Grifter Kid and the Midnight Raiders at The Owl Sanctuary, Norwich, Sunday 17 August 2014. Review, photos and video by Richard Shashamane
I have been waiting to catch this excellent band live again for absolutely ages. They utterly charmed me and drew me into their laid back, jazzy world ever since I saw their first Jurnets appearance some time ago. They have since expanded to a five piece outfit with the addition of drums and keys, and have released a superb album – Please Girl.
Although there have been a number of recent gigs at The Owl Sanctuary which I’d have loved to have been present at there was the modern problem of the “gig clash” which prevented me seeing the likes of The Piratones et al here, and being my first visit in its current format with new owners the improvement is amazing. I was at the same venue in the last days of The Marquee and it was in a very sad state then but now it has been extensively refurbished and cleaned up, the toilets are massively improved, the place is clean with lots of wood furniture and flooring, and some real ales at some of the best prices in the city. It’s pleasing to see what is being done here. This being a Sunday gig it could easily become another venue on the Sunday unofficial Norwich mini-festival where one can hop from pub to pub catching live bands with staggered start times, from the likes of Fat Cat Brewery Tap, Blueberry, Plasterers, Walnut Tree Shades, Gonzo’s and more, although on this occasion the support artist wasn’t able to make the gig and therefore the start time of 9pm may possibly need to be brought forward for future Sunday gigs in the bar to catch those on the Sunday circuit. Could do with some bar stools though!
The band themselves have a great aura about them, guitar, clarinet, sax, drums, keys and a beautiful warm double bass and storytelling vocals over the top, often with some charmingly witty lines (“Never trust anyone who says they ‘never say never’, they’ve already said it twice”) They look and sound good and are a great band to hear to end the weekend. I purchased their album (and was given free badges) and have been playing it ever since, a really gorgeous CD. I’d been familiar with some of their online demos but they’ve come a long way since then already, and one or two songs they played tonight felt instantly like classics to my ears, one in particular I had to ask the band if it was an original or cover such was its classic feel. I struggle to recall the exact lyrics now but starting with a guitar intro that was almost Lou Reed/Velvet Underground-esque it had a captivating and hypnotic feel with a repeated refrain at the end of something along the lines of “I’m always fighting with the light” this was a total ‘earworm’ and my highlight of their very lovely set.
I do hope it won’t be too long before I see this lovely band again.
They have produced some very professional looking videos linked below:
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014