Natalie Lake, Matt Watson, AKA @ The Murderers Open mic, and The Sid James Infirmary at Take 5, Norwich, January 17-18, review and photos.
It is probably only two or three months since I heard Natalie Lake perform but it felt like so much longer, and I was missing hearing her voice very much. So for this reason, and also to catch Matt Watson again I headed to The Gardener’s Arms (known much better locally as The Murderers) in the hope that I could catch them and also Blood Bird again at The Birdcage.
Oddly enough the excellent Sound of Sight was down as appearing at both events but I sadly missed him on this occasion.
When I arrived it was just before the house musicians took to the stage playing a mix of numbers, the highlight of which, for me, was No Woman No Cry.
Soon after was the lovely chap that is Matt Watson. I am aware that he has started busking on the streets of Norwich lately, and his character is perfectly suited to this, as are his songs. It showed too, he sounded like a finely honed musical athlete after fitness training at the the peak of health playing with great assurance, confidence and ease, looking and sounding relaxed, adding a couple of covers into the set which went down a storm. Very pleasing to see him gaining new admirers.
See below for a video of the night’s performance of “Hanging Around” a superbly articulated and candid piece about coming through the other side of depression – I recall this song in particular making a strong impression on me the first time I heard Matt play. It’s so open and so true, and has the right feel of euphoria about coming out of the darkness and into the light again with all the clarity that brings.
Another one tonight to gain new admirers was Natalie Lake. I was lucky enough to be able to have a little chat with both Natalie and her dad beforehand and Natalie was explaining that she had one or two new numbers, one of which was only a couple of days old, that she had been working on and might perform today. To my delight she also played “Leave Me Be” a song I knew from her Epic RAW sessions but had never heard her perform live but a song I consider to be amongst her best, it’s certainly a favourite of mine, as it seems she had been told too 🙂 It sounded absolutely gorgeous, as did all of her set, subtle, delicate, haunting and increasingly varied in mood, from the reflective, melancholy, and observational. The new songs sounded absolutley terrific and I was not alone in thinking so. At times she sounds like a most beautiful singing bird – she has a brilliant voice and I absolutely love her songs. Tonight she sported a new hairstyle and also a growing confidence and comfort onstage, she has a great calmness and ignoring some of the bar chatter she let the songs do the talking, and by the end of her set the same people who were chattering were whooping and cheering her. A great talent to watch.
The night ended with AKA who tonight included the excellent local beatboxer Differential (Josh) I probably was not as aware of the covers and references as I should have been but really appreciated what they were doing, some great skills on show and some superb backing vocals.
On Saturday it was a chance to watch Norwich get a well-deserved and much-needed win against Hull, followed by a drink or two in the excellent and super friendly Kings. On the way home there was just time to pop into Take 5 and bump into a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, who was there to perform upstairs with another friend as a duo, as The Sid James Infirmary. It was relaxed, mellow, bluesy and experimental, a perfect musical note on which to end the evening.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014