Socialicious at The Bicycle Shop, Norwich, featuring Dr. Bluegrass & the Illbilly 8, Inlay, and Feral Mouth. This event was originally scheduled to be taking place at the considerably larger OPEN, but with Cakes and Ale unable to get to Norwich this time, and Feral Mouth banjo player Gareth away in Morocco it was moved at short notice to the Bicycle Shop for a predominantly acoustic night.
Not surprisingly the place was packed, with also many local musicians in attendance, including Milly Hirst and the Woodland Creatures. First on the bill was Feral Mouth, playing without PA. I like hearing the Ferals in their different incarnations and set ups. Jape took this opportunity to air for the first time one or two new songs. These sounded very interesting, slow and thoughtful with his always excellent songwriting. Guesting tonight with the band once again was Noel from Dumbfoundus playing harmonica and dobro, a great instrument, steel slide guitar. He always adds something to the Ferals’ overall sound and suits them perfectly. Recent song Old Man sounded especially brilliant tonight, and it was a perfect setting to hear it.
During the gap between a couple of songs one member of the audience stood up to make an impassioned speech and plea to those talking a little too loudly to show some respect and quieten down during songs. This was met with almost as much applause as some of the songs and it seemed to do the trick.
Next on were Inlay, a local band I was seeing and hearing for the first time. Here is an excerpt from their bio:
INLAY are an engaging, collaborative four-piece group formed in 2010 whilst studying music in Norwich. These four musicians make use of traditional melodies from the British Isles, rooting them firmly within the folk-genre. In other respects, Inlay question categorisation; drawing upon elements of each individual’s diverse musical background, and incorporating original material into many of their intricate compositions. With the aid of: violin, accordion, guitar, 5-string banjo, slide guitar, bodhrán, percussion, mandolin and captivating vocal harmonies, they produce rich and full-bodied compositions. This distinct blend of contemporary-folk mixed with bags of energy provides audiences with one of the best live performances on the circuit.
Inlay have shared stages with such acts as Dervish, Lucy Ward, Emily Portman, Calan, Joe Broughton and Kevin Dempsey.
“Inlay is a very impressive debut album with a visionary take on what folk music can be and where it might go.” ★★★★ R2 – Rock ‘n’ Reel
“Something for the traditionalist, something for the modernist – and something for you.” Bright Young Folk
“Touching and rather beautiful modern folk.” Timeout
They were very interesting, playing some English folk, making use of accordion, bhodran, mandolin, guitars, banjo, fiddle and more, and the vocals are indeed lovely. On a couple of tracks towards the end of the set they made some clever use of loops.
Tonight’s final act, headliners Dr Bluegrass from Brighton, played an energetic mix of folk, bluegrass and Americana. A couple of tracks I even recognised from Feral Mouth sets, who also cover them, but in very different styles and tempos.
Incredibly they also did I Wanna Be Like You from Jungle Book, a song I seem to be hearing a lot at gigs lately, is there a Jungle Book revival on the music scene I was unaware of? This got the crowd going and singing along. The band strike me as very in synch with one another, and I would guess they must have some years experience of busking together. A good band, who a few times reminded me slightly of Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three. Towards the end of the set they were joined by Jape to round off the evening an a really high note.
Another lovely night out, pre-festival season in Norwich, and thanks again to Pedz for bringing it to us. Special mention to Rob Powell of MAS whose birthday it was the next day.
Review and photos by Richard shashamane (c) 2013