Addison’s Uncle album launch, with special guest The BeauBowBelles, Feral Mouth, and Pirate Joe. Norwich Arts Centre, 16 January, 2015
As my friend Steve Howlett remarked, it’s always a lovely and special feeling to see one of our local acts fill the beautiful (and rightfully crowned “UK’s Best Small Venue”), Norwich Arts Centre. There was a marvellous atmosphere from the off for this one with the venue selling out a few days earlier, I saw a comment from Philip in the morning where he said he felt ” … like a child waking up on Christmas morning” which is typical of the charm and enthusiasm of the band.
To start the evening though was another local performer, the hirsute Pirate Joe who I have seen at various festivals in the past. He was perfect to start the evening at about 8pm to a very appreciative and already full auditorium. Delivered with great charm and wit his guitar at times bluesey, flamenco and at others making me think of Manu Chau he delighted everyone present.
I’ve also seen BeauBowBelles before, at the Maui Waui Festival for Flavour Parlour. Although I enjoyed them they made a significantly stronger impression on me this evening with a fun set of what they describe as “Swing Folk” but I also felt some gypsy, polka and klezmer, with guitar, accordion, keys and two violins and of course beautiful harmonies. They also had a humble and enthusiastic presence, with the lead vocalist explaining that although they are London-based she herself is from Cromer and enjoyed being here to play in Norfolk, and not for the first time we had a band hoping the changes to the A11 would not spoil the county’s special charm. She also explained how they came across Addison’s Uncle, being on the same bill somewhere or other and hearing this unusual band playing songs on the same subjects as many of their own, and to cap it all encoring with the same cover as they themselves did. More on that later…
Although the night was Addison Uncle’s they were next on the bill, giving the final slot to Feral Mouth. I’ve seen the band many times now but recall seeing them again a year or so ago and what they do really suddenly clicking with me. I’ve always enjoyed their music and their stories full of local references but the songs absolutely full of storytelling lyrics really need to be listened to, unexpected words and sentences appearing here and there, sometimes so many words that it’s a wonder how they are all accommodated but it all works wonderfully.
They are a band who tonight seemed to triumphantly and joyously take their place amongst the local bigger names. They are tight as heck, especially after their recent charity fundraiser of an astonishing 24 gigs in 24 hours around Norfolk, and playing tonight with a full drum kit, Philip – playing without shoes as almost always, Georgia incredible on fiddle and the rest of the band stamping, stomping, smiling and all of them loving every moment they stormed the set. James making rock poses with his uke was smiling ear to ear throughout and the full audience was a mass of dancing, cheering and raised arms for the whole time, it really was a special occasion and the progress of the band in a year and a half or so is breathtaking. They are good at what they do, work very hard but also adore what they do and do so with heartwarming humility. They are good people all of them and it always pleases me to see a band play music with such joy and to see their faces when it is received with the same joy and appreciation from an adoring audience, who begged for more. They were treated to a blistering version of The Devil Went Down to Georgia with the band joined onstage by BeauBowBelles (who also encore with this cover usually) – this was superb with three fiddle players on stage! This gig has set the bar for the year very high and the band really stepped up to the plate. Well done Addison’s Uncle, Norwich loves you and is proud of you.
Addison’s Uncle took the mood of the audience very high and I think almost everybody needed a drink after that but there was more music to come, in the form of their friends Feral Mouth. I think my current live favourite of theirs is “Leaves” which they seem to love playing and takes them into a zone where they are all interact musically in a really organic and enjoyable way, it is just the right tempo and works very well in the live situation and has Noel on dobro gliding about the stage having a ball. Overall they were in fast bluegrass mood tonight and the dancing down the front carried on right to the end shortly before midnight. For their encore Philip from Addison’s Uncle came back onstage again, looking ever so slightly lost without his guitar but it was all great fun.
Tonight was about Addison’s Uncle’s new album though, entitled (perfectly) “I’d Like to Tell You a Story”, the first hundred of which were numbered, signed, and with a live DVD of them in King’s Lynn, all of which I believe they sold by the end of the night. Well done! It’s perfectly and sympathetically produced with the essential clarity to listen to the storytelling and the great playing. Available from: https://addisonsuncle.bandcamp.com/album/id-like-to-tell-a-story
There seemed to be a camera crew and photographers here tonight so I stepped back a bit and look forward to seeing the results and hopefully the footage from the gig. For anyone who was unable to get a ticket, they have an “overspill” gig with BeauBowBelles at Fat Cat Brewery Tap this afternoon (Sunday). At the Arts Centre, this was brilliant, celebratory and joyously fun gig. Addison’s Uncle have stepped up. A lot.
Philip and James from Addison’s Uncle, in the bar with Jose of the Vagaband, who played a wonderful set at OST earlier in the week, including some Townes Van Zandt covers and a brand new song he was composing in the bar before playing. A superb solo set.
photos and video (c) all rights reserved Shashamane, 2015