Fanfara Tirana Meet Transglobal Underground, Jovana Backovic at Norwich Arts Centre. The Tesla Jets at The Rose Tavern. Red Butler at Fine City Blues at The Murderers, 15 October 2015
Following on from that extraordinary gig at the Owl Sanctuary the previous evening for Acid Mothers Temple I was still in something of a strange head space and nothing was ever likely to hit that spot again so soon but I thought this gig at the Arts Centre was a good contender to come close to it. I was feeling really tired but got to the venue as Jovana Backovic was playing her solo support set. The NAC booming to the bass sounds with Jovana playing some atmospheric and haunting stuff through a laptop and drums.
Fanfara Tirana and Transglobal Underground started really strongly and strikingly with hugely impressive drumming, Albanian brass, and my favourite of all, the sitar played by Sheema Mukherjee. The whole set had some real highs where traditional Albanian songs were played with the bassy sounds of Transglobal Underground but the absolute highlight for me was the stunning improvisational piece with Sheema’s sitar and the Albanian clarinet to the fore with accompanying percussive beats. It was brilliant.
Stunning at times, and with superb sound throughout, I nevertheless left shortly before the end of the set as I wanted to catch a bit of The Tesla Jets at the Rose Tavern. I’ve photographed them a few times, they are lovely people but I always seem to have a gig clash when they play so left a little early to catch them. As it was I still only managed to catch a couple of songs so after a brief chat headed to The Murderers for the end of the Fine City Blues night where Brighton’s Red Butler were headlining. Once again my timing was out and I only caught two or three songs but saw enough to be impressed and it was no surprise to learn yesterday that they subsequently won the UK Blues Challenge.
With that NorwichMusicCityUK serendipity I chanced upon Sheema and a few bandmates in a pub at the end of the evening and had a really enjoyable chat and was able to tell her how much I especially enjoyed her sitar playing and that song with the Albanian clarinet.