Nobodaddy album launch at The Birdcage, The Doohickies at The Golden Star, Jose Ferrera & Guateque at The Blueberry, Norwich, 8 February. Review and photos.
The duo of Adam Clark and Mike Wordingham – friends since the age of seven – who make up the wonderful acoustic duo that is Nobodaddy launched their masterful new album Longing For Flight at The Birdcage on Saturday evening. They are rightly proud of it and wish for as many people as possible to hear it, and so they did not even have an admission fee on the door. The place was pretty much packed when they took to the stage around 9pm and played the album in its entirety, in front of album artwork by Su Owen. Starting of course with California, which opens with its wide-eyed optimism of a new future in a new land but a story which takes a less optimistic turn as the tale unfolds. Towards the end of the set, Time Flies was dedicated to Philip Seymour Hoffman “and anyone else who has their demons” in a powerful and moving performance. For the album closer they mentioned that they’d be happy if the audience wanted to join in with the Heel & Toe refrain at the end so we could “all feel connected” and this happened in an incredibly beautiful way. The Birdcage bar singing along, more and more people joining in each time until the whole place was singing together. Unforced and a beautiful moment. A set with many highlights, including Brief Encounter, and Beautiful. Some very melancholy stories with many tales of loss and longing but always melodic and the gig itself was hugely uplifting and the album is a superb work. It is one I have already played many times and am sure I will still be listening to for years. Truly lovely and I felt privileged to be present.
They are excellent storytellers, I love the album anyway but hearing the songs performed live added another dimension. They share lead vocal duties between them and have stunning harmonies. Two expressive voices, two guitars and ten powerful, totally engaging stories in song. Brilliant songwriting and very lovely people indeed. Get the album, listen to it a few times and you’ll cherish it.
Later in the evening I popped into The Golden Star where a friend was performing with The Doohickies. This was also a fun atmosphere with some great bluegrass, country, Americana (or “Anglicana” as they call it) and a mix of covers. One murder ballad was described as sounding better with their horn section who couldn’t be present (!) so to compensate, kazoos were handed out to the audience for what turned out to be Delilah. Probably the song that made the biggest impression on me, however, was Polly’s They Didn’t Even Give Me a Card, about leaving a workplace after many years.
I’d have happily stayed to hear them for longer than the hour or so I was there but wanted to catch some of Jose Ferrera and Guateque’s set at The Blueberry, an act who really made a big impression when they played there at last year’s Magdalen-Augustine Street Celebrations. Again the atmosphere was a good one with lots of dancing to the irresistible Cuban rhythms coming from the stage of talented musicians and singers. The Blueberry as a Music House has really been revived and the atmosphere is good, friendly and welcoming, and the sound has always been excellent whenever I have been there. The staff are wonderful too, good to see Harry from the Cottage here.
Just before going home I popped into the Ten Bells for the latter stages of Drink ‘n’ Jive, and here again the atmosphere was lovely and friendly, and the dance area was packed with lots of superb dancing as always. It was one of those evenings that nobody seemed to want to end and the dancing continued to the very, very end, even when things were being packed away!
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014