Bo Nanafana at the Spiegeltent, Norfolk and Norwich Festival, 2013 review
This was to be my first experience of the Norwich Bo Nanafana Social Club inside the Spiegeltent. What an occasion, timing and venue, it could not have been better!
The week in Norwich had been amazing, a full week of Festival events and activities, some fantastic results for the Norwich City Football Club, at all levels, and some great live music. Even on this day I had already been to one gig, seeing Stromm, Sefo Kanuteh, and The Bunkadoos at Olives – review here – when that finished I made a frantic dash across the city to reach Chapelfield Gardens and the Spiegeltent. Happily, I saw many, many familiar faces around I could chat to and catch up with, and then made my way inside. The Bo Nanafana people had done a beautiful job of decorating the already gorgeous Spiegeltent, in their own inimitable style. Drapes and flowers decorating the stage and bar, a booth area for the Shellac Collective with DJ78 and Greg’s Greats. I love the Spiegeltent, its domed carnival-tent roof, the wooden flooring, the nooks and crannies, and the atmosphere it generates. Marvellous!
As I arrived the band were just starting. Carmen Ghia and the Hotrods were a sensation. Looking every inch the part of a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll band, with double bass, harmonica, guitars and drums, horn section and an outstanding singer in the form of Carmen Ghia, she looked and sounded sensational and has a terrific voice. Belting out superb rock and bluesy numbers, playfully engaging with the audience, and a cool, sassy and sexy stage presence. The audience lapped it up also totally looking the part, everyone in retro clothes this was a step back in time. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced an atmosphere quite like this but I absolutely loved every moment of it and had a whale of a time. I’ve been re-living it in my head ever since and wish it didn’t have to end.
They played what I am fairly confident were largely their own compositions, looking and sounding the part. However, the cover of The Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” had to be heard to be believed! If this band had to be compared to anyone currently performing that would inevitably have to be Imelda May, but this band are just doing their own thing playing the stuff they love with great gusto, fun and enthusiasm, and boy did that come over. The whole place was rocking and dancing and the atmosphere was red hot.
When the band did finally leave the stage, after a couple of hours or so, we were left in the more than capable hands of the wonderful Shellac Collective, playing one scorcher after another until 2am eventually had to arrive. Brilliant stuff and a night I think I will always remember. Many thanks to all concerned for a hugely successful night and for all the work and effort that must have gone into the making of it.
review and photo by richard shashamane (c) 2013