Dreams Music Presents Polly & The Billets Doux, Natalie Lake at The Bicycle Shop, Norwich, 6 May 2014. Review and photos.
My first visit in a few weeks to one of my absolute favourite venues in the city, the beautiful and intimate, atmospheric Bicycle Shop for the return of Polly & the Billets Doux, with support from Natalie Lake in this Dreams Music night.
Natalie set the evening underway at about 8pm with a set of about six songs, starting with a couple of my favourites, Without Him, and Leave Me Be, on which her vocals sounded sublime. Leave Me Be is possibly my favourite song of hers but it’s also probably one of the best too and certainly caught everyone’s attention when her beautiful voice sang the first line or two. After these she performed another brand new song – quite bravely I thought – for the first time, entitled Knew You Well, which has some of the most intricate guitar playing I have heard from her. It’s probably fair to say that there were a couple of moments in the set where nerves understandably showed a little and almost got the better of her with several apologies while adjusting the capo, this being one of the bigger, more important gigs she has played thus far but she commendably played her newest songs and was not afraid of tuning changes. Her amazing new song (about panic attacks) ‘Fear’, was also aired tonight, for only the second time. Still just 18 I think Natalie has a stunning voice, some excellent songwriting gifts – this gig will be great experience for her and she is certainly one to watch. A rich talent
It’s about a year since the last visit to Norwich from Polly & the Billets Doux I believe, and I was keen to see them again, especially back in the Bicycle Shop after last year’s gig at The Waterfront. The sound was warm and lovely and they played a selection of old and new material, some being played live for the very first time this evening and I enjoyed these new ones enormously. A hugely talented band of extremely nice people with quite a variety of styles, at times bluesy, jazzy, folky and with even a bit of country, Americana .. and prog too!! All with gorgeous harmonies. On a few numbers Polly allowed her voice to totally let rip and showed us what a powerful and expressive bluesy voice she has.
Barefooted Polly, as well as singing also played guitar, and upright bass on one song. She also has a nice way of speaking with the audience, and a surreal running theme of taxidermy banter between songs, brought up by a comment or two about the Bicycle Shop fish at the side of the stage, and the cathedral falcons.
It can only have been a few weeks since I was last at a Bicycle Shop gig but I realised how even in that time I had really missed it. Beautiful venue, lovely people and an unrivalled atmosphere.
Many thanks to The Bicycle Shop, Polly & The Billets Doux, Ian Hudson on sound, Dreams Music, Natalie Lake, … and her mum for the drink 🙂
words and photos © all rights reserved, richard shashamane 2014