Marty O’Reilly + Hot Raisin @ Grapevine at The Guildhall 12 January 2019

marty o'reilly

Marty O’Reilly (c) shashamane

Having been putting on Grapevine nights for over 10 years this incredible gig was the final one in this particular chapter for Steve and Jan – and of course soundman Dickie – at the historic Guildhall which Grapevine has called home for about two and half years (it was previously held at Bedfords).  It sadly seems that, for whatever reasons, Grapevine nights do not figure in the future plans of the Guildhall and I find that decision extremely surprising, perhaps on reflection those decision-makers will question that too after the triumphant nature of this tremendous night. They may regret letting such an established, successful and much-respected music night slip through their fingers like this. Anyway, after a few weeks with barely any gig activity I was exhausted with a third in three days but with the excitement of looking forward to seeing a couple of favourites with a bill of Marty O’Reilly, plus Hot Raisin, who I also saw the previous night at Jurnet’s.

hot raisin

Being a former courtroom of course, it was not without its trials and tribulations.  Mid afternoon Marty put out a distress call on social media as the transport had broken down in the east Midlands on the way from Durham to Norwich.  There were real concerns about making it to Norwich in time for the gig but the legend that is James of Blue House Music sorted out a taxi at considerable expense to get Marty to the gig on time.  I very much admire the sheer determination on their part to ensure the gig went ahead. As it turned out Marty walked through the door with his guitar just moments after I arrived just after 7:30pm.

hot raisin

During soundchecks for Marty and Hot Raisin it quickly became clear there was a technical issue with the PA too and for the Raisins it meant the set had to be played pretty much acoustically and unplugged with just a guitar amp or two but they didn’t care and if they didn’t why should we?  In fact it gave an even greater insight into every subtle aspect each of them brings to Hot Raisin and they were all superb. What a great and positive attitude they have. No wonder I always feel better for seeing, it’s why I call them my anti-depressants. In fact it all worked out rather well and was a nice way to enjoy the tender side of the songs and the beautiful vocals from Tory with lovely harmonies and backing from Luke, not to mention Mary’s superb guitar and the gorgeous addition of Jess’ violin.  As ever they played with smiles aplenty, drinking toasts, generous praise and ‘happy birthday’ renditions for Steve. Nobody cared about the PA gremlins and Hot Raisin delighted us all with the likes of Captain, Whiskey Ginger and their own gremlins, the Midnight Gremlins of insomnia. Hot Raisin clearly enjoyed themselves as much as I and everyone else did.

hot raisin

hot raisin

hot raisinhot raisin

For the second night in a row the packed audience screamed out for an encore and on this occasion, happily, there was enough time for this to be granted. I love this band and I’m not alone, I was stood next to Marty who was clearly impressed.  When I turned around again I had a tall surprise when I saw the giant figure and presence of Tony Brook also stood near me and offering his hand for a handshake with a big smile on his face.  He’s on his annual visit from Alabama and Yve was positively beaming too. I look forward to seeing them play in Norwich soon.

yve and tony

By a stroke of great fortune another local legend and sound tech dynamo was in the audience and Chad Mason disappeared to get something to save the day with the PA, perhaps helped by an unexpected request from Steve for us all to switch our phones to airplane mode to free up some wifi bandwidth!  It worked though and full PA power was restored for Marty’s set.

marty o'reillymarty o'reilly

marty o'reilly

Marty has visited Norwich many times and is good friends with those other Californians we love so much, the Rainbow Girls.  He told us stories of how some years ago they joked around using St. John’s Ambulence stretchers to carry Rainbow Girl Savannah around the Maverick Festival site during the strains of St. James’ Infirmary, which he also played here.  Also playing Maverick that year were The Vagaband who spotting something special invited the Rainbow Girls up to Norwich afterwards to play the Bo Nanafana stage during Lord Mayor’s Weekend. Alas it was not possible to get here in time but the Ten Bells stepped in to save the day and hosted one of my favourite gigs of all time. The rest is history and the Girls have a fantastic rapport with the city. The following year they played a much bigger stage, the Norwich Arts Centre, along with The Vagaband and Blue House Music pals Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra.  Marty and the boys played an astonishing set that included an amazing version of Smokestack Lightnin’ and spoke later of how he now totally understood why Rainbow Girls loved this city so much. He’s been back every year since to play equally incredible sets on the main stage but also some encores in the NAC bar that have gone down in Norwich musical folklore.  His solo sets are just as intense and inclusive though as we learned when he played the intimate Bicycle Shop handlebar on his previous solo tour a couple of years back.  This was to be about my 9th or 10th time seeing him which tells you how good these live shows always are.

marty o'reilly

marty o'reilly

Marty quickly gets in the zone playing with a striking passion and intensity, it’s almost like watching someone musically possessed for the duration of the songs and it is simply captivating as a gig experience. The style is of blues, gospel folk played with a lot of soul on that now familiar resonator guitar. Between songs he is engaging, witty, charming and down to earth. He had us all in the palm of his hands, telling us of the backgrounds of the songs, his tour challenges on the road, the music of Jolie Holland, and in spectacular style the Sister Rosetta Tharpe classic Up Above My Head, which we’ve seen him do in the Arts Centre but this time he invited Hot Raisin to join him in the middle of the Guildhall where they sat on the floor playing guitars and violin and he stood in the middle of us all, with everyone clapping and singing along. It was hearwarming and life-affirming stuff. The set closed with one of my favourites, Cold Canary Gaslight. Earlier, Marty invited requests and if I weren’t so shy I’d have called for this one!

marty o'reilly

marty o'reilly

Marty’s UK tour continues tonight in Coggeshall before dates in Brighton on Monday (The Greys), Southampton on Tuesday (Piecaramba), and concluding in London on Thursday 17th at Monto Water Rats Theatre before carrying on in the US and Canada.

marty o'reilly

What a show for Steve and Jan’s Grapevine to leave the Guildhall on, and on his 65th birthday too. A visibly moved Steve was given a rousing Happy Birthday by the whole of the sold out crowd. And it certainly did feel a sellout crowd, it was rammed and quite a challenge to get photos with the lens I’d brought with me.  So busy was it that the Guildhall sold out of all its ales. I know we like our Ghost Ship but it’s incredible that they should have been so caught out by the demand on a gig that sold out well in advance of the night. Someone made a boo-boo there I think.  That didn’t really matter though, it was all about the music and a birthday send off for Steve, it couldn’t have left in finer style and was all the sweeter for overcoming all the challenges of the day which must have been extremely stressful. Maybe everyone just needed more beers after that but the night was a great success. Music and togetherness wins and saves the day again.

marty o'reilly

Hopefully a venue will “get” what Grapevine is all about and perhaps offer to host Steve’s nights somewhere that sits right and he will get the deserved support for his unique nights of folk which sometimes delight with a few surprises too but always with Steve’s personal stamp of approval and quality control.  Steve and Jan are music fans who have the utmost regard and respect for the musicians and the audience so aim to provide a setting where an attentive audience can enjoy the music in a respectful setting and atmosphere which obviously makes it all the more enjoyable for the artists too. Now he just needs to find somewhere where the owners understand and buy into all of that and who place the same value on music as well as the people these nights bring through the door. There’s a clear audience for nights like this, with carefully tailored line-ups and consideration for the performers and the audience, as evidenced by the packed crowd on the night, despite the usual Norwich gig-clashes. Even the friendly Guildhall bar staff, during quiet moments at the bar (when the beer had all been sold) were as rapt by the music as we were and applauded as much as did. It was lovely to see that. The amount of work Steve, Jan and Dickie put into these events is obvious, even down to the attention to detail with the lighting and musical items placed around the stage area. They are all, first and foremost, passionate music fans and they don’t do this for profit, all takings go to those taking part on the night. They deserve our respect and any venue that lands them will be very lucky indeed.  This was a night of great music and also a celebration and acknowledgement for what Grapevine has given Norwich for over ten years, a fact reinforced by the number of local musicians in attendance too. As for the music, it was excellent. Hot Raisin delighted us as they always do, and Marty O’Reilly provided exactly the right kind of New Year blues. Happy birthday Steve. Enjoy a well-earned break.

steve at grapevine


Just when you think American roots music should be relegated to the dusty confines of a purist’s museum it will surprise you with a paradigm shift. Take Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra— passing through tradition, stumbling upon innovation, proving that old souls can be creatively fresh.

The Santa Cruz, California-based artist’s latest, Stereoscope, marks an evolutionary leap in a journey of artistic identity and song-writing maturity. Here, Marty homes in on his signature cosmic roots aesthetic, brimming with cinematic songcraft, impressionistic lyrics, clever arrangements, telepathic ensemble interplay, and soulfully world-weary vocals. Imagine the delta blues reprised by psychedelic indie rockers.

Stereoscope is no doubt a milestone entry for Marty O’Reilly, offering forth his most assured and mature release to date. “We put our heart and soul into this album,” shares Marty. “It’s the album I’ve always wanted to make— one that ten years later I can still be proud of. Making it has made me feel whole, and brought me a lot of joy.”

Marty O’Reilly first played solo as a young college kid back when he was starting at the University of Santa Cruz. He sat in on open mic nights, tipped pints at the bar and engaged his new community.

These days he’s normally the front man for Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra, but this is just the guy, his harmonica and guitar, playing songs he wrote or just songs he loves to play.

Sometimes it is hard to separate a band guy from his band and have the music translate on a similar level. Not with Marty O’Reilly.

Marty’s a powerhouse player and an even stronger singer. And while it is nearly impossible to classify the sound of The Old Soul Orchestra as a band, it is fair to say that a Marty solo show will find its legs rooted in Blues and Gospel, drawing heavily on the roots of what makes American music great.

O’Reilly plays with the conviction of a veteran Chicago blues man that belies his Sonoma County roots. He plays straight ahead and aggressively, weaving songs into medleys with such skill that the listener might not know when one song ends and the next begins. His guitar attack is fierce, he beats strings with rapid strums and furious note runs. He sways and convulses, throwing his whole body into the music, his head thrown back and mouth agape as he bridges verses. The song can swing wildly and he can end abruptly leaving sonic ellipses on the last line.

These solo nights beg exploration of every nook and cranny of the songs. This is not to say Marty goes down some jam band rabbit hole, he just . . . explores. The audience come to expect the departure; they are accepting of the journey and willing to go along lyrically and musically. This is what makes these gigs so special.


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 30 hours of local music on Spotify:

Posted in Grapevine at Bedfords, Hot Raisin, live music and dance, Marty O'Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra, Tony Brook, Yve Mary B | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Music House Acoustic-ish Session: Diamond Dave & the Mallards + Hot Raisin + Alexander Carson @ Jurnet’s Bar 11 January 2019

andrew taylor


The Music House Acoustic-ish Sessions at Jurnet’s Bar are always special but this one was even more so as a packed house came along to enjoy the music but also to honor Andrew Taylor who was curating his last Acoustic-ish Session after 11 years.  One of those he invited to also curate back then was an at the time teenage Alex Carson, who has also become a legendary figure on the music scene in Norwich through his nights not only at Jurnets but also at the Bare Feet Records showcase nights at The Birdcage, The Plasterers, and Gonzo’s, plus of course his band Wooden Arms.  So it seemed fitting that he was the first one introduced by Andrew to start off the music here on Friday night.  It was a highly impressive performance from Alex at the piano but more was to come when he went over to the Jurnet’s piano and with fellow Wooden Arms Jeff and Jess had something of a band reunion with a beautiful rendition of False Start.


andrew taylor

alex carson

jurnets bar

Jurnet’s was absolutely rammed once again, there was even a small dog and a giant panda present and there was only just time to queue for and return with a drink before Hot Raisin‘s set.  The sound was superb as Mary, Tory and Luke were also joined by Jess on violin and the even rarer sight of Mary having a mic stand in front of her! Always a treat to see the Raisins and they went down a storm with many begging for one more tune but time was tight ahead of the final set of the evening.

andrew taylor

hot raisin


Diamond Dave and the Mallards feature a host of familiar faces and brilliant musicians and Andy Kirkham was in Eastern European mood and played a fun set to much appreciation. He’s a well known figure in the musical community and a highly regarded guitarist. He also plays in Classical and African styles.

As Andrew said at the beginning of the night: “Turn off your phones, don’t talk during the sets ‘cos that’s when the magic happens” and with these musical choices that is most certainly always the case here. Big thanks to the bands and all at Jurnet’s, and massive respect to Andrew Taylor.

diamond dave and the mallardsdiamond dave and the mallards


andrew taylor



Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 30 hours of local music on Spotify:



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Shane’s Shenanigans @ The Reindeer: VEEG + Bag of Cans + The Wash + Joe Quinn 10 January 2019

In 2018 I attended 213 gigs/festivals, seeing 276 different bands/artists and 438 sets in all but I had only been to one gig since Midwinter Moonshine, which also happened to be a Shane night at the Reindeer. So 2019’s tally kicked off at The Reindeer on Thursday with the legendary Shane O’Linski‘s brilliant “Shane’s Musical Shenanigans” night. This bill featured a solo set from Joe Quinn, The Wash, Bag of Cans, and a debut performance of VEEG, being Lewis of Mssr. Mortimer. The billed Monkiboy was unable to play on this occasion.

bag of cans

joe quinn

Joe Quinn played a lovely set, hood up and back to the audience there was a good vibe to it all. Dave in The Wash also had his back to us but probably because it was such an improvised set he was facing the rhythm section. As there were two drum kits and Stacy was here Shane suggested he jam along. Oskari on bass was also improvising but it all worked wonderfully well and was atmospheric and hypnotic, Shane playing keys behind the speakers. Some of this reminded me a bit of The Cure’s Carnage Visors soundtrack but the final song felt like a krautrock epic, fantastic stuff.

The Wash






Third set was about the first time we saw anyone’s face and it was the deliciously bonkers fun of Bag of Cans, who also celebrating guitarist George’s birthday, which meant there was some impromptu messy cake eating onstage.  They are so much fun, are tight and play with a spirit that reminds me so much of Serious Drinking back in the day (especially Antboy) though there are also funky moments and others that sound like a punky Blur.  The large crowd were going nuts for it all too.

bag of cansbag of cansbag of cansbag of cans










It wasn’t over yet though as Lewis had a precisely timed 14 minute set to close with, premiering his new venture as VEEG which was quite unlike anything I think I have ever heard before!



“There will be a host of awe-inspiring musical talent on display for all to hear and enjoy, come along and fill your boots with pure talent on a stick…

Joe Quinn, aka The Quinnstar Extraordinaire will be performing, here’s a link to his bandcamp page for a little taster of what he’s up to… hope you enjoy it to the moon and back much like I do…

The Wash, noise merchants and eloquence on a stick will be performing their heart out to all and sundry with an eloquence that knows no bounds…

Monkiboy, an experimental set I hope that I lack a musical link to, I have a link to some of Monkiboys splendid work for his one month album project and I hope this will suffice..
.An awe-inspiring performer on every level

Bag Of Cans, To hear more of this awe-inspiring band please visit the link below I saw them perform in the summer in Chapel Field Gardens and they literally stole the show, an awe-inspiring spectacle it was indeed, fan favourite Antboy really got my gizm flowing 😀

VEEGCOLLECTIVE, well what is there to say about this artist? It’s me of course, check out and leave us a comment, hope you enjoy the night x ♥ ”

bag of cansbag of cansbag of cans

So, my first gig of 2019 was Shane’s Shenanigans and so was my final one of 2018 when the line up included Kate Abbott from Brighton, a beautiful Joni Mitchell inflected and just lovely songs. I was pleased to catch her set.  Also playing were Of the Clay, one of my favourites but this duo are relocating to Ireland next month and will be much-missed.  I’m always grateful to Shane for giving me the introduction to them (as he has for so many of my favourites) when they played one of his Cactus nights early in their career.

katherine abbott

of the clayof the clayof the clay

Joey Herzfeld was also on the bill, here playing with Hugh and Chris and his set and engagement went down very well indeed.  Yellowhammers were also a hit and there was plenty of dancing going on to their brand of post-punk.  The night concluded with a storming and energetic mod, soul set from The Primes despite being beseiged with microphone gremlins. It was another great night and incredibly varied but it all works so well.

joey herzfeld


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 30 hours of local music on Spotify:






Posted in Bag of Cans, joe quinn, Joey Herzfeld Trio, live music and dance, Of the Clay, Primes, Shane O' Linski, Shane's Shenanigans, The Wash, VEEG, Yellowhammers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Midwinter Moonshine @ NAC 21 & 22 December 2018. The Vagaband + The Hanging Stars + Hot Raisin + Lucy Grubb + Big Steve Arlene + Earl Harlem

As is traditional for the winter Solstice the Norwich Arts Centre once again hosted The Vagaband’s Midwinter Moonshine. As with last year it was held over two consecutive nights with live sets from special guests The Hanging Stars, Lucy Grubb, Hot Raisin, and Big Steve Arlene with several cameos from Noel Dashwood and of course Earl Harlem/Hank Jd Sleek with his Borderline honky tonk in the Mission Hall Bar.

the vagaband


The first night brought The Hanging Stars for their debut in Norwich and they were quite brilliant. Beautiful harmonies, melodies and hooks, with a Long Ryders / Morricone vibe.  These songs are just stunningly and upliftingly beautiful.  Lucy Grubb also performed another assured set and to close both nights The Vagaband played ninety-minute sets which featured the Hanging Stars’ pedal steel player, Joe Harvey Wright.

the hanging stars

the hanging stars

lucy grubb


I always love seeing Hot Raisin on the bigger stages and they certainly delivered here in a hugely enjoyable forty minute slot.  Opening with Little Tiger which sounded slightly different and rockier what with Tory also playing electric guitar.  That was followed by the beautiful Read Your Mind and the set also included their “angry” song, a powerful Feel. Set closer Whiskey Ginger sounded so punchy and big, the whole spectrum of light and shade in this one song alone. A fine set which was sadly Daryl’s last with the band but what a gig to go out on.

hot raisin


big steve arlene

Big Steve Arlene opened his set with Six Junkie Pounds – the story of someone who stole, and sold, his treasured guitar for a quick fix many years ago – and a few solo numbers. Achingly sad but beautiful before then being joined by the amazing Noel Dashwood on dobro and lovely harmonies while Vagabandits Jose played bass, Greg piano and Dan drums, with Joe once again on pedal steel. Steve was stepping in at fairly short notice to cover for the unwell Paul McClure and it was a privilege to hear these songs. He had planned to have a break from gigging over the winter to concentrate on writing and family commitments so this was quite a treat.

What more can be said about The Vagaband?  They have an altered line-up this year as they continue to evolve and Boweevil certainly adds a strong ingredient on electric guitar. Opening, as on the album, with Something Wicked This Way Comes there was a heck of a solo from Bo leading Jose to jokingly wonder if they’d peaked too early but went into an impressive There’ll Only Be One Elvis and the duet with Yve, An Eye for an Eye.  My own feeling sometimes when I see the band though is that I just can’t help wishing Yve herself was higher in the overall mix … and on night 2 not so hidden in the shadows at the back. She has an amazing voice, charisma and stage presence but she seemed a bit buried though certainly animated and having a great time with her gypsy dancing.

the vagaband




It was a curious thing how different the audiences were on the two nights. The Friday night crowd obviously had fun but Saturday night seemed to be on another level altogether, with a much fuller and livelier hall. Perhaps a tad too lively at one point by the sounds of things but I missed that bit of action while I was getting a drink and chatting to Earl Harlem in the bar.

the borderline

the vagabandthe vagabandthe hanging starsthe hanging starsthe hanging stars


My review for Outline :

Such has been the popularity and demand for tickets for The Vagaband’s annual Midwinter Moonshine that in recent years it has been expanded to a double-header over two nights at Norwich Arts Centre. This year I went to both nights.
Midwinter Moonshine I (with a suitably impressive full moon not only in the sky as I journeyed in but also on the NAC stage backdrop) was opened by rising star and Sonic Youths graduate Lucy Grubb, playing with a pared down version of her band which featured beautifully sympathetic and complimentary keys, banjo and guitar. I’ve seen Lucy numerous times so was already a convert and I felt that those hearing her for the first time here were more than impressed too. Dear Walter, from her recent EP, was just sublime and created one of those pin-drop moments. It’s clear to see why she is getting some well-deserved attention not just locally but nationally as well.
I’m familiar The Hanging Stars from some memorable Red Rooster appearances and a couple of albums but this was their first time playing in Norwich and they were quite simply magnificent. Fans of The Byrds, The Paisley Underground, and especially The Long Ryders will love them.  We even had the rare treat of hearing a Gun Club classic performed live when they covered Mother of Earth towards the end of their set. I do hope they’ll be in Norwich again at some point for their own headline show.
This year’s solstice falling on a Friday meant there were about a hundred other parties and gigs going on around the city which perhaps dented the attendance for the first Midwinter Moonshine but it was still a healthy and appreciative turnout who welcomed Norwich legends The Vagaband onto the stage at about 10:10pm as they filed on to an intro tape. 
The Vagaband 2018 have changed slightly and are more electric with the addition of Mark “Boweevil” Howes on guitar and Tris now also playing electric bass.  With one of the finest voices in the county, Yve Mary B has joined to bring her vocals and special, unique magic whilst The Hanging Stars’ Joe Harvey Whyte was on pedal steel.  The ninety-minute set drew heavily from their excellent recent Something Wicked This Way Comes but covered all their albums and also included a healthy smattering of established live favourites such as The Whistling Song and Gabrielle. It’s been a good year musically for The Vagaband with the release of their third album, lots of rave reviews and festival appearances and the recent highly successful collaboration at OPEN with the Youth Orchestra.
Midwinter Moonshine II the following day was due to have been opened by Paul McClure but as a result of an untimely back injury he was unable to perform so the wonderful Steve Arlene was called at short notice to come out of his self-imposed winter gigging hiatus.  Big Steve is a huge but understated talent. His songwriting is truly special and should be recognised as such. Many Arlenes songs are cherished and held very dear in the Shashamane household.  He performed the first few numbers solo before being joined for a couple of numbers by another Norwich legend, Noel Dashwood on dobro, and then a few members of The Vagaband themselves. The mutual respect between artists was obvious. It all passed by too quickly though and they were really hitting a groove during Springboard which proved to be the last of the set. I’d love to see these guys playing together more frequently, this was gorgeous.
Another of my favourites was next up, the wonderful Hot Raisin.  As they were setting up the mic was still set for the height of Big Steve, for a moment I thought Tory was going to have to sing Lemmy-style with head tilted back so high was the mic. She said she’d neglected to bring a stack of Yellow Pages to reach it!
It was a powerful performance from the full electric Raisins on what was sadly the last gig to feature drummer Daryl. They sounded especially punchy though with the somewhat rare sight of Tory playing electric guitar alongside the guitars of Luke and Mary,  with Tom on bass.  They are always great fun but the bigger the stage the better the show it seems from Hot Raisin and this one was up there with their best. I felt they were having a lot of fun (we certainly were) and this aspect of their friendly and genuine love of playing always comes across strongly, plus with their now traditional beer toasting between songs. They definitely won a lot of new admirers here with this set. Such a well-balanced band, both in terms of their music and their personalities.
The night closed once again with another triumphant set from The Vagaband, the whole band tight and in fine form. It was quite a lively crowd and watching from the side at one point I could see people dancing everywhere I looked.  They were once again joined by some cameos from Noel and sent us back into the midwinter night in rousing, uplifting style but for those who wanted to linger longer there was still a honky tonk going on in the bar with Earl Harlem’s brilliant Borderline.



Norwich: Music City, UK

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Posted in big steve arlene, earl harlem, Hank Jd Sleek, Hot Raisin, live music and dance, Lucy Grubb, Noel Dashwood, Norwich Arts Centre, Steve Arlene, The Arlenes, The Vagaband, Yve Mary B | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lera Lynn + Worry Dolls @ Omeara, London 10 December 2018


Exactly a week after that beautiful Union Chapel gig where Courtney Marie Andrews healed our souls and we in turned tried to heal her cold I was back in the capital again for a gig by Lera Lynn, Omeara at London Bridge being the most doable journey of the handful of UK dates.  I was delighted to discover that support was provided by Worry Dolls, who I have seen and enjoyed a couple of times before, at Red Rooster and at OPEN in Norwich.  They and Nashville-based Lera apparently met in that music city when Worry Dolls were recorded their album there.

There was a lot of interest in this gig which sold out many weeks ago, even though it was for a Monday night, I even saw people queuing at the door when I walked past the venue at 6pm.  It was a bit later when I headed there though, shortly before the arrival onstage of Worry Dolls who played a most impressive set that the crowd clearly enjoyed.  Their final song they performed completely unplugged right up at the front of the stage almost on top of the crowd. It was beautiful. I love their heartfelt and expressive form of Americana. Fans of Hope in High Water, whom we know well, will love them, they both have an obvious integrity and passion about what they are doing too.

Lera Lynn‘s latest album is called Plays Well With Others and as the title suggests is a collaborative work of co-written duets alongside names such as JD McPherson, Peter Bradley Adams, John Paul White, Dylan LeBlanc, Andrew Combs, Rodney Crowell, Shovels & Rope, and Nicole Atkins.  The songs all fit together on the album well too, giving it a cohesive and whole feeling.  I held back buying my album until this gig though as I wanted to get my copy signed!  (So many thanks to the lovely lady on the merch table who kindly looked after my vinyl and t-shirt until the end of the gig, much appreciated!)

The lights dimmed and Lera came onstage illuminated by a single spotlight and went straight into the set, with her duet partner for the set, Todd Lombardo, who was brilliant taking on the roles of these other singers for the tour.  The whole set seemed to pass so quickly as we enjoyed it so much, sublime playing and vocals, great songs and terrific sound and lighting in this lovely venue. Most of the material was obviously from Plays Well With Others but we also had some gems from Resistor and The Avenues which pleased the appreciative and attentive crowd too.

I’ve only seen Lera Lynn once before, at a Spiegeltent gig in Norwich for our festival a couple of years or so back and she’s one of very few that I will travel down to London for, what with all the expense that a day in the capital seems to entail but it was so worth it.  To cap a special night Lera did come out to meet fans and sign records, and I was even lucky enough to get a photo. Thank you Lera.

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“Throughout her career — a nearly decade-long run filled with three album releases, a career-shifting appearance and soundtrack for HBO’s True Detective, hundreds of shows on both sides of the Atlantic, and a sound encompassing everything from Americana to stark indie rock — Lera Lynn has balanced her fierce independence with a string of collaborations. 

She’s written songs with T Bone Burnett and Rosanne Cash. She’s recorded albums with full bands (2014’s The Avenues, hailed by outlets like Rolling Stone and American Songwriter) and smaller lineups (the experimental, NPR and New York Times-approved Resistor, which Lynn co-produced at her Nashville home). On her fourth album, Plays Well With Others, she teams up with eight different duet partners and seven co-writers, resulting in her most diverse, collaborative work to date. 

“…her gorgeous Emmylou-like voice which wraps itself around the varied tone of her collaborators…” – Uncut Magazine”




Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 30 hours of local music on Spotify:




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The Blockheads + Ben C Winn @ NAC 8 December 2018

Yet another sellout gig at the Arts Centre for the return of the Blockheads.  Apparently they have played NAC in each of the past eight years and yet somehow this was my first time seeing them since a couple of UEA gigs, in 1998 and again in 2000 which was sadly one of Ian Dury’s last gigs, and so it’s taken me all this time to see them with a different front-person.  Occasionally they are fronted by Phil Jupitus but their more regular vocalist is Derek “The Draw” Hussey, Ian’s former bodyguard and on lead vocals duty here at Norwich.


Support, as it was last year, was provided by the excellent Ben C Winn who is absolutely perfect for this crowd with his humour and clever use of words. Not surprisingly he went down brilliantly with the audience. Rita, Don’t Retire almost cries out to share the same record as Razzle in My Pocket.

ben c winn

ben c winnben c winnben c winn

Despite the massive loss of Ian Dury it is still well worth seeing the Blockheads live, not least for the chance to see some incredible musicians playing with absolute joy. The band still contains such legends as Chaz Jankel and Norman Watt-Roy and of course the songs are incredible.  Derek walks onstage and drapes one of Ian’s silk white scarfs around the mic stand and proceeds to deliver a set of classic Blockheads tunes. Of course he is no Ian (nobody is) but he strikes the right tone and the crowd lapped up hearing these songs played live by these outstanding musicians.






Saturday 8th December 2018
8:00 PM
£25.50 | £23.50 concessions (includes admin fee)

This is without doubt one of the finest bands touring. The band still have four of the original founding members from the 1977 lineup.

The Blockheads are now fronted by one of Ian’s best friends Derek ‘The Draw’, the band’s vocalist and wordsmith. Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy, John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher still remain from the original band and the current line-up is augmented by John Roberts on drums and a rolling line up of saxophonists including Gilad Atzmon, Terry Edwards or Dave Lewis.

These legendary Brit-Funkers will be playing all the old favourites and new material. In 1978 Chaz composed ‘Hit me with your Rhythm Stick’ with Ian and in 1979 had a number one hit record. In 1982 Ian Dury & The Blockheads disbanded and were not to play together again until 1987 when they went out to Japan to play three shows, disbanding again until 1990 when the death of Charlie Charles in September of that year re-united them to play two Benefit gigs at The Forum, Camden Town in aid of Charlie’s family. The last performance by Ian Dury & The Blockheads was February 6th 2000 at The London Palladium. Ian died at 9am on 27th March 2000.

Now over 15 years since Ian passed away, The Blockheads still perform Ian’s songs to packed out venues around the World.


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 30 hours of local music on Spotify:

Posted in Ben C. Winn, live music and dance, Norwich Arts Centre | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mark Sultan + Ravenous Hounds + DJ Tom Eagle @ Louis Marchesi Crypt 4 December 2018


This was a gig originally scheduled to be held at The Crunch but was cancelled due to a peculiar council decision. Luckily Gluttonous Mutt stepped in to save the gig which was moved to the city’s Crypt beneath the Louis Marchesi. The last one here with James and the Ultrasounds was an absolute belter so I knew we were in for good things.

tom eagle

Tom Eagle was dj-ing before, inbetween, and after the acts entertaining us with punk, soul, ska and “yob-rock” and the live music kicked off with the excellent four-piece of Ravenous Hounds.  I love this band and experiencing their garage punk rock in an undercroft is always an exciting experience. Very loud and visceral, up close in the small confines of this packed undercroft. Just brilliant.

ravenous houndsravenous houndsravenous hounds

Headline act was of course Mark Sultan whom I’d only previously seen in his King Khan incarnation but he’s obviously also well-known from his Spaceshits, BBQ, Les Sexareenos and solo projects.  Seated throughout and with lots of dialogue with the audience between songs this wasn’t exactly the typical gig experience but nor was it meant to be, it was a man doing what he loves to do and not giving a damn what anyone thinks about it, though the crowd did seem to be digging it and pretty familiar with a lot of the songs too.

mark sultan

Thanks to Gluttonous Mutt for another great night of garage rock and roll in the perfect space.


Gluttonous Mutt Presents


Mark Sultan/BBQ – all-time garage punk legend from such great bands as the King Khan & BBQ Show, Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos and of course many incredible solo albums, under the BBQ and Mark Sultan monikers. A massive coup for Norwich to have him in an intimate venue as part of his UK tour, you won’t get a chance like this again, believe us!

“If there’s a Patient Zero in garage rock’s recent shift from emulating the troglodytic stomp of teenage Stones wannabes in 1965 to embracing the Golden Oldies pop and doo-wop of the years just before Beatlemania, it’s probably Mark “BBQ” Sultan, who releases albums of catchy, clever garage-pop more frequently than most people buy shoes.”
– Chicago Reader

“Not Another Day” –

New album on Spotify –


Ravenous Hounds – High-energy psych-punk rock and roll, guaranteed to raise the roof and move the floor. Coming off a string of great support slots on their debut year in 2018, this will be a great one to top it off. 

Youtube playlist –


DJ Tom Eagle – a legend on the Norwich scene, playing the best rhythm & blues, reggae, soul, punk etc on vinyl.


This gig was previously to be hosted by our good friend Mr Jason at The Crunch – Recording Studio, but due to restrictions on events and threats from the council he was forced to cancel, hence us picking it up. We’re very grateful to him for booking the show in the first place. If you’re in a band and want some recordings that don’t just have a generic sterile sound, and sound incredile instead, he’s the best around, so hit him up. 

If you bought tickets for that show you should have an email asking if you want your tickets transeferred or refunded – check yr inbox!




Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 30 hours of local music on Spotify:

Posted in Gluttonous Mutt, live music and dance, Ravenous Hounds, Tom Eagle | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment