Banjaxeld, Matt Watson & The Rumours at Epic, and Vuvuvultures at Open, 4 July 2013, review
Summer has finally arrived?? Well this evening it felt like it, a glorious sunny day and balmy evening, it was nice to head to Epic in a light shirt, and arriving just after 8pm I think The Rumours had just started their set and I hope I had not missed too much. It was my first time seeing these two girls with guitars, rather like an indie version of The Woodland Creatures. For some reason I had imagined they might be some kind of all male rock band, for which I blame the subconscious effect of Graham Parker, so this was a good surprise! 🙂
I’d like to see them again, they performed really well and set highlights for me were Blackbird, and a superb cover of The xx’s ‘Crystalised’ which I particularly enjoyed after watching their amazing Glastonbury set on BBC.
Although the crowd did not fill the venue, which had the curtain closing it off from the larger part of the venue, the atmosphere was friendly and the mood much cosier like this. Also, the sound was superb, very warm, clear and spot on.
Matt Watson was the next to be heard in this way, and I am sure I am not alone in believing this was probably his best set so far. The set list was well-chosen with a good mix of his thoughtful observational songs, the romantic, the melancholy and the upbeat. Plus of course his recent excellent “And We Dance”. The audience was a really appreciative and attentive one, listening to all the words and I think And We Dance went down particularly well. He apologised once or twice for his self-deprecating rambling between songs but to me this is part of the charm of Matt Watson, it is endearing and brings the listener in. He performed flawlessly, his guitar playing as strong and clear as his voice.
Final act at Epic were Banjaxeld, who I enjoyed at The Birdcage with Stromm last week. Their longer set tonight sounded quite excellent with this Epic sound, which is surely one of the biggest strengths of this venue. It’s a lovely warm, analogue, organic and clear sound which is so pleasing. The bass was brilliant. Singer Jeff also had a nice line in gentle humour and between song conversations and references to home-town Lowestoft but it is in their songs and music where they really speak. Although they have influences of folk, Americana, Blues and Country in their songs they have an identity all their own, with a nice blend of covers and originals, from Willie Dixon’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ to the far less obvious but wonderful arrangement of The Cure’s ‘Close to Me. A highly likeable band and genuinely nice people too, in it for all the right reasons so more power to their elbow. Very accomplished musicians with super vocals, guitar, bass and extremely impressive percussion and drums. Lovely and friendly gig and good to see some familiar faces in the audience too.
A friend of mine was returning to Norwich for a couple of days but was at another gig, which sounded very interesting, so as Banjaxeld were closing their set with their final number I made a hasty dash to Open to catch some of the Vuvuvultures set. Apparently they had only been playing for about twenty minutes when I got there but all the same I still only caught three or four songs so it must have been a fairly brief set and I don’t feel I can really comment too much on the basis on seeing so little of them but I was a bit surprised they didn’t perform an encore, I was hoping to hear more. Speaking to some people afterwards opinion seemed divided. Some felt they were superb and others were less impressed, but I think the majority had a positive experience. Interesting.
words and photos by richard shashamane 2013