Anyone labouring under the outdated delusion that Norwich is some kind of sleepy musical backwater should perhaps come and spend a weekend in our fine city. On what is supposed to be a quiet time of year after the Christmas and New Year festivities Norwich has had no end of options. After the highly successful and packed out gig at the Arts Centre for Sam Green & the Midnight Heist, Feral Mouth, and Serious Sam Barrett on Friday I had a quiet night in on Saturday despite much going on in the city, but was tempted out again for a look at the some of the increasingly popular Sunday afternoon sessions.
Luckily on this particular Sunday the ones I was taken with seemed nicely staggered, so I headed to The Fat Cat Brewery Tap for Addision’s Uncle just after 3pm. I am more and more impressed with this band every time I see them, they are quite unique and today Philip was especially talkative and explaining the roots of the songs themselves and even the band name. I love the angle of the songwriting, be it about a former employee or even the delightful story of a mermaid carving seen on a pew in a Sheringham church. He researched the story and found it dull so made one up instead! The stories are built around these people and findings, very effectively. The sound is folky and quite ‘Norwich’, but they do a few covers too, Georgia especially impressive on The Devil Went Down to Georgia.
Addison’s Uncle play The Bicycle Shop this coming Thursday.
Unfortunately I missed the final ten minutes or so of the set as I had to meet some friends, and also wanted to catch the first set by Dumbfoundus at The Blueberry. This is a band always entertaining and unpretentious but fantastic good fun. They do covers in their own style, neither disprespectful not over-reverential, these ranged from Eek-a-Mouse’s Ganja Smuggling to The Beatles’ With a Little Help from my Friends. Great fun though these are I also love their own material, especially the likes of Proper Brew, detailing the important aspects of making the perfect cup of tea. Superb. Humour is of course a big part of who they are, and when asking for request and repeatedly being asked for their own songs Noel seemed horrified that they had been asked to do three originals in a row! Feel-good, uplifting music but these boys can certainly play too.
Just down the road from the Blueberry is the equally lovely Plasterers Arms, who tonight were hosting the He Hews to a packed crowd who loved every minute. Playing a mix of covers of ska, pop and even Abba’s Money Money Money in an eastern European polka style, it was brilliant and the audience adored it!
Norwich really seems to have something special about it at the moment, and it feels the more the rest of the country ignores what is going on here, the less we care and the music evolves in its own Madagascaran way to its own beat, and is all the richer for that but it is a shame in many ways that it is not exposed to more people. Great musicians and music abound at the moment. These are all cracking pubs too, with a wonderful atmosphere and a fantastic range of real ales.
All this music within a mile or so, and I even had a chance to catch the end of the Sunday jazz jam at the Lounge on the way home. Mellow and beautiful.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014