The Arlenes, Natalie Lake at Music House Acoustic(ish) Session, and Big Boy Bloater at The Talk, Norwich. 12 December 2014
Friday’s Music House Acoustic(ish) Session at Jurnets was curated by Chad Mason, in extremely fine form and with a stellar line up, which included a very rare chance to see The Arlenes. Their songs are incredibly precious to me, in a similar way as those by Gillian Welch are but Stephanie rarely seems to sing live these days so this was a privilege indeed. Steve started the set for a couple of numbers solo before being joined by Stephanie for Springboard, Lonely, California and a host of others. It was very special, the harmonies on these haunting and heart wrenchingly melancholic lyrics (“Chalking days on the wall, feels like this night won’t end at all” – The lonely prison life in Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone) They blend just so perfectly but the overall mood of the set is always kept upbeat, due to the playing and performance and of course Steve’s knack of storytelling between songs.
Earlier we had a set from Natalie Lake, her voice sounding in great shape, perhaps because of the recording sessions taking place which she told us about. She played for about half an hour and included gems like Angel at the Bar, ‘Angry Song’ (its working title seeming to have stuck), and a couple of covers but alas no Leave Me Be, or Without Him, two of her very finest compositions.
On another night of multiple gigs with appeal, I found it difficult to leave Jurnets but headed across the city to The Talk to catch about half of Big Boy Bloater’s set to a modest but very appreciative audience. He can belt out a blues song and tune and did so on at least four different guitars. Good to see him back in Norwich after a storming set at Red Rooster in the summer. Sounding superb.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014