heard on Spotify but do get yourself a CD if you are lucky enough to see them play live.

The Turf Club Racebook

Big thanks to Tilting Craig and The Reindeer for putting this on, I look forward to future collarborations, this felt like a big success and I certainly had a great time.

The Turf Club Racebook

The Turf Club Racebook

Following this gig I headed over to Frank’s Bar, once again to catch Yve Mary B who I saw there for a beautiful gig at the end of Wild Paths last month. It was Yve who played a couple more Townes Van Zandt songs with both If I Needed You and White Freight Liner. She was already well into her set when I got there but I still heard her play for another beautiful couple of hours or more and she was still playing when I left a little after 10pm to catch the end of Peter T‘s Sunday Social at Platform Twelve! Having made it out of the house for the first time in over a week I was filling my boots with three Sunday gigs.

Yve Mary B

Sunday Social at Platform Twelve


The Tilting Sky presents..

The Turf Club Racebook Album Launch Party, live at The Reindeer, Dereham Road, Norwich.

//with support from Hot Raisin and Rory Hill.


The Turf Club Racebook, a 6 piece folk-americana band from Norwich, are ecstatic to finally announce the launch of their eponymous debut album. Albums will be available on the day at a discounted price.

Support from local legends Hot Raisin, a trio who specialise in beautiful melodies, and brilliant singer songwriter Rory Hill, whose great lyrics will capture you immediately. Music starts at 4pm and finishes about 7pm

Why not arrive early for a roast? Booking advisable, but well worth it.

See you there!


Sunday Social at Platform Twelve


Norwich: Music City, UK

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Posted in Hot Raisin, live music and dance, rory hill, tilting sky, Turfclub Racebook, Yve Mary B | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worry Dolls + Robert Vincent @ OPEN 7 November 2019

Their autumn tour brought a welcome return to Norwich for Worry Dolls. I’ve seen them a number of times, supporting Morganway in the same OPEN venue, a storming set at Red Rooster last year, and another great set supporting Lera Lynn at OMEARA last December.

worry dolls

Opening in impressive style though was singer and guitarist Robert Vincent with fine accompaniment on upright bass.  He’s an engaging storyteller, giving us background stories to the songs as well as his nightmare journey from Liverpool, mainly in Norwich itself due to the excessive amount of roadworks all taking place at the same time, as I myself found on my cycle journey with Earlham Road now completely closed.  He told us too of his time in the legendary Rockfield Studios working with Ethan Johns. His sound is warm and rich and sounded excellent in the OPEN club room and he has an excellent voice which grabbed my attention. A voice which at times brought to mind Roy Orbison. Yes, that good!

Robert Vincent

For whatever reason (those roadworks?) there was a disappointing turnout for this gig and some seats were out, I don’t know if that contributed to the polite but quiet and slightly self-conscious audience. They were however respectful and appreciative but it’s a shame there were not more of us. It was a cold, damp evening though with about sixteen other gigs taking place around the city.

Worry Dolls are Zoe on vocals, banjo and piano with Rosie on vocals, guitars and stomp box (in the absence of their drummer), they play a blend of their beloved Americana with hints of Irish folk, deliverying beautiful, atmospheric harmonies in stories at times melancholic but also with some bite on songs such a Bless Your Heart, a phrase which is not exactly a compliment in the U.S. They also gave the background to writing a song around the title, using the magical fireflies of Nashville as an inspiration for Firefly.  Both Zoe and Rosie delivered a song each on their own, revealing different aspects of their sound and their respective identities

Worry Dolls

I do hope they will be back in the city, it’s always a treat to catch Worry Dolls, hopefully we can give them the bigger audience they deserve next time. However, it was to their great credit (as with Robert Vincent) that they happily played as if there were four times as many people there which made for a most enjoyable evening for all present.  On their previous visit to Norwich I bought the Worry Dolls’ album on vinyl so this time I picked up their 2015 EP Burden, and brand new EP The River. Highly recommended for fans of Hope in High Water, another duo well known to us in Norwich and who they have in fact shared bills with recently, and even Ida Mae.

Worry DollsWorry Dolls

“Worry Dolls are a compelling duo born out of the joint talents of multi-instrumentalists Zoe Nicol and Rosie Jones. Serendipity brought them together at an open mic night when they were 18, both studying music in Liverpool. Both redheads with guitars, on their chosen path of becoming solo singer songwriters, and both falling under the spell of ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’. Paired by their teachers for an opportunity to have their songwriting critiqued by Paul McCartney, they were inspired to start co-writing, and could now be described as an almost telepathically linked songwriting force.​ ​

T​hey set off​ from University​ together​,​ making music as Worry Dolls. It was a new sound, blending the tender urgency of Zoe’s Irish-influenced voice with the fiery integrity of Rosie’s vocals and rhythmic guitar. Zoe transferred her fingerpicking skills to ukulele, followed by Earl Scruggs-style banjo, motivated by players like Emily Robison (Dixie Chicks).​ These days playing piano has been added to the live performances and Worry Dolls frequently perform with a band.​ They have also started touring in Europe spreading the special blend of UK Americana folk rock.

The duo signed to Bread & Butter, who released their debut LP, Go Get Gone, ​2017. A ‘Song of the Year’ nomination lead to them performing at London’s historic Hackney Empire with Ethan Johns at the UK Americana Awards earlier this year, alongside Robert Plant and Mumford and Sons. The duo will flying back to Nashville to showcase at AmericanaFest this September​ in support of their album release Stateside this summer 2018. “​


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