Norfolk and Norwich Festival, [Live] Art at Norwich Arts Centre, with Wooden Arms, 13 May 2014. Review and photos
Feeling alarmingly tired just a few days into NNF14 (I blame the weather) but nevertheless undeterred – I am always willing to push to the extra yard for the likes of Wooden Arms – I set off for Norwich Arts Centre Bar for one of my favourite aspects of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the late night Live Art Club.
There was still some live comedy happening in the main auditorium when I arrived but I was really happy to be able to catch up with the lovely people that make up Wooden Arms ahead of their midnight set. Shortly before this, however, was a short live piece of performance art in the foyer based upon some sound recordings of the gone but not forgotten St Augustine’s Swimming Pool in Norwich, which was actually rather beautifully and sensitively done. Sound recordings and interviews were played whilst a handful of performers in swimming costumes played out the scenarios.
As soon as that finished it was time for Wooden Arms to take to the stage, at around 00:15. They performed tonight with Alex on piano and vocals, Fynn on cello, Jess on violin, Jeff on guitar and vocal, Milly on vocals and guitar, and Jon on drums. It felt like ages since I last heard them, though in actual fact it’s probably only a couple of months or so, and tonight they played a handful of old and recent tracks, supplemented by some brand new compositions, one or two of which instantly grabbed me. These fitted in perfectly with the likes of December, with the wonderful voice of Jeff and the lovely handover of guitar to Milly mid-song. I do love this band, and what wonderful people they all are too!
A strange but lovely scenario for a gig, as is its situation there will be some chatter from an audience just out of another gig coming in for a drink, but one call from an audience member demanded (and obtained!) silence, respect and appreciation for the artists at work. The songs can be that beautiful and intense, but Alex will forever be a most fantastic and wonderful foil to these emotions with his absolutely splendid wit and banter between songs. The man is a bard and a genius! Entertaining, witty, and expressive … not to mention a top notch musician to boot!
I’ve been following this band with much interest and enthusiasm for about a couple of years and their development and progression is astonishing. If there’s any justice in this musical world, big things should await them. They deserve it.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014