Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson at Norwich Arts Centre, 14 April, 2015
All the omens were splendid for this gig but it still managed to exceed all of my expectations. I was a bit late to learn about this gig but so glad that I did so in time (Thanks Helen!) and it was a privilege to be amongst those sat in the Arts Centre auditorium.
I bumped into Cara and Fitz as I arrived, fresh from their interview with Jane for the Folkspot Show on West Norfolk Radio (broadcast Thursday at 7pm at http://www.westnorfolkradio.co.uk ) and had a brief chat, they are both such lovely and friendly people. The five minute bell rang at that point so they went to get ready and I made my way to find a good seat.
The music they play is a mixture of blues, gospel, and good old country blues with some Irish and Australiana thrown in too. Fitz sat playing electric guitar, resonator and banjo whilst Cara is mainly at the drum kit and also playing washboard, flute and whistle and they share vocals. For their stunning cover of That’s No Way to Get Along, Fitz sang superb hoary and gruff lead with Cara mesmerising and captivating on washboard, with bear paw-like gloves.
The first set had a strong blues vibe, and the songs are all brilliant with some well-chosen covers amongst the originals but what raises the set(s) to the exceptional level is that, much like the Handsome Family, as a couple they do not leave any of their domestic jibes, jokes, banter and laughter off the stage. They bring it all out to the fore magnificently in a very genuine and funny way, all underpinned by much love and affection, Fitz even “high-fiving” Cara when she made a particularly good dig! They make a great couple. Fitz looking every inch the part with huge beard, deep singing voice, whilst Cara with her predilection for vintage clothing looks amazing at the vaudevillian drumkit, and wow can she sing, proving it time and again, not least on Janis Joplin’s Turtle Blues.
It looked to me that they both had a whale of a time playing this gig, split into two sets and taking it in turns to tell introductory stories. They totally charmed the audience and had the place laughing and clapping along, even though it was a seated event. Great gig, super sound and atmosphere, and genuinely lovely, down to earth friendly people who were great to be around and hear play.
Please come back again Fitz and Cara, you gave us a superb night of fun and music.
Many thanks to Fitz and Cara, Norwich Arts Centre, and Queen of Bo – Helen, for drawing my attention to this gig in the first place, I’d have been gutted to have discovered it after they’d been and gone.
photos and video (c) all rights reserved Shashamane, 2015