Review of Dizraeli & the Small Gods, The Piratones, Solko, Differential at Epic Studios, Norwich, 31 May 2013
A most interesting line up of acts at Epic for this evening, opened by Norwich beatboxer Differential (Josh Hyland) with a short but impressive set demonstrating some amazing vocal skills.
Local favourites Solko were next on the bill, starting with some fine deep bassy grooves, drums, guitars and horn section drawing the audience closer to the stage to skank away as they always do. They mentioned that they hadn’t soundchecked and wanted some levels changing but to my ears they sounded at their most perfect as soon as they started. The audience danced throughout and looked to be having a great time.
Next up were The Piratones, another local band I have been listening to a lot lately and am loving more and more each time, and so I was therefore looking forward to hearing them live again. They did not disappoint. Solko’s Mikey appeared on stage again, this time in his role as saxophonist, as opposed to drummer. Still only 18 he is such a talented and versatile musician. Also featuring Robbie away from his drum role, here playing bass, and of course the delicious voice of Georgia, complimenting Dan’s lead. Both were full of smiles, clearly enjoying every moment and revelling on the bigger stage. Georgia has such a sweet voice which combines with Dan’s very well in their brand of reggae, ska and rocksteady.
I had never even heard tonight’s headliners Dizraeli & the Small Gods before tonight’s appearance, though I was most intrigued by their description of a unique brand of hiphop, and their bio:
Dizraeli and the Small Gods are a 7 piece band from Engurland, playing a melodic, unashamedly heartfelt reinvention of hiphop.
The band are winning over a number of fans with their distinctive sound and tickets are available here: http://bit.ly/15fdjBf
Headed by award-winning rapper and multi-instrumentalist Dizraeli and featuring World Female Beatbox Champion Bellatrix, The Small Gods formed in autumn 2009 to tour Diz’s debut solo album Engurland (City Shanties). Within a year the band had been invited to play on prestigious stages around the country, from Glastonbury’s West Holts stage to London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, and had collaborated with artists as diverse as Chris Wood (2x BBC Folk Singer of the Year) and Shlomo (beatboxer and World Loop Station Champion). After starting 2011 with a UK-wide tour and the release of their single Million Miles, Dizraeli and the Small Gods were featured at over 25 festivals including Reading, Leeds, Latitude and Glastonbury, and earned themselves something approaching a cult following for their live shows.
Dizraeli and the Small Gods in 2012 and 2013
With a fresh set of songs to play and a brand new album on the way, Dizraeli and the Small Gods continue to rise. They’ve already got a German tour (Dizraeli solo), shows at the Barbican and Southbank Centre, several sellout gigs and two BBC Introducing live sessions under their belts this year, the summer saw them with appearances in Germany, Poland and France, main stage shows at many UK festivals and a set at the notoriously picky WOMAD. A Dizraeli and the Small Gods new E.P will be released in November and their new album will be released in early 2013 on ECC Records, with a full tour of the UK.
“Folk or hip hop? I don’t know, but Dizraeli and the Small Gods make me realise howwonderful it is to hear real English – fluent, witty and arresting” – The Times Saturday Review March 2012
“A standing ovation at the end (a near unheard-of phenomenon in the sedate Poetry Tent) … reaffirmed my continued belief that whatever form Diz is playing in, he’s deserving of a much higher status. Definitely one to catch at every opportunity.” – Music News, Latitude Festival July 2011
“Laura Marling is introduced as one of the biggest folk singers of all time… It’s Dizraeli and the Small Gods, however, telling touching, funny stories of riots, atheism and Englishness though folk, rap, spoken word and hymns, who embody 21st Century folk” – The Independent Sep 2011
Not usually my favourite of musical genres, they did sustain my interest throughout and are undoubtedly talented and groundbreaking, they certainly could not be labelled as generic. Totally innovative and diverse, an array of instruments including an upright bass, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, fiddle, keyboards, drums and percussion, in fact at one stage bassist Bellatrix took the mic for an absolutely breathtaking demonstration of her human beatbox talents, it is no surprise she is World Female Beatbox champion, it was stunning.
Multi-instrumentalist Cate Ferris also provided vocal alongside mc Dizraeli, at times even reminding me of Sugarcubes era Bjork.
This band went down an absolute storm and everyone I spoke to was mightily impressed, as indeed was I, although on the night the act I enjoyed the most was the ever-improving Piratones, whom I was totally in the right mood for, and their style of reggae sounded just perfect on the larger stage. I think having heard Dizraeli & the Small Gods only the once – at this event – I am perhaps at this stage more of an admirer of what they are trying to do than of the songs themselves, but that is not their fault and just means I need to listen to their music some more now.
More photos to follow …
words and photos by richard shashamane 2013