The Sound of Sight, Natalie Lake, Ben Grizzly, Chris Ellis at Jurnets Bar, The Vagaband at Cuba, Penguins Go Pop and The Dirigibles at The Hog in Armour, Norwich 21 March 2014. Reviews and photos.
The beautiful undercroft that is Jurnets Bar was this week curated by Andrew Taylor, who chose The Sound of Sight, Natalie Sara Lake, Ben Grizzly, Chris Ellis and Nobodaddy and presented them with the challenge of composing and performing five new tracks for this night. Most of them performed live for the first time here.
Opening proceedings after an introduction by Andrew was Ben Grizzly (Loose Leaf Drifters) who performed some wonderful pieces with great lyrics. One about the salt marshes of Norfolk was especially lovely. His slight nervousness and humble humour only further endeared him but the songs did most of the talking and they sound highly promising.
Next up was Paul Hubbard aka The Sound of Sight. This evening he played two or three songs on guitar with the rest on a fabulous sounding retro organ which is ideally suited to his 60s tinged, catchy pop compositions. I really like what he is doing, he has the perfect voice for his songs and I love the chord changes and retro feel of them. The songs are so catchy, full of hooks and melody, I usually find myself humming along to the memorable choruses, even on first hearing as was the case tonight.
It was a great pleasure to be able to hear and see Natalie Lake perform again, billed tonight as Natalie Sara Lake she is an artist perfectly described by Andrew as “growing and blossoming”. Her confidence seems to have rocketed over the course of her recent gigs and she is engaging comfortably and jokily with the audience far more than previously, and charming them all whilst she’s at it. We seem to have named the new songs as “the new one (Without Him)”, “the new new one” and “the angry one”, which were all played, alongside Hollower. Bless her, she even broke the new composition rule slightly to play “Leave Me Be” for me, remembering that it was my birthday. I was so touched by this gesture and thought it sounded exquisite in this wonderful venue. Thank you Natalie! Apparently she told her mum she was thinking of dropping Without Him from the set, even though it is a brand new song, and her mother was appalled at the thought so she kept it in. I’m with her mum on this one, it’s a beautiful piece.
I caught just a song or two by Chris Ellis, and sadly missed the superb Nobodaddy, whom I would have loved to have heard, their recent album Longing for Flight being one of my favourites of the year so far. Sumptuous playing and harmonies.
Time traveling champion champion 2003 to 1654 Andrew Taylor hosts this week’s Music House Acoustic Session and it’s a session with a theme. That theme is song-writing. Each performer has been selected for their prowess in the fine art of song-writing and will all be performing sets of entirely brand new songs written especially for tonight’s session.
Chris Ellis, Natalie Sara Lake, Ben Grizzly, The Sound of Sight and Nobodaddy will be your wonderful performers.
Popping into Cuba I managed to catch about half an hour of The Vagaband in a rammed area where I could neither get close to the stage nor the bar but they sounded in fine form, with full band. It’s been a while since I heard them do All Night Long, and here Ali and Hugh played as they walked out through one exit and carried on returning through another door as the band slowly left the stage one by one. They do these finales so well. Catch them at The Talk for what promises to be a brilliant night on Thursday 27th for Tribe.
The notorious Penguins Go Pop were also playing this evening, for the first time in 20 years, fronted by Richard Penguin of course. I could hear them and the cheers from the street as I approached the Hog in Armour and although I only managed to catch the last song or two I could feel the buzz and by all accounts it was a triumphant and celebratory return. Even Richard himself described it as the gig of the year and many around him agreed.
To close the night was The Dirigibles, playing a selection of covers from the 60s, 70s and 80s from ska to pop to keep the good time mood going for a bit longer. Really good fun and these boys can really play too.