Four Days in May, with Tied to the Mast, Darwin & the Dinosaur, Bald Wife at the OPEN Club Room, Norwich, 7 March 2014. Review and photos.
In a full bill with a decent crowd, everyone put in impressive performances. Open’s first act of the evening was the duo Bald Wife. Featuring Owen and Jack (There’s Someone in the Pond) on drums and guitar/vocals they do make a good noise. I think these are very early days for the band, and despite a few technical issues during their set they pleased the audience, some of whom wanted the volume cranked up a few more notches. It’s difficult not to think of the likes of BK & Dad when seeing a band play in this format and style, they are probably on their own path and still finding their own style and identity but were very enjoyable in places though not having the sheer visceral power, energy and intensity of BK & Dad they certainly can play and it will be interesting to see how this project develops. It was lovely to see them enjoying themselves so much and playing with a smile too.
The next act was Tied to the Mast, an act from Brighton I had not seen before and knew little about other than hearing them on Planet of Sound once or twice. As soon as they started though they totally gripped me and held me transfixed for the entire set. Extremely loud and pulsatingly powerful, they played with passion and great energy. The drummer was an absolute dervish, a blur of arms, drumsticks and hair, whilst the rest of the band blasted out the tunes on their guitars, swapping vocal duties, with a deep bass underpinning it all. It was good to see Rick Lennox enjoying them too, he later told me they were one of his absolute favourite bands and I can easily see why. I’d love to see them back in Norwich for a full set. I like their grungey energy and power and simply could not find a weak link or a bad word to say about them if I tried. Lovely people too. Their album Let’s Levitate is produced by Stephen Street and has elements of Blur/Coxsone, as well as hints of Nirvana, The Raconteurs and even Buzzcocks, That Petrol Emotion, all played with power, melody, some super harmonies and hooks. Not all of it is loud though, the album closer Lost Belongings is a slow and tender piece. They are a highly impressive live band, look out for them.
That was a very hard act to follow but next on were local band Darwin & the Dinosaur who played another energetic and good-humoured set of loud, catchy pop punk with an infectious verve. The crowd enjoyed them a lot too. I was taken with them enough to buy their new album Remus which is also available for download. Worth mentioning too that they were also big-hearted enough to be collecting for a cancer charity on the night at the merch stall. They seem top lads.
Almost a year since what was intended as a one-off reunion gig, the triumphant return of Norwich’s Four Days in May in the same venue, they played again on the back of a very strong EP which they have recorded in the interim – Citizens & Rivers. They are incredibly tight and appear to love playing together again, which is apparent to anyone present. The music though is powerful, energetic and brilliantly performed by all these talented musicians and their hour long set -played against a projection of their excellent photos – felt like it was over in the blink of an eye. Their strength is in the catchy choruses, punchy and memorable hooks and riffs. Very, very fine power punk-pop. It looks like they may be carrying on which is great news as they clearly have something about them and a good chemistry too. Daniel “Renzo” on drums is superb and never makes a mistake, and with other Daniel, Lee and Tom on guitars, bass and vocals they will hopefully be gigging again before next sping. Excellent.