The Sunday Night Beat Club at Norwich Arts Centre for NNF15 featuring Mammal Hands, Fishclaw, and The Horo Quartet plus spoken word in the Bar with Luke Wright, Helen Ivory, Molly Naylor, Martin Figura. 17 May 2015
Last year Mammal Hands played a quite astonishing gig here at the Arts Centre with GoGo Penguin which was certainly one of my highlights of the year, as this one is destined to become too. It already is.
Forming part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival programme it featured a formidable line up of musical talent whilst there was also some spoken word in the bar to close the evening.
Opening the night’s music was the excellent Horo Quartet playing only their second gig with this line up and newest member Pete on accordion was only playing his third gig ever (the first being at Jurnets Bar recently.) They were brilliant and infectious with some Balkan rhythms and a generally eastern vibe, I have a lot of affection for this band and love what they do, seeing them evolve since some early festival appearances last year. Definitely ones to try and catch. Next gig is Murderers on the 29th and the same venue for Dirty Stop Outs next month.
(Horo Quartet at Jurnets Bar recently)
Colchester’s Fishclaw were a revelation for me. I knew next to nothing about them but before they’d even finished their first song they had me hooked. A really interesting band doing things somewhat differently but superbly and bringing some darkness and atmosphere to their blend of folk which includes eastern European, gypsy and Celtic influences. Their finale to the set was genuinely astonishing, I wish I could experience it again. Some of the audience were watching whilst sat on the floor, others stood further back whilst some could not resist to dance but everyone was mesmerised. The cheering at the end of the songs was louder each time. An absolutely brilliant band, and special mention must go to their drummer playing his first gig with them after just two rehearsals. He did superbly.
Mammal Hands are another band fully deserving of the “Brilliant” description. The playing always compelling and perfect. After a slightly comical entrance where from somewhere to the suprise of everyone we could hear their album being played quietly. Once that was located, switched off and the laughter had subsided they sailed off into a truly sumptuous set of more than an hour of exquisite beauty and remarkable playing. A good opportunity to get out the NAC’s grand piano too. Loosely falling under the jazz umbrella they have so much more to offer than that with a vast number of musical influences from around the globe making their overall sound quite unique. I’ve never experienced gigs quite like theirs that I’ve witnessed in this venue on both occasions with the outpouring of love and appreciation from an audience not afraid to show it and who again are standing, sitting, dancing and all enjoying themselves. I’ve seen it with more raucaus bands but never those who play music like this. The band look truly humbled and surprised by the reaction each time a song ends but it’s all genuine. The amount of love and the exchange of energy from audience to stage and back again was palpable. All three musicians onstage are supremely gifted and at the top of their game. It’s impossible to pick out any single moment as a highlight as the performance from beginning to end was at a level of creative excellence which was maintained throughout. Not one of the bands featured any vocals but retained the full attention of the audience throughout with their superb playing. Flawless.
The creativity and calibre of musicianship in the room was absolutely remarkable and after Mammal Hands finished their set there was even some poetry in the bar to conclude the night’s entertainment at around midnight, with Helen Ivory, Martin Figura, Luke Wright and Molly Naylor taking turns at the mic.
Roll on my next NNF gig at the Arts Centre, a mighty line up of The Neutrinos, BK & Dad, and Sal Pittman.
Many thanks to Mammal Hands, Horo Quartet, Fishclaw, all the poets, and all at Norwich Arts Centre.
Review and photos (c) all rights reserved Shashamane