Hubs Gigs presents Addison’s Uncle, George Cheetham, Kolin Durier, Max Longman at The Bicycle Shop cafe, Norwich, 16 January 2014, review and photos.
My second visit to one of my favourite venues in the city on my favourite street, the gorgeous Bicycle Shop in St Benedicts for another Hubs music night. Once again the place was pretty much full on a “school night” as Norwich continues to enthusiastically support live music and new local talent. The first of which this evening was Max Longman, a singer-songwriter playing one of his first gigs. He did not appear to be at all nervous, or at least did not let nerves show if he felt them and delivered a professional set of earnest and heartfelt songs and stories which went down very well with the attentive audience.
Max was followed by another artist I was seeing for the first time, Kolin Durier, who played a varied set and made some excellent use of loops, building songs layer upon layer which worked nicely. There were a couple of standout tracks for me, one of which was Heartbeat which he introduced quite touchingly as being about his nephew. He creates a surprisingly big sound with the percussives and loop pedal, and his singing style has a hint of Jack Johnson about it, and possibly Ed Sheeran too.
I have met George Cheetham once before, at BBC Introducing, I really liked his work and he is a nice chap too, so I was interested to hear him in a proper gig setting for the first time. He was excellent today, strong vocals and interesting songs – quite powerful at times, with excellent, clearly delivered lyrics which were really interesting and fairly graphic in one or two places. He engaged nicely with the audience, got us singing backing vocals for one song. Nice to see a melodica used outside of a dub setting too – an impressive set from George, who is temporarily based in Colchester but is very much a local lad.
I reviewed the excellent Addison’s Uncle a few days ago as part of the sunday sessions so I shall try not to repeat myself. Once again performing as a five piece I was looking forward to properly listening again to their songs and stories, and I also wanted to redeem myself by making a more representative video of one of their own songs. They are in some ways an unusual band but all the more fascinating for that (they have an interesting story about the name of the band too, which you may hear explained at a gig sometime) with guitars, fiddle, ukelele, bass and occasional drum. I’ve seen them quite a few times in various permutations of the line up and always enjoyed them but it’s these past few months where I feel I am just “getting” them much more than I did previously. The lyrics and stories are just wonderful, and sometimes just charmingly introduced. Do try and catch them some time and give them your full attention and the lyrics and music will reward you tenfold. They are nice people and super musicians too, they are more than capable of playing covers and some lively uplifting Irish folk reels too but tonight was about their own compositions, which everyone listened to attentively, enjoyed, and several times joined in with. A lovely band, they don’t take themselves too seriously but don’t be deceived by that, there is much going on in their music. The lyrics at times could stand alone as stories or even conversations, and some of them very funny too. Lovely to see the band all enjoying themselves so much onstage too, albeit cramped on the Bicycle Shop’s tiny stage!
Many thanks to Ash and Mikey at Hubs, The Bicycle Shop, and all the acts and artists.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014