Dr. Clyde, The Grazing Saints, Cine Club, Bavarian Rocket Group at The Marquee, Norwich, 14 December 2013. Birds of Hell at NAC Bar. Review and photos.
I’d somehow never been to this venue before so was intrigued to see The Marquee for this gig with a super line up, curated by Joe Quinn of the Grazing Saints. It’s certainly an odd pub, it felt like stepping back into one of the venues of the early 1980s. Still no beer on tap and The Levellers on constant play in the main bar but at the back was a wonderfully dark and dingy music box of a back room with stage and sound desk, with a good overall sound.
After the seemingly interminable soundchecks The Bavarian Rocket Group opened the music for the night. I hadn’t recognised the name on the flyers but I most certainly recognised the line up. Featuring the collective leftfield genius of Shane O’Linksi and Chad Mason this is a band that almost defies description but I will say they produce an amazing punky and eclectic cacaphony of noise. Probably the closest thing we have to a Norwich version of The Fall at the moment.
Cine Club were a new one on me, a four-piece indie rock band who I know very little about.
The Grazing Saints have been much-missed since their previous drummer (Robbie) left Norwich to further his studies in London and I don’t believe they have played since Howlback Hum in the summer as Robbie’s farewell (also on the bill with BRG). They now have a more than capable replacement in Michele who fits in seamlessly. Paul, as ever, was accomplished in his great bass playing and Joe seemed to be really enjoying himself too. The set went down a storm and my only disappointment was that it could not have lasted longer and included Windows but we were running well behind schedule and still had Dr Clyde to look forward to.
This was the first time I’d seen them since the Next Big Thing final, and they too were in excellent form, clearly enjoying themselves and obliging the audience who absolutely demanded an encore. Despite no soundcheck the sound was actually just about spot-on and the sounded wonderful. Jasper has to be one of the most effortlessly charismatic and compelling performers in the city and he was in great form. I have seen Dr Clyde play many times now, and don’t think any two sets have been even similar – I love them for this!
Earlier in the day I had the great pleasure and fortune to catch Pete Murdoch performing as Birds of Hell in the Arts Centre Bar in the afternoon. This was an informal but marvellous and very entertaining set, once again featuring his son for the first song too. Most of the Birds of Hell songs are quite personal with family being a recurring theme but done with much warmth, tenderness and a lot of love. It’s genuinely touching to hear him talk of his family and describing the songs he has written for his kids, who were in attendance too. The songs are interesting, evolving and engaging. Pete is another in a long and ever-growing list of my favourite local performers.