Tilting Sky Festival weekend at Open 29 August, and all rooms takeover at The Waterfront 30 August. Plus Drink ‘n’ Jive XV. Photos by Richard Shashamane
Craig Hill once again put on a massive amount of music over a couple of days for the latest Tilting Sky Festival weekend, with Saturday’s all rooms takeover at The Waterfront in particular featuring a huge list of acts.
On the Friday at Open I caught part of Matt Selfe’s set, who was followed by Das Fenster and the Alibis, and then The Barlights. Das Fenster’s line up has been augmented by the addition of new member, introduced as “Her Holiness”, and she truly does add to their sound playing guitar, accordion, keys, and even violin. This was her first gig with the band and despite having a few nerves played flawlessly and genuinely does add another dimension to the band’s sound. They sound fuller with two guitars, the accordion certainly works and I loved the keyboard sound. A good move. They all look the part too, with matching, dark, DF armbands and drummer Stagger Lee like the bad toy from the toybox, theatrical visual drumming style and covered in cuts and bruises. Who knows what goes on in their sinister world.
I ended the evening at the Mash Tun Gin Palace for the 15th Drink ‘n’ Jive. Once again djs Earl Harlem and Dan Reynolds played a brilliant and at times very inspired mixture of tracks and got the place jumping and dancing. This venue does have an excellent dance area but I can’t quite make my mind up about the place itself, it has its pros and cons. I wasn’t exactly a regular at the Hog in Armour but as the Gin Palace it all feels as if its lost its soul a little and is now a bit too polished and new but once again a big deterrent will be the very expensive beer prices. I’m hoping Drink ‘n’ Jive will soon be back to its regular Ten Bells slot which is more atmospheric and certainly much more affordable. Beer is pricey here, I’ve paid far less for a pint in London than I have at the Mash Tun. Having said that, they are craft beers and the staff are very friendly.
On Saturday The Waterfront opened its doors late afternoon for Craig Hill’s all rooms takeover, with the cafe bar area being devoted to Bare Feet Records, and it was in here that I started my evening of music. Both Craig and Alex Carson do an incredible and invaluable amount of work to help, showcase and promote musicians in Norwich and this event gave an interesting snapshot of just some of what is happening in the city at the moment.
Starting the music in the cafe bar was the excellent Natalie Lake. She seems to be on something of a creative roll at the moment and each time I see her she seems to have a brand new song in her set which is always pleasing to hear. Tonight it was a number called Angel at the Bar which she performed beautifully, a number which features some quite poetic lyrics.
Following Natalie was Phoebe Robinson, a new name on me but yet another fine voice and promising lyricist. She played a most soothing set and even covered a Beyonce song (If I Were a Boy). After Phoebe was the superb Milly Hirst with another short but magical set of her gorgeous songs. She was quite mesmerising and captivating, her voice strong and assured, soaring in the places we have heard and yet subtle and delicate at other times. I couldn’t help noticing one member of the audience who was obviously hearing Milly for the first time and was totally rapt, facial expressions and concentration saying it all. I know this because Milly had the very same effect on me the first time I came across her and heard her play, it’s an unforgettable musical experience. As she played on today it sounded like behind me the room filled up quite a bit during her set and each song was greeted with loud and heartfelt appreciative applause.
I think this was my first time hearing live music in the cafe bar – probably my favourite room in the building – and I was very pleasantly surprised at the sound, it really suited this acoustic music through the pa, although there were some very odd choices of music between acts … we had at one point Queen! Definitely not selected by BFR.
After a couple of hours in the cafe bar I went to explore the other rooms, especially keen to catch the sets by The Grazing Saints, Keep Up, and The Rumble. The stage was being set for Keep Up in the main room so I went upstairs to the studio and was lucky enough to catch the full but all too short Grazing Saints set, twenty five minutes passing in a flash. Sounding big and strong they were in good form though sadly their set coincided precisely with that of Keep Up’s and so I missed that. My evening finished with the Rumble who are young and rich in confidence, ability and energy. Starting with the unmistakable chords of Link Wray’s Rumble they stormed through their set and hold a lot of promise and potential. I saw them recently at Jug Jaw’s Beat Club and was impressed then but they were another beast entirely this evening and have grown even since then.
Many, many thanks to Craig Hill, Alex Carson, Open, and The Waterfront
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014