Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been to a few “away-day” gigs outside of Norwich and enjoyed them immensely. Last weekend I saw Hot Raisin at the superb Stanford Arms in Lowestoft and for this Thursday evening I returned again to The Burston Crown near Diss. These two pubs, I have to say, are a couple of my absolute favourites, both being everything a pub should be and playing to their strengths of creating a homely and welcoming, friendly atmosphere in a traditional setting with good food and beers. Both of them too have passionate music fans hosting live gigs by some of the best artists on the circuit. I was at The Burston Crown this time to see once again Hope in High Water who laboured for three hours through some heavy traffic from Milton Keynes to be here. I first heard them at The Owl Sanctuary last year, supporting Nikki Lane with Robert Chaney and instantly liked their dark brand of gospel blues and americana, and immediately loved them as people too. Some people just make you feel good being around them … Josh and Carly are fine examples of this, as are the Raisins, exuding that same warmth, good humour and positive energy. Their humour between songs being the perfect foil to some of the more sinister numbers, all of which went down extremely well with those lucky enough to be present for the gig.
Hope in High Water played two sets and during the interval I had the pleasure of joining them for a bar meal, and certainly the best lasagne I have ever eaten. We talked about Josh’s jewellery making (some of which he had brought along), and their forthcoming album which should appear in May, I am so looking forward to this. Many of these album tracks were showcased at the gig, mixed in with a handful of marvelous, well-chosen covers given the Hope in High Water treatment plus a new original being performed for the first time. I can’t believe how quickly the sets seemed to pass by, it was so enjoyable. Josh on guitar and vocals, Carly on banjo and vocals, their voices complimenting each others well, there’s a great balance. A lovely couple of solo spots too with Carly performing one of her own compositions leading to many comments on the quality and range of her voice. Another nice cover was Josh’s choice of some rootsy blues with Elmore James’ It Hurts Me Too, quite a favourite of mine.
Hope in High Water will be back in Norfolk in May, regular visitors to these parts now, they make new friends and fans each time and deservedly so. They’ll be playing The Guildhall for Grapevine and by then the new album should be ready!
I enjoyed this gig so much, it’s always a pleasure to see Hope in High Water and hearing an extended set meant I heard some I hadn’t heard before so was able to appreciate their sound and also the excellent songwriting. The whole pub experience too was an absolute joy, I felt really at home here, it was friendly and the vibe just encourages interaction, everyone I spoke to was just lovely! One of the most welcoming places I have been to. With quality music events like this taking place twice a week, a dedicated sound engineer, great sound, and that often overlooked detail of monitors made the gig enjoyable for audience and artists alike. A dream pub, I can’t wait to return.
Huge thanks to Hope in High Water for their wonderful music and company, Billy on sound, Geoff, Bev, Steve and all the lovely, kind people at The Burston Crown, there is something special going on there.
Arriving back at Norwich Station about 11:30pm I was still able to catch some more live music, I had missed Woodland Creatures and Miniature Universe but saw some typically surreal brilliance from Shane O’Linski and Bromley at Cactus Cafe Bar until the early hours.
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