BFR music nights return to Norwich with new home at the Bowling House

For a number of years legendary figure of the Norwich music scene Alex Carson ran regular music nights across the city showcasing local musical talent through his Bare Feet Records (BFR) gigs at venues such as The Birdcage, Plasterers, Gonzo’s and even some special BFR nights at Norwich Arts Centre and OPEN. It was through BFR that I first came across many of my favourites such as Milly Hirst, Phoebe Troup and Birds of Hell (BoH played their first gig at one of these nights).


A few years ago Alex relocated to London and although the gigs continued “remotely” for a while it’s been some time since they stopped but that’s all about to change with BFR nights soon to be resurrected in a new home, The Bowling House on Dereham Road, opposite the Reindeer.  A spring run of nights and line-ups have already been confirmed with further details on Facebook event pages.

lisa redford

Lisa Redford

They will take place fortnightly on Thursdays with the current run commencing on Thursday 5 March 2020 and with an opening night featuring Lisa Redford, Yve Mary B, Chad Mason, and Tangles. Doors are at 7pm and admission is £4 (advance) and £6 on the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at:

Yve Mary B

Yve Mary B

chad mason

Chad Mason

Other names already confirmed for future BFR at BH nights include: The Turf Club Racebook, Niamh, (the) Red Dear, Alexander Carson, Hot Raisin.

(c) shashamane 2020


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify:

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Smoke Fairies + John J. Presley @ NAC 3 February 2020

Just beforehand I worked out that the last time I saw Smoke Fairies was in this same venue some eight years earlier, and this was their first visit since then, I believe, so it was a very welcome return. A healthy sized crowd with some obvious travelling devotees emphasised that there is a lot of love for Smoke Fairies and that people were looking foreward to seeing them again.

Smoke Fairies

Smoke Fairies at Norwich Arts Centre in 2020

smoke fairies

Smoke Fairies at Norwich Arts Centre in 2012

John J. Presley is also someone I have seen before, I quickly realised, as he started his moody, atmospheric guitar and drums bluesy rock. Considerably more recently though as I think he appeared at Red Rooster 2020.

John J. PresleyJohn J. Presley

He also joined the Smoke Fairies for their headline set which went down well with a warmly appreciative audience. The humorous banter was delightfully and charmingly awkward at times and I think the love just grew stronger for them.  More gothic blues rock than folk the songs have a haunting and deeply atmospheric quality.

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One of my older favourites from the band is Hotel Room, which alas they did not play, but even on first hearing at the gig the new songs are strong.  New album Disconnect is out now.

Smoke Fairies


“Smoke Fairies have announced the release their first album for four years. “Darkness Brings The Wonders Home” will be released on January 31st coupled with new tour dates for the band. The first single to be taken from the album “Disconnect” is released today on all streaming platforms.

Jessica and Katherine travelled to Seattle to record Darkness Brings The Wonders Home with producer Phil Ek (The Black Angels, Fleet Foxes, The Shins) and over the course of a rigorous month-long session in Seattle, adopted a purposely intimate approach to achieving a singular sonic tone.

In the making of Darkness Brings The Wonders Home, Smoke Fairies drew inspiration from mysteries both real and imagined: sea monsters, flocks of crows taking flight in extravagant formation, strange creatures dwelling in the mud near their new South London abode.

“Times of darkness are when people are often the most imaginative,” says Jessica Davies in reflecting on the album’s title. “It helps you to see all the wonders of the world you hadn’t noticed before – the things you’ve been blind to because you’ve been on autopilot for so long.”

To celebrate the album’s release Smoke Fairies have announced a tour starting in Manchester on February 1st 2019. The band dropped new track “Out Of The Woods” in August and follow it with first single “Disconnect” which is released on streaming and download platforms today.”

(c) shashamane 2020


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify:

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Bavarien Rocket Groop album launch @ Space Studios 31 January 2020

Shane O’Linski’s Bavarien Rocket Groop launched their new album Eine Kleine Musik in a joint Off With Their Records / Ideal Surreal presentation at Space Studios, with strong supports from Lucille and the Seals, Joey Herzfeld Band, and Hydra Lerna.

Bavarien Rocket Groop

It probably wouldn’t be a proper BRG gig if there was not some sort of hitch and this time it was a late back injury (something I completely sympathise with!) to drummer Andrew rendering him unable to play but Jack from Lucille and the Seals nobly deputised at very short notice, I think he only had one quick listen to the CD shortly beforehand to prepare but as we know, Shane’s sets can be unpredictable at the best of times with things changed here and there. Jack did a fantastic job though and along with Shane, Bromley, Oskari and Becky hit absolute greatness particularly towards the end of the set with a 15-20 minute jam that was just magnificent.

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(c) shashamane 2020


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify:

Posted in bavarian rocket group, ideal surreal, live music and dance, Lucille, Lucille and the Seals, off with their records | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

BC Camplight + Birds of Hell @ NAC 27 January 2020

It appears to be an annual tradition for me that January is all about re-charging followed by the slow process of emergence from hibernation and so for only my second gig night of the year, fittingly during Independent Venue Week, I headed back to Norwich Arts Centre for the visit of BC Camplight with support from our own Birds of Hell.

bc camplight

Around 8:20pm Birds of Hell kicked things off in front of a good-sized crowd whom they quickly won over. Locals needed no converting but BC Camplight clearly inspires passionate devotion from his fans (as I was to learn later on) and so there was a significant portion of the audience who had travelled from other parts of the country and were experiencing Birds of Hell for the first time. Pete and the rest of the band were all in terrific form and in their half hour set made a strong impression on fans old and new. They also highlighted a couple of new songs, the wonderful Sleaford Mods-esque M.E.U. – the Musicians Exercise Unit – with the boys all sporting headbands and exercise moves, and another song whose name escapes me that was equally impressive. They won a lot of new admirers and I heard many compliments and was delighted to see they’d practically sold all their merch. Birds of Hell were outstanding.

Birds of Hell

Catch Birds of Hell in Norwich again on 6 March when they play Karma for the Ideal Surreal/Peach Club Charlie/ Shane O’Linski gig.


People were down the front well in advance of the appearance of Philadelphian BC Camplight and band and there were those who seemed to know and sang along with every word of every song.  An impressive and charismatic chap, between swigs from the bottle of white wine he told us the story of his deportation from and subsequent return to the UK, putting it into song on Deportation Blues and indeed the rest of his impressive and varied set.

BC Camplight

“BC Camplight is the moniker of maverick songsmith Brian Christinzio. The Philadelphian turned Mancunian is considered one of indie music’s most forward-thinking artists with a discography which acts as a soundtrack to a life rife with bad fortune, mental illness, running afoul of the law, and ultimately absolute redemption. Whilst living in Philadelphia Christinzio performed live with The War On Drugs in between releasing 2 critically successful yet commercially ignored records. He was also a coveted session pianist lending his talents to scores of albums, perhaps most notably Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Epic’.


After a period of homelessness and running on fumes creatively Christinzio made a move across the Atlantic to Manchester, UK in an effort take control of his life and reshuffle his musical deck. The result was the recording of 2015’s ode to Manchester and baroque pop tour de force “How To Die In The North”. The recordings resulted in a record deal with Bella Union Records and placed Christinzio on a path towards artistic fulfilment. However, a severe leg injury landed Christinzio in the hospital where he was forced to remain whilst his UK work visa expired. Despite pleas to the Home Office to allow the ailing artist to apply for an extension a decision was made that would forever alter Brian personally and artistically.


The day after his record was released Christinzio was Deported from the UK and banned from returning. “How To Die In The North” was essentially shelved. After 16 months of separation from the UK the resilient Christinzio was reunited with his beloved Manchester, gaining entry through newly acquired Italian citizenship. His most recent, and most lauded album “Deportation Blues” is an exhilarating dynamic document of calamity and stress, relayed through richly melodic arrangements spanning songwriter classicism, gnarled synth pop, 50’s filth-rock, and various odd junctions in between mirroring the creators fractured mindset. It is an immensely powerful diary chronicling an impossible set of life circumstances whilst shining a white-hot spotlight on the composer’s off-kilter brilliance. The album has since been revered by critics, become a stalwart on the BBC Radio 6 Music playlist (BBC 6 Music 2018 album of the year as voted by Marc Riley), and put BC Camplight back on the stage where he belongs.”


With a slew of tours and festivals on the horizon Christinzio, a remarkably relentless entertainer, will bring his immense new live show to the UK and Europe. “It’s no fun giving an audience a standard show that they can get elsewhere” explains Christinzio. “Sometimes it’s intense, sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes it’s basically a fucking stand-up routine. I always like to involve the audience and make it memorable for everyone involved. I think we are one of the best live bands in the world and it’s an odd feeling finally getting an opportunity to get in front of loads of ears and eyes. In a perfect world I’d be able to organise a concert on the roof of the Home Office one day”.


“Utterly compelling… Taking the fractured pop of Van Dyke Parks into a realm of synth–deep neurosis, droning chords and stoned piano jazz, managing to somehow square a circle connecting Prince, Suicide and Dennis Wilson.” Uncut – 8/10


“An absorbing aural journey… Deportation Blues melds nods to Randy Newman, doo wop–pop, rococo Rundgren–isms, AIR–evoking electronics and late night jazz.” MOJO – 4 Stars ****


BC Camplight Website | Facebook | Twitter | Spotify | Soundcloud


(c) shashamane 2020


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify:

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Red Rooster festival announces second wave line-up for Euston Hall this May

Asleep at the Wheel celebrate 50th Anniversary with live UK festival exclusive at Red Rooster 2020


Plus, Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express, Reverend John Wilkins, CC Adcock & The Lafayette Marquis, Tommy McLain, Jontavious Willis, Izo Fitzroy w/ Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, The Vagaband Youth Orchestra, also announced.

red rooster banner

Red Rooster is delighted to announce the second wave of artists for 2020 which includes a host of exclusive and special performances headed up by Asleep at the Wheel who celebrate their 50-year anniversary with their only 2020 UK festival appearance at Euston Hall in May.

Main man Ray Benson & the band recently starred in the BBC4 Ken Burns Country Music show appearing in nearly every episode of the acclaimed documentary series.  Ray Benson has been the one constant in Asleep at the Wheel since the band’s inception in 1970 in Paw Paw, West Virginia. Since that time, more than 100 musicians have passed through the Wheel, but Benson remains the front man and the keeper of the vision. In the process, the band has released more than 25 albums, earned 10 Grammy awards, an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, Academy of Country Music Award, Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction, and racked up millions of miles on the road.


Joining Asleep at the Wheel and the previously announced Richard Hawley, North Mississippi Allstars and The Sheepdogs, will be SEVEN other amazing artists including Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express. Chuck Prophet started his wild ride as a kid back in 1984 when Green on Red plucked him out of Berkeley, CA and threw him in the van for an eight-year ride and the recording of as many albums.


Red Rooster is very proud to host the first ever UK festival performance of Reverend John Wilkins and his 8-piece gospel blues band from Mississippi. Reverend Wilkins follows in the footsteps of his father Robert Wilkins who first recorded Prodigal Son, famously covered by The Rolling Stones on Beggars Banquet.

Reverend John Wilkins_ (002)lores

Representing Louisiana will be Swamp Rock Kings CC Adcock & The Lafayette Marquis and the legendary Tommy McLain. 


Jontavious Willis, protégé of Taj Mahal and Keb Mo makes his UK festival debut. Izo FitzRoy drops a special Red Rooster gospel and blues set backed up by the heavenly sound of the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. Opening the Main Stage on Saturday morning will be another Rooster exclusive – The Vagaband Youth Orchestra! Local heroes The Vagaband collaborating with the Sistema in Norwich Youth Orchestra.


Red Rooster 2020 is surely rolling out one of its best line ups to date. Announced artists’ billing so far is as follows:


Richard Hawley, Asleep at the Wheel

North Mississippi Allstars, Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express, The Sheepdogs

Reverend John Wilkins, Tommy McLain, Nicole Atkins, Jim Lauderdale

CC Adcock & The Lafayette Marquis, Jontavius Willis, Izo FitzRoy, Vagaband Youth Orchestra

MFC Chicken, Sister Suzie, The Fuzillis, Mudlow


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


“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


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Bavarien Rocket Groop album launch preview. Space Studios for Off With Their Records


Bavarien Rocket Groop are one of the city’s best and most unique bands albeit not one of its best known. That may be about to change with the imminent release of their debut album thanks to Off With Their Records.  Even to some of those who know and love them, it may possibly be a surprise that the band has been in existence for the best part of two decades. Welcome to the extraordinary and ever evolving world of the Bavarien Rocket Groop, led by the legendary and ever-inventive Shane O’Linski (who has done as much as anyone in the city to support the music community, offering people an early chance to perform at one of the many hundreds of gigs he has put on). With a host of brilliant local musicians at its core and passing through its ranks the gigs have been sporadic though not infrequent through the years and they’ve played the Arts Centre, both Owl Sanctuaries, Cactus Cafe, Jurnet’s Bar and many other venues.  Like The Fall, BRG could be called always the same, always different, Shane can impulsively change a lyric, verse or even sometimes the structure of a song on a whim, keeping everyone on their toes onstage and in the audience. The influences of post-punk, psych, Cope, The Beatles, Barrett et al. are detectable but BRG create something altogether unquely wonderful and interesting. With Shane at its heart how could it be otherwise.


Some of these songs will be familiar to those in the know who have followed the gigs but now we will be able to hear them at home too with the much-anticipated release of Eine Kleine Musik which will be released by Off With Their Records and features a number of notable musicians from the local gig circuit. To launch it there will be a gig at Space Studios on Friday 31 January, a collaboration between Off With Their Records and Ideal Surreal, the first in a new arrangement of regular gigs at the venue. Supports will be from Lucille and the Seals, The Joey Herzfeld Band and Hydra Lerna, with djs following until 3am. Come along to the gig and buy the album, you might be surprised at just how many familiar names are involved. I won’t spoil that surprise, experience Bavarien Rock Groop for yourself at the top of this very strong line-up. It looks like it could be quite a memorable night and it’s even free entry.


Off with their Records and Ideal Surreal are two stalwarts of the Norwich music scene. Now they join forces to bring you a regular night of musical hijinks, the last Friday of every month at Space Studios.

Over the course of this year expect to see big headliners, album release shows, sets from the best bands in Norwich and beyond as well as newcomers and fledgeling acts. We’re dedicated to showcasing and nurturing all the talent Norwich has to offer and creating live events with something special about them that makes them unmissable.

Plus Indie/Punk/New-Wave DJs until 3am, this is the place to go for those late night drinks and alternative club night vibes.

As the live face of Off with their Records this is the place to come to pick up CDs, we’ll always have a little merch shop there with special deals and freebies for all.

For our first folly we have the album launch of Shane Olinski’s Bavarien Rocket Groop. This little selection of songs from Shane’s prodigious output, as performed by his longest-running band, is the crème de la crème of Norwich’s one and only psych-pop guru.

Add a diverse selection of support acts, alternative DJs until late and FREE ENTRY and you’ve got yourself a hell of a gig.

Bavarien Rocket Groop – anti-pop psych-rock
Lucille and the Seals – dreamy indie alternative
Joey Herzfeld Band – sardonic jazz-inflected songsmith
Hydra Lerna – electro-pop

+alternative club night till 3am

Space Studios is behind Karma Kafe, entrance opposite Turtle Bay.


bavarian rocket group

Shane O’Linski with Bavarien Rocket Groop

Shane O'Linskishane o'linski and the ornithologistsshane o'linski

blueberry jam, shane

(c) shashamane

lucille and the sealslucillelucille and the seals

Joey Herzfeldjoey herzfeldthe joey herzfeld trio

abigail blake


brg poster

(c) shashamane 2020


Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify:

Posted in bavarian rocket group, Hydra Lerna, ideal surreal, Joey Herzfeld Trio, live music and dance, Lucille, Lucille and the Seals, News, off with their records, Shane O' Linski | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Upstairs Planet : Martin Newell + Long Swords @ NAC 9 January 2020

About 30 years inbetween my first and second times of seeing Martin Newell perform around about 1989. Somewhat amazingly he recalled that “unseasonably warm February lunchtime” way back then when, as Brotherhood of Lizards, he stopped off in Norwich on his cycling tour to play outside in the UEA square. It was so mild that I was having my lunch on the steps. At the end of the set I bought a copy of the album Lizardland, which I still have.

Martin Newell

Last night’s screening of Upstairs Planet at NAC, a film about Martin and The Cleaners from Venus was excellent. As well as DJ sets from Long Swords we were even treated to a short set by Martin himself. My first gig of the year and it was a really good one. Wreckless Eric and Gladboy was there audience too.

Upstairs PlanetLong SwordsUpstairs PlanetUpstairs PlanetUpstairs Planet

The film itself – introduced on the night by director Graham Bendel – was very informative, interesting and often amusing and to have a set from Martin himself really was a privilege to hear. In the bar Long Swords kept us entertained before and after with a selection of the obscure interspersed with some more well known old favourites (Magazine’s The Light Pours Out of Me for example) There is another chance to hear them when they do their monthly evening at the Louis Marchesi Crypt on Saturday from 9pm-1am. As for when we get another chance to hear Martin Newell, who knows, when the fancy takes him, and if he does another cycling tour of East Anglia.

Coincidentally, it was around about that 1989-90 period that I first met David Eastaugh too, who now presents The C86 Show on Future Radio and he did a nice interview with Martin ahead of the gig which can be heard here.

Upstairs Planet: a film about Cleaners From Venus & the Universe of Martin Newell

With introduction from the director, special short performance from Martin Newell + DJ sets from Thogdin Ripley & Nikki Hirst (Long Swords)

There will be a film screening with an introduction by the director plus special guest Martin Newell will be playing a short live set of Cleaner’s songs, solo songs and possibly a poem or two.

Martin Newell is a poet, songwriting genius and the Godfather of British Lo-Fi. ‘Upstairs Planet’ is an independent film about the greatest band you’ve possibly not heard of: Cleaners From Venus. They were the jangly-guitar, synth-driven outliers from the edges of the 1980s, and beyond.

Looking like the “keeper of a 19th-century asylum” – Newell gives us his eccentric, irascible world view and hints at why he’s admired by so many well-known artistes (MGMT, XTC, Ariel Pink, John Cooper Clarke, Mac deMarco, etc).

We’re talking cassette culture, DIY punk attitude and intelligent, poetic lyricism that should have found a much wider audience.

Graham Bendel’s previous films include ‘Derailed Sense’ (about Vic Godard & Subway Sect ) and ‘Billy Childish is Dead’ (nominated for a British Independent Film Award).

7pm doors | 8pm start

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Norwich: Music City, UK

Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify:

Posted in Best gigs, live music and dance, Long Swords, Norwich Arts Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment