Stacked! Sam Green and the Midnight Heist, Feral Mouth, and Serious Sam Barrett at Norwich Arts Centre, 10 January 2014, review and photos.
This was a keenly anticipated event at our beloved Arts Centre. Probably the first big gig of the year, demand for this Stacked! event was massive on the night, with a large number of ticketless music fans unable to get in for this fine line up.
Such is the appeal of Feral Mouth and their relaxed rapport with everyone they meet that the place was packed with people who all seemed to know each other, or if that is stretching it there were certainly plenty of familiar faces in attendance.
Starting the night off was Serious Sam Barrett, whose music was introduced to me by Jape, and someone I was lucky enough to see with the Ferals at the Bicycle Shop last year. He explained that he had a very difficult journey down from Leeds, only just arriving in time for the gig – I gather he was literally ushered onstage straight from his car. Without that explanation nobody would have guessed, he delivered a marvellous and professional set in his modest, unassuming manner. Plucking his 12-string and singing tales in his amazing voice he held the audience rapt and got a very well deserved warm ovation at the end.
It’s been quite a while since Feral Mouth played in Norwich, certainly a gig of this size, and that was only adding to the sense of occasion and wonderful atmosphere in the Arts Centre tonight. Beforehand Jape intriguingly promised a surprise or two. The first of which was immediately apparent – Gareth was onstage! Having recently seriously injured his thumb in an accident nobody was expecting to see him on the stage this evening, and still in a cast this was probably the first time he had held a banjo in months, so of course everyone gave him a raised “Thumbs Up”!. Also in the line-up was Noel of Dumbfoundus once again, with his new dobro. I’m fairly sure Jape introduced him as the newest member of the band so if this is permanent this will be really interesting and will certainly augment their sound. These boys are so amiable and modest but they create a glorious sound and each of them is a highly accomplished musician.
They wowed the audience tonight, and from the look of things I think they were enjoying it as much as the packed, dancing audience, who were treated to old and new favourites plus a couple of brand new numbers too.
The wonderfully-named Sam Green and the Midnight Heist, from the west of the country are another group I only learned of through Feral Mouth and it’s plain to see why they are so enthusiastically championed. Looking relaxed and calm in bobble hat and Gogol Bordello t-shirt Sam Green on lap slide guitar seems to play so effortlessly brilliantly. They play some gorgeous blues/country/bluegrass and had the audience going totally wild for them. The delighted faces at the front was so heart-warming and the band too appeared to be loving their appearance in Norfolk. Norwich Arts Centre was totally rocking tonight, big congratulations to all the performers for a marvellous night of first rate music. Norwich adores live music and it was just a shame so many were outside unable to get in – so all the more reason to bring these guys back again!
Our first big show of 2014, we’ve got this one lined up for a big roll into the next year in one of the countries most musically blessed cities. Coming over from Devon, Sam Green and the Midnight Heist.
———— SAM GREEN AND THE MIDNIGHT HEIST —————–
“His contemporary finger-picked folk songs evoke John Fahey, but also shares much in common with the multi Brit-winning Ben Howard, and wouldn’t be out of place supporting Mumford & Sons especially when reaching impressive thigh-slapping speeds on the rollicking “Miles Away”, when they turn the space into a full-on barn-dance.” – Elisa Bray, The Independent
“Combining strong melodies and a classic retro sound. Kicking out the folk blues jams!” – Sam Bonham, BBC Introducing in the West
”…contemporary folks songs of freewheeling wisdom” – The Canteen, Bristol
“British folk rock that’s got the earthiness missing from the pop efforts we often hear.” – Supajam
‘…tremendous folk riffs, big choruses and West-Country charm’ – The Vintage Scribbler
A refreshing blend of the old bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, folk musicians like John Martyn and the modern day roots artists John Butler and Xavier Rudd, Sam Green and the Midnight Heist hail from the south of Devon. Their sound resonates with the delta blues of the old Mississippi blues men and Britain’s folk tradition old and new. The 4 piece, led by Sam Green, have spent the last six months relentlessly touring the south of England developing their sound and the songs on their new EP ‘Miles Away.’
******* LISTEN ******** https://soundcloud.com/sgatmh
———————FERAL MOUTH ———————
“Raucous irresistable Bluegrass with Rock n Roll flair” – Louise Rodgers (Americana-UK)
“A hirsute bunch of musical rascals making some of the most beguiling music you will hear all year” – Richard Penguin (Future Radio)
The captivating sound of Americana music has drifted far and wide from its Appalachian roots. And across the Atlantic, rural Norfolk-based country band Feral Mouth find common ground with many of its qualities; heart felt honesty, passion and communicability to the common man are foundations for their music. In a world where Pixies once presented a dark cynical alternative to the trends of the time, Feral Mouth take their place reclaiming that voice just when the rest of Folk music seems bound for the mainstream.
Intertwining guitar, cello, banjo, mandolin, upright bass and skiffle drums alongside soulful harmonies, they create an authentic homage to roots country music, whilst stirring lyrics pose socio-political questions and heartfelt emotional narratives.
In the three years since forming, the band have been busy gathering a keen local following whilst expanding their horizons with smaller gigs and festival appearances nationally, including Acoustic Festival Of Britain, Maverick Festival, Latitude Festival, Symmetry Festival, Play Fest, Canterbury Festival, Brixton Windmill, Floridita Soho, The Spiegaltent, and more. Encouraged by reactions to their 2011 eight track EP and energetic live performances since, Feral Mouth are excited to be releasing their debut album Spring 2014
******** LISTEN *********
————SERIOUS SAM BARRETT —————————
All the way from Leeds, and a constant inspiration to Feral Mouth and many others!
Old before his years country-folk fellow who mixes intricate John Fahey fingerpicking with confessional tales of dirty old Leeds-THE GUARDIAN (PICK OF THE WEEK)
Yorkshirecana bluegrass brilliance from Serious Sam. He plays a mean 12 string resonator, mixing songs about his home county with traditional southern folk stompers. There’s authenticity, there’s soul – someone to get very excited about.”- ARTROCKER.COM
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014