The Wolf Number for OddBox @ NAC 19 January 2018

After not getting to bed until 5am from that epic journey home seeing Starcrawler in London the previous night it took a massive effort to head out again on this cold, damp evening as I am still emerging from a mid-winter hibernation but I was well-rewarded for doing so.  A full and varied, almost continuous run of music from OddBox in the NAC auditorium and the Adnams Mission Hall Bar culminating in a glorious headline slot from The Wolf Number.

 

odd box

The Joel Benjamin designed event flyer-poster.

 

Things kicked off with a set by Corinthians from London and if the lead singer looked familiar that’s because he is known to many of us, being Mac who also drums with Wooden Arms.  Although not the most animated of stage acts the songs were pleasing and well delivered and I’d happily listen to some more of their music at home but there could be a tad more onstage dynamism and presence.  The stage itself felt somehow different having been re-assembled after the recent HARK gig, like coming home to find a chair has been slightly moved!  I think it was actually that the PA stacks had moved a few inches but whatever it was worked and sounded well.

 

corinthianscorinthians

 

The one aspect of the nice idea of continuous rolling music is that invariably it will get a bit “chatty” in the bar as people file out of the hall to refresh and exchange views but David aka The howtocuredyslexia Band was unfazed and delivered a highly engaging set of his clever songs. Fans of Mr. David Viner should check him out, and vice-versa.

 

the howtocuredyslexia band

 

Almost as soon as he finished it was time to head back into the hall for the long-awaited live return of The Lost Levels who provided one of the highlights of the evening. Their well-crafted and melodic set absolutely flew by but hope they’ll play again soon, it was a delight. More please.

 

lost levelsthe lost levelsthe lost levels

 

The intriguingly named Volko Trio were unable to play on the night so there was time for some catch-up in the bar and as the NAC seemed just about full it was interesting to note just how many local musicians were in attendance and plenty of familiar faces.

 

wolf number

 

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Largely through word of mouth (always the best of recommendations) The Wolf Number have quickly become one of the must-see Norwich bands. Alas, since seeing them under a starry sky in late August on a magical night their subsequent appearances have been plagued for me by the typical Norwich gig-clash – a healthy problem but frustrating nevertheless – and last time the clash was with Starcrawler at The Crypt, Urban Voodoo Machine at OPEN and a whole host of other clashes.  This gig though felt truly triumphant and magnificent, headlining to a large and appreciative crowd (possibly a sellout, certainly close to it), sounding fantastic and playing in front of gorgeous projected images.  Deserved headliners and the undoubted highlight of the night.  A very fine band and great people, this trio create dreamy instrumental soundscapes. Check out their recent EP – The Bunker Sessions – which is available as CD and download, you can also read my review of it for Outline Magazine here.

 

The Wolf Number - Bunker Sessions EP Artwork

 

Post-gig catch-ups and Rainbow Girls shirt synchroncity 🙂

 

hot raisinscott, mary, me

 

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Norwich: Music City, UK

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Starcrawler @ Omeara, London 18 January 2018

In recent times a lot of the capital’s music venues have been closing at an alarming rate as a result of the difficult costs and gentrification. It can be sad and depressing reading seeings lists of lost venues.  I headed down to London to see one of my favourite bands from last year, Starcrawler, at the Omeara near London Bridge.  Upon chatting to the refreshingly friendly staff and security (I can think of a venue or two who could learn from this place) and reading up on it, it was really heartening to discover the venue only opened within the past year or two, bucking that trend of venue closures.  I wish it well and can’t praise the place highly enough, everyone was chilled out and friendly, it’s safe, beautiful and has great sound and lighting.  Being one of the earlier arrivals I was quite surprised when I learned it was 350 capacity, it is deceptively spacious and one of those places that seems to feel bigger as it fills up. Good sightlines with a gentle sloping gradient and a couple of steps (one of which I almost missed at first – my eyes!) meaning the stage is clearly visible from all areas. Atmospheric too and an altogether excellent and highly satisfying gig-going experience, I felt quite at home here and it’s the closest I have felt outside of the city to our beloved Norwich Arts Centre and I cannot give higher praise than that.

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starcrawler

Starcrawler’s Norwich gig at Bedfords Crypt in November was one of my absolute favourites in a vintage year for live music in our city, in fact November itself was a vintage month.  Since then their album has been completed and was being officially released the following day though copies were available here but mine has long been on pre-order so I hope it arrives soon!

starcrawler album

Opening the night were the first band I have seen to actually adopt that name from the old joke, of Free Money.  Lively, tight and enthusiastic they warmed things up nicely.  I particularly enjoyed their more frenetic songs.

Anticipation was building nicely as we edged toward 9:30pm when Starcrawler were due to take the stage (there was even a poster warning about the “immersive performace”) and there was loud excitement as Henri, Tim and Austin (who I don’t think I even saw on this small stage from my vantage point) started up, with Arrow soon following, in a straight jacket with wild eyes. One of the most compelling and exciting showpersons I have seen in a long while, Henri too is another visual focal point as he leaps, jumps and throws shapes with these massive riffs, reminding me at times of The Jim Jones Revue. Tim and Austin on bass and drums complete this brilliant and very tight line up.  Arrow was soon breaking free of the straight jacket, occasionally dripping fake blood and commanding the stage in a way that was just as captivating as it was the first time I saw her.  It’s quite a small stage so there was still that sense of intimacy, which was pleasing. This band must be seen in a small venue soon because I think they could become massive. 

starcrawler

At Chicken Woman and the close of the set Arrow manically drew her bloodied fingers across her throat and once again dived off stage, ran through the audience and disappeared, Henri soon did similar and slung his guitar around someone’s neck and quite a few of the crowd ended up on stage, one of whom brilliantly said into the mic … “We’ve been Starcrawler. Thank you and goodnight!”  Only a 35 minute or so set but they played just about everything and certainly gave everything.  Wild and unpredictable.  So good to have some theatre and genuine excitement back in music, and what music!  I love the songs and the energy, everyone in the room did. There was a throng of people at the merch table afterwards. The band have such a wealth of influences which they make into something genuinely fresh and unique. Bits of the Pistols, Stooges, Nirvana, Wobble-esque bass, the theatre of Ozzy, Iggy and so much more, to become the glorious Starcrawler. The most exciting new band for a long time.

starcrawler

starcrawler

I only have a few phone snaps this time and they were from the side but the sightlines here are great and I was really impressed with the lighting. The sound was that perfect volume where it is neither too loud nor too quiet where you wish it to be louder. It was spot on.

It was well worth an away day gig although the storms of the previous night meant the trains were only running as far as Ipswich. Except the last train which wasn’t running at all so the Norwich bound passengers were put onto the Essex train which then went on to Ipswich followed by a ninety minute coach journey from there to Norwich but with a driver in good humour after what must have been a challenging day.  I finally got home well after 4am and very cold but still in good spirits, especially having earlier in the day seeing a sign in London for … Whiskey Ginger.

Thanks to Robert Balazik for this video which I have just discovered.

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The Vicars of Stiffkey + Painted Heathers + MARLA @ NAC 10 January 2018

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NAC’s artist in residence had his latest exhibition of paintings The Doors of Perception launched with a private view ahead of a gig featuring his band (sharing the name with one of the paintings) The Vicars of Stiffkey.  Sadly, due to flu, Blisster could not feature on the billing but their place was filled by MARLA (featuring Off With Their Records’ Ryan on bass), as well as Painted Heathers, who have now expanded to a four-piece and impressed me with what I think was the best gig I have yet seen by them.

painted heathers

Painted Heathers

 

marla

MARLA

 

There isn’t another local act remotely like The Vicars and there was a good vibe on the floor during the set as these five motley characters played songs old and new in various pieces of headwear. It’s always fun and interesting and I loved the dancing to Shit Disco.

 

The Vicars of StiffkeyThe Vicars of Stiffkey

 

 

The Vicars of Stiffkey

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The Vicars of Stiffkey are drawn from the end of the trainline. They make psych-rock grooves. The band is fronted by artist/impresario Will Teather, with other Vicars including legends from the alternative music scene in the East of England: Tom Conway, Shane O’Linski, Dave Inge and Dominic Redsell. Always shambolic, always enjoyed.

Painted Heathers

Fuzzy guitar pop from the Norwich based four-piece, also signed to Off With Their Records.

MARLA

MARLA are an alternative garage rock band from Norwich. Having just recorded a string of singles at Abbey Road Studios and recently signed to Off with their Records, 2018 looks set to be their breakthrough year and the perfect time to catch their electrifying live performance.

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Will Teather: The Doors of Perception

Wednesday 10 January – Wednesday 31 January 2018
Monday – Friday 1pm – 5pm and Saturdays 10am – 6pm (see website for closures)


Opening Night Wednesday 10 January 6pm – 8pm followed by Vicars of Stiffkey
Catering kindly provided by NORSE

Norwich Arts Centre Artist-in-Residence, Will Teather, displays a wide range of his recent works at the venue as he continues to experiment and explore new journeys within the medium of painting.

The show includes recent works that see the artist exploring abstraction for the first time.  New compositions reinterpret principles of sacred geometry within visual art, creating complex patterns based upon the underlying structure of representational images, revealing perhaps a divine form within the natural world. The artist explains:

“These intricate lattices reference both postmodern pixilation within painting, as influenced by digital culture, and the longstanding idea of an underlying order within both visual art and our wider perception of reality.   They are also informed by the obsessive exploration of geometric patterns by the outsider painter Eugene Andolsek and the automated techniques of Sol Lewitt, who would pass instructions onto assistants who then created his drawings.”

On display will also be a new spherical painting – each one of these is the result of months of work.  The most recent development has been a 360 panorama of a flock of birds painted on the outside of a sphere that is designed to spin forwards creating a sense of motion and flight. The use of movement in these works and the unusual curved format of the canvas, combined with the shifting perspective, play with the fundamentals of what makes a realist painting.

The artist’s appetite for new adventures continues as he has also explored ways of creating hybrid images of several painting genres.  This includes expressively painted portraits, where the sitter’s head opens into a detailed silhouette that reveals their subconscious thoughts.  These novel portraits are an antidote to the hyper-real painting practice Teather is known for as a portraitist, as revealed in a small portrait of his daughter also on display.

Further works see us on more familiar territory with the artist, as he explores themes of escape from modern life, with pastel drawings of flying office workers.  These paintings continue the sense of spectacle and possess a theatrical quality, like they might be from a forgotten play, creating a blurring between the real and the imagined.  The artist has long been interested in magical-realism and the inherent artifice of realist painting.

The title of the show comes from Aldous Huxleys 1954 essay that explored a variety of concepts, including the idea that the brain eliminates unessential information from the totality of the “mind at large.” Teather perhaps is trying to reveal those things that may otherwise go unnoticed as we filter our everyday life. 

About the artist

Will Teather’s work has been exhibited internationally to acclaim, with recent exhibitions including as a guest artist for Artrooms London, Artwars at Red Dot Miami and as a finalist in the London Contemporary Art Prize. His work has been collected widely and in 2015 broke the sales record for the Other Art Fair, one of London’s leading events for upcoming talent. His studio is based in Norwich, where he is an Associate Lecturer in drawing at Norwich University of the Arts. He is the Artist-in-Residence for Norwich Arts Centre, following on from previous residencies with venues in New York and Aberdeen.

Also a musician, Teather has fronted a succession of bands over the last ten years, the latest been the Vicars of Stiffkey: a psych-rock band that recently signed to Off With Their Records with their first release, Live & Uncassocked released in June 2017. The band will stage a performance at Norwich Art Centre during the exhibition’s run this January.

This exhibition is supported by Norfolk County Council and Art Council England.

Will-Teather-Portrait-WEB

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Midwinter Moonshine VIII – The Vagaband + The Shackleton Trio + Yve Mary B @ NAC 21 December 2017

Somewhat incredibly this was already the 8th Vagaband Midwinter Moonshine, or ninth if you include the no small matter of the extra date added for the previous night when this one sold out so early.  Quite a feat for any touring band but testimony to The Vagaband’s stature and local standing that they can fill the hall two nights running.

 

the vagaband

 

The Midwinter Moonshine ‘I’ night had incredible support from Murphy’s Lore and the fantastic Arlenes, backed I believe by most of the Vagaband themselves. Tonight’s opener though was the wonderful Yve Mary B, who of course was involved in the support night last year singing with Morganway.  At long last hers and the Vagaband’s paths have converged and she features not only in their stage set on both nights but also on the splendid new Vagaband album – Something Wicked This Way Comes.  I always knew they’d hit it off musically.  There’s a video waiting in the wings.  By the end of the night every single copy of the album had been sold which is highly encouraging as they need to raise some serious fund for the full, official release, but also shows the strength of their local support.

 

yve mary b

 

The stage looking stunningly beautiful and well-decorated Yve regaled us with some of her beautiful acoustic compositions and was joined for a song or two by Noel on dobro before making way for Paul Mills, compere for the night, to introduce The Shackleton Trio. Yve herself looked most festive in her ‘Christmas Yve’ robe.

 

the shackleton trio

 

the vagaband

 

 

In an ever-filling auditorium The Shackleton Trio got people in the mood as the pace built and got increasingly lively.  Brilliant playing and chemistry.

 

the shackleton trio

 

When Jose came onstage he said: “There is a marked difference between the crowds last night and tonight. You lot are a lot drunker!”  We were certainly up for a party and there was a great atmosphere. The Whistling Song sounded magnificent, Lifted got a response so warm that Jose was visibly moved, and the new songs fitted in seamlessly, sounding superb too and there was a good blend of newer material as well as some from the previous albums and live favourites.  They were joined onstage by Yve and probably played for a good ninety minutes to a really appreciative audience. If you included guests there was all eleven of them at one point in the set … and I had no wide-angle lens! They were in tremendous form and never fail to rise to the occasion when playing the bigger events and stages.  Two sell-out nights in a row is testimony to that!

 

the vagaband

The Vagaband, on fire at Midwinter Moonshine VIII

 

There was also entertainment in the bar with a dj set from Hank Jd Sleek and plenty of dancing there too.

 

yve mary b

Yve in a glass…

 

The NAC hosts yet another sellout on the following night – Friday – with the visit of The Blockheads featuring perfect support from our own Ben C. Winn.  If you have ever felt such amazing things being brought to us could be in danger of being taken for granted please consider supporting the NAC by donating to become an official supporter with all the perks and rewards that go with it.  Of course, they reward us tenfold with the incredible work and arts the bring to us so it is an investment rather than a donation.

http://norwichartscentre.co.uk/supporter/

 

yve mary b

 

 

Thanks as always to our beloved NAC.

 

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the vagaband

 

mic at midwinter moonshine

the vagaband

 

the vagaband

 

yve mary b

 

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Moulettes + Red Dear + Raevennan Husbandes @ NAC 19 December 2017

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Raevennan Husbandes joined the line up of Moulettes a couple of years ago and it feels like ages since I saw this wonderful person with a most beautiful spirit so I was looking forward to seeing her again.  Albeit just a three-song fifteen minute opening solo set it was a rare and lovely treat to hear her again. Such a pure voice, faultless playing and a simply delightful presence. More please!  I’m not quite sure when that will be though as on this penultimate date of the Moulettes tour and on the back of 20 straight gigs without a break, she and the band were looking forward to a well-earned day off after this date.  I guess that would be 40 gigs in twenty days for Raevennan but hopefully we’ll see some more solo shows from her during this break, I really like Raevennan (even her hot air balloons shirt is charming), her songs, playing, voice, and her special energy and positivity and she had a great homecoming Norwich welcome.

 

raevennan husbandes

 

 

The other support slot was initially due to be filled by Bessie Turner from Suffolk, who I was also looking forward to seeing but she had to cancel when the call came to perform a live session for Jo Whiley on Radio 2 the same night.  Her place was taken by a name unfamiliar to me. Red Dear.  Displaying no signs of nerves whatsoever, this duo turned out to be Dylan, 16, and his sister Izzie who apparently has only recently turned 15!  Obviously old souls with bucketloads of talent they are the latest to come through from the legendary Annie Catwoman’s Sonic Youths showcase at Norwich Arts Centre.  Both playing guitar, Dylan occasionally using bow and Izzie also playing flute and an autoharp their set was predominantly originals though they did cover Jonathan Wilson’s Ballad of the Pines, quite beautifully.  An artist they said they saw in the same venue in 2012 … when they’d have been 10 and 11, presumably.  They had an EP of demos available which featured full band versions of the songs, multi-instrumentalists, everything is played by the two of them. Where does it all come from?!  Incredible talent and hugely impressive. Definitely ones to watch.

 

red dear

 

red dear

 

 

 

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Moulettes are a band I’d not seen before though I had heard their recent album Prenatural and the NAC certainly delivered that huge sound of the recordings.  Bass and drums rivalling that of a dub act, the NAC was pulsating with the low bass. There’s much more to their sound than volume though and features electric cello and of course Raevennan on electric guitar and sharing the vocals, she had a great chemistry with Hannah and a good energy.  A band like no other but with elements of folk, prog and rock, there were soft moments too like on the beautiful Songbird, and some interesting intros to the songs (“This one’s about the Japanese Puffer Fish, who spends a week constructing perfect symmetrical shapes in sand to woo a mate”).  The whole set was eclectic, very powerful and quite unusual.  They are taking a whole year off from touring so this was the last chance to see them in Norwich for a while but it was another well-attended gig at NAC which was practically full once again.  Next up here, two nights of Midwinter Moonshine.

 

moulettes

 

Huge, complex and compelling. One of the most thrillingly nimble musical ensembles the UK has produced in decades.” – Prog Magazine
 
“Equal parts Kronos Quartet, Roxy Music, Zappa, Kate Bush… echoes of early Floyd, Bowie & Radiohead… The electronica of Kraftwerk and the acoustic melody of Pentangle.” – R2
 
“Redefines the term ‘Progressive’ for a new era”– Fatea Magazine
 
“Tireless live grafters. Different & full of enchantment.” 8/10 – UNCUT
“Unique. Delicious music” Four stars black – MOJO
“A compelling and original band” Four stars black – The Guardian
“Divine harmonies” Five stars black – Time Out

 
In early 2015, lead singer and songwriter Hannah Miller read a New Scientist article that described how the discovery of a microscopic creature had redefined the perimeters of life as we know it. The ‘Halicephalobus Mephisto’ Nematode Worm has none of the requirements of other known life forms – able to survive deep underground, without oxygen or sunlight.  The seed was sown for ‘Preternatural’ – an eclectic 11-track opus for the Natural World, and the strange and beautiful creatures in it.

It made me contemplate how much we still don’t know about the planet we live on, and to consider that moving space between what we do know, and what we can never know; at the frontier of science and discovery.” says Miller. “The animal kingdom holds such a wealth of beauty, creativity, humour, ingenuity and artistry. I wanted to celebrate it, to underline its fragility, to hold up a mirror and compare our own species to others.”

 

The band, like the creatures they describe, have always been an evolving phenomenon, and each album has seen a significant leap into new unchartered territory, their unusual music vision prompting comparisons as disparate as …the Kronos quartet, Roxy Music, Frank Zappa, Kate Bush…echoes of early Pink Floyd, Bowie and Radiohead.. Kraftwerk and Björk (R2 Magazine/ Reuters.)

 

We identify with bands who present their own kind of eclecticism,” says Oliver Austin. “From Zappa, and Gentle Giant to current bands like Field Music, John Grant, Snarky Puppy, Laura Mvula, My Brightest Diamond, tUnE-yArDs and Tortoise; these were all references for the record.

 

It is a beautifully orchestrated ecosystem, experimental in parts but still accessible, fusing rich vocal harmonies, persuasive melodies, big riffs, detailed arrangements and sharp songcraft to make a genre-defying album, which explores the moving space between electronic and acoustic; DIY and big production.

 

The arrival of newest member Raevennan Husbandes catalysed a rockier mood, her stark and fluid electric guitar playing complementing Miller’s virtuosic cello to forge a muscular, unique sound-blend. Husbandes’ & Miller’s luminous voices deliver characteristic multi-layered harmonies locked in with a towering, thunderous rhythm section (Mortimore / Austin), the band’s synergy and tightness is a testament to their relentless touring schedule; their musical range described by Prog Magazine as “huge, complex and compelling. One of the most thrillingly nimble musical ensembles the UK has produced in decades.

 

Incurably ambitious, this is a band that has always put an adventurous approach to Art at the heart of their craft. The front cover best demonstrates Moulettes for what it is: an eclectic, progressive hybrid, a bizarre and bombastic monster.

 

December 2017 is the concluding chapter of the two-year ‘Preternatural’ tour, and the last chance to see the breathtaking live show that has taken the band across Europe from Poland to Malta, and across Canada from Nova Scotia to Victoria Island.

 

moulettes

 

moulettes

 

Many thanks to Raevennan Husbandes, NAC, and Annie Catwoman.  Next Sonic Youths is at NAC Bar on Saturday 13 January. 1-4pm.

 

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Flatlands Festival Crimbo Party @ NAC 16 December 2017

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hank

 

Norwich Music City UK is living through a great creative and diverse time and there are a number of individuals whose input by means of support and promotion goes well beyond the call of duty. One such individual is Ash Woolnough of Solko, HANK, Hubs, Me Sugar Promotions, etc. and recently, The Flatlands Festival.  Some people just pop up at endless gigs because they are so into the music and the collective vibe and this is what I love about Ash, Jordan, HANK and the Hubs boys as well as their own music.  Although intending to go the first Flatlands Festival this summer for various reasons I could not make it and have regretted that ever since, especially after hearing about it some weeks later at Harlequin Fayre.  No worries. This was my chance to catch up a bit with a Flatlands Christmas Party at NAC featuring bands in the hall and djs in the Adnams Mission Bar.

 

hot damn

 

Another nice touch is these guys always add an individual flavour with aesthetics and most importantly of all a special and inclusive, friendly, and mellow vibe amongst the audience.

 

When I arrived Harry Ixer was soundchecking in the hall and there was a Solko dj set in the bar.  Harry played for twenty or so minutes with a hip-hop set accompanied by a dj. Things were warming up nicely!

 

harry ixer

 

The first band to play were Das Boot, yet another band from that creative hotbed of Halesworth. I’d heard rave reviews about them and recent gigs but this was my first time to experience them live and I loved them!  Amazing brass and percussion with an irresistible dubby, reggae vibe.

 

das boot

 

HANK were the next ones due onstage and they were phenomenal, sounding huge and powerful at the NAC to an adoring audience which grows ever bigger and louder each time. Bear in mind this is a very young band with probably less than a dozen gigs under their belt, though you would never guess it. They even showcased a couple of massive new tracks. Great set!  Huge sound, very tight band and with a strong desire to play. Their joy and enthusiasm is obvious to all.

 

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hank

 

hank

 

 

DJ Hot Damn was absolutely on fire in the NAC bar as I spent a while between sets here, with loads of dancing and good vibes.  I actually had to push myself to leave but it is just as well I did as headline band for the night, Mansion of Snakes, were phenomenal. Music we love played by people who loved to play it and feeling it too.

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t matter where you come from if you have the soul and feel the the music and headliners Mansion of Snakes from Leeds most certainly have that with a gloriously uplifting jazzy Afrobeat vibe. They sounded like the real deal. Led by a terrific female vocalist and percussionist, and backed by a full band of boys from Yorkshire they sounded great. I loved them and so did everyone else, strong horn section, percussion, rhythm and beat, with nods to Fela Kuti, it was infectious and catchy throughout with a fantastic audience dancing the whole way through.  One of those occasions where everyone in every corner of the hall was swaying and dancing. Even the merch t-shirts pulsated to the beat.  Absolutely irresistible and a great way to conclude the live music ahead of a Wayward Natives dj set in the bar.

 

mansion of snakes

 

Yet another sold out event at NAC, a lovely gig which shows what can be achieved with a good heart and a coming together of good people with good intentions and the right spirit. I had a smile on my face all evening! Thanks Ash and all involved!

 

 

FLATLANDS FESTIVAL CRIMBO PARTY

After the roaring success of our first festival we’re bringing the party to Norwich Arts Centre for a special crimbo show featuring bands and djs until 1am. 

We thought it would be nice to bring the people back together to re-create the warm and friendly atmosphere felt at Flatlands. The line-up features some of our favourite acts from this year as well as some new additions to spice up the mix. 

LIVE –
Mansion of Snakes – 12 piece Afrobeat band
DasBoot – 7 piece Reggae/Dub/Ska band
HANK – 4 piece grunge/math rock
Harry Ixer – live Hip Hop.

DJs –
Wayward Natives – Afro, Funk, Latin, Calypso
Tom Excell (nubiyan twist) – Heavy hitting world grooves from roots to electronic.
Hot Damn Norwich – Funk & Soul
Solko – Dub to Motown & beyond
EM Pressure B2B Ras Biddle – Steppas!
Hit me up for £10 tickets, no booking fees…

Tickets –  https://norwichartscentre.co.uk/events/flatlands-festival-crimbo-party/

Flatlands x

 

 

Having a little wander around the city centre afterwards it felt busier than usual, probably due to other Christmas parties but the mood was good all around too.

night time norwich

 

 

night time norwich

 

night time norwich

 

I was asked to take this photo, you can probably guess by whom as two of the subjects look a bit shy 🙂

night time norwich

 

all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2017

@RShashamane

http://www.facebook.com/flatlandsfestivaluk/

https://www.musicglue.com/flatlandsfestival

http://www.facebook.com/mansionofsnakes/

mansionofsnakes.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/Hankmaths/

http://www.facebook.com/dasbootband/

http://www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/NorwichLiveMusicPhotos

http://www.facebook.com/ShashamaneArtPhotography/

http://www.instagram.com/rshashamane/

Norwich: Music City, UK

Posted in Das Boot, Flatlands, HANK, Harry Ixer, Hot Damn, live music and dance, Norwich Arts Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wooden Arms + Chalky Seas + Hot Raisin @ OPEN 14 December 2017

Other than a flying visit to play Marzano’s as part of BBC Introducing in Norfolk’s 10th birthday celebrations the other week this was Wooden Arms‘ first visit back to their home city in a year or so, not that there was any chance of them being forgotten, Alex Carson being one of the characters of the Norwich music community of the past decade.  Now based in London he has been concentrating his energies bringing into being the first full length Wooden Arms album, Trick of the Light which was being promoted and sold here, in all its gatefold, red-spattered vinyl glory.

 

wooden arms

 

Support was really strong for this OPEN club room gig too with Hot Raisin opening the night just after 7:30pm.  Playing as full band they sounded bright and punchy, really strong. The set was a good mix of old favourites and new ones. They have a quiet confidence and self belief which despite the self-deprecating banter between songs sometimes shows just how darn good they are.  Tory mentioned that they didn’t have a chance for a pre-gig rehearsal as full band yet chose to open with new song Midnight Gremlins, and then another new one, Read Your Mind.  To me that shows how good they are, their belief in the songs and how tight they are as a band.  Their chemistry always shows through and they are a group of good friends who get along brilliantly so this energy flows off the stage in the songs. The core duo of Tory – looking extremely elegant with her hair up and sparkly gold top – and Mary, always extremely cool and letting her guitar do the talking, are joined by her colleagues from Hello Bear – Luke, Tom, and Daryl. Despite the jokes and quips they are a hard-working, professional outfit of highly talented musicians excellent at what they do and having fun doing it.  I am full of respect for them all.

 

hot raisin

 

hot raisin

 

The Raisins unleashed a terrific new EP a few weeks ago, the wonderful Forge Sessions which has already sold out of physical copies of the first pressing run but downloads can be purchased on their Bandcamp page (or downloaded for free!)

 

 

 

hot raisin

 

hot raisin

 

hot raisin

 

The previous times I have seen Chalky Seas have been in much smaller venues with informal set-ups so I was really struck by their big sound here. Using a drum kit helped too but their harmonies and how tight they were really impressed me.  They were good the last time I saw them but they have still come on leaps and bounds since then. They came off the stage to play a song unplugged amongst us toward the end of the set. This wasn’t in the slightest bit gimmicky and demonstrated their beautiful harmonies and delicate guitar playing.

 

chalky seas

 

I was unable to make the gig when Wooden Arms played the Old Shoe Factory gig last autumn due to being at another gig at OPEN so for a band I have seen so many times since their inception five years ago it felt an age since the last time our paths crossed.  In that time they have gained another member (on bass), released an album, and have a sound that has grown incredibly. Plus Jeff has become a father, which is the reason this gig had been postponed a couple of times since it was first announced at the beginning of the year, and Alex has married Em.

 

wooden arms

 

The sound is now huge at times but retaining the subtle, quieter moments, letting those gorgeous strings come to the fore.  Alex looked completely lost in the music for the first few numbers before his familiar chatty, witty side started to come out after fifteen minutes or so, to say how nice it was to be back and how much he was enjoying it.  I didn’t get a chance for a catch-up with him but it was good to see him back and pleasing to see how well the band are doing.

 

wooden arms

 

wooden arms

 

 

 

wooden arms

 

 

wooden arms

 

A fuller review will appear soon on the Outline Magazine website.

 

Many thanks to Outline Magazine, Craig at OPEN, Hot Raisin, Wooden Arms, and Chalky Seas.

 

 

all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2017

@RShashamane

http://woodenarms.co.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/pg/Woodenarmsband

http://www.facebook.com/chalkyseas/

https://hotraisinmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-forge-sessions

http://www.hotraisin.com/

https://hotraisinmusic.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/hotraisinmusic/

http://www.facebook.com/OPENVenue/

http://www.outlineonline.co.uk/

http://www.outlineonline.co.uk/content/wooden-arms/live-reviews-/120481/2486

http://www.facebook.com/NorwichLiveMusicPhotos

http://www.facebook.com/ShashamaneArtPhotography/

http://www.instagram.com/rshashamane/

Norwich: Music City, UK

Posted in Chalky Seas, Hot Raisin, live music and dance, Wooden Arms | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment