Ben C. Winn “Thnaks” EP and Book Launch, Wensum Street. Das Fenster and the Alibis for Dirty Stop Outs at The Murderers, Norwich 21 August 2013
There was just something surrealy bonkers and very “Norwich” about dressing gowns masquerading as coats, shoulder synths, yapping chihuahuas, and a whole room full of people in an antiques shop singing “Bag in a tree” in unison but welcome to the world of Ben C. Winn.
This was a gig unlike any other where drinks were served by Neutrinos in the pop up bar, DJ Leroy Nockolds on the decks, and a Meat fer Manners shop selling Ben’s CD, Book and poster print (I bought all three!)
Ben was in typically fine form, performing a host of favourites, either on keyboard or just spoken word but with some lovely improvised lines too in response to passers by talking too loudly on their phones but the vibe was just so inclusive and good natured that several other curious bystanders joined the crowd in the room, notably a couple of slam poets who absolutely loved it. Amongst all the laughter there is also a beautiful tenderness in the well observed (and still humourous) ode to Norfolk with the roadside stalls selling bundles of kindling, duck eggs and windfall apples. Really charming. A brilliant evening and very, very good fun at this unique event. “Thnaks” can be purchased here: https://meatfermanners.bandcamp.com/album/thnaks
Following this there was just time to dash over to The Murderers for the latest Dirty Stop Outs. Das Fenster and the Alibis were just starting as I arrived and this was the first time for me seeing them with the new line up, in fact I think it was their first gig in this line up. “The Chemist” is the newest recruit, taking over the drumsticks from Stagger Lee. It was also the occasion of Pearly Gates’ birthday and he got a great singalong “Happy Birthday” at the end of the set.
Das Fenster’s voice just about held out for the full set (overcoming his cold) as did the PA, just about coping with their brand of Voodoobilly which was wonderfully powerful, the fuller line up has done wonders for their overall sound. They are a band I would love to see share a bill with The Phantom Cowboys, that would be great and I think they would compliment each other well. As with the Cowboys’ last gig there were a number of swing dancers in attendance making for a fine atmosphere and a healthy sized crowd.
Das Fenster and the Alibis’ gigs are always a huge amount of (dark) fun and this was no exception. Lots of dancing and some great singalongs too.
Alas, trying to catch a bit of a third gig in one evening proved too much and Tony Brook and Yve Mary B were just packing away as I arrived at The Rumsey but had time for a brief chat before the traditional catch up at the Ten Bells, who once again had a terrific atmosphere with a host of people ending up there after their respective gigs.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2015