Before heading to The Guildhall I caught some of the excellent Punk in the Provinces, a conversational evening in the NAC Adnams Mission Hall Bar with engaging discussions and talks. Starting shortly after 6pm the event was completely sold out (thanks for the spare ticket, Jon!) and absolutely fascinating (I’d have liked to have heard the whole thing and it was rather difficult to leave for the subsequent gig actually) with some fine speakers, discussions and a great, lively audience. One of the conversations touched upon punk as nostalgia, the merits of band reunions and so forth. I actually find myself listening to the music quite a lot again these days, it sounds right and relevant for these times and much of it is timeless. A really interesting event, thanks to all involved.
40 years on from punk rock, come and join in an evening’s conversation between local fans from Norwich in ‘77, journalists and academics discussing the significance and legacy of punk in the provinces. Speakers include:
· Richard Balls, author of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll: The Life of Ian Dury, Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story
· Prof George McKay, UEA, books include Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties, ed. DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain, Shakin’ All Over: Popular Music & Disability, and lead editor, The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock (forthcoming)
· Dr Helen Reddington, University of East London, punk musician, author of The Lost Women of Rock: Female Musicians of the Punk Era
· Prof Matt Worley, University of Reading, co-editor The Aesthetic of our Anger: Anarcho-Punk, Politics and Music, author of new book No Future: Punk, Politics and British Youth Culture 1976-84
· Dr Lucy Wright, researcher on DIY cultures project, UEA
· Jonty Young, co-curator of Punk in the East exhibition
Grapevine’s line up once again paired regular visitor to our city, Danni Nicholls and Hot Raisin, who shared a great event at the Crypt a year or two ago. There was a good-sized crowd here, the stage area looked lovely but even in late November it seemed incredibly warm, especially upstairs. The Raisins were performing as an acoustic trio, and some in the audience had travelled considerable distances especially to see them. I was extemely pleased to discover some pressings of a new acoustic Hot Raisin EP called the Forge Sessions. I sat in on these sessions with Tory, Mary, and Luke in the summer and took photos when the recordings took place, so I know how good the songs are and cannot wait to have further listens to these finished results. I’ve had a first listen today and they sound warm and gorgeous. Brings back happy memories of the creativity, magic and beauty of that day too. They are produced by their good friend Chris Turpin, of Ida Mae of course, with a bass cameo on Embrace Me from Kev of the Sweetbeats.
They played a few of these songs, highlights for me were the beautiful Read Your Mind, and Take Me Over, as well as a fantastic version of (fairly) new song Midnight Gremlins. Vanilla just had to be revived as it featured infamously in that Crypt set, and sounded absolutely superb here. The newer songs are really good and sounding better and better with every outing. I love Hot Raisin.
The Raisins play at OPEN in 14 December in support of a long-awaited return to their home city by Wooden Arms, a gig which was originally scheduled for spring, and one I shall be covering for Outline. Alas, that appears to be yet another unfortunate and notorious Norwich gig-clash, happening on the same night as the next Grapevine I believe, where Ana Silvera and Alden, Patterson & Dashwood share the billing.
I’ve seen Danni play about a dozen times over the years, championed by Grapevine’s Steve and Jan she has played Norwich on numerous occasions, as well as Red Rooster. Fresh on the back of an AMAUK nomination (in the excellent company of Laura Marling, Emily Barker, and Danny and the Champions of the World) she confidently opened with a brand new song (Texas), in fact we were treated to several new ones which are sounding very good.
I liked her stories too, in introduction she said: “I eventually worked out that to heal myself I had to learn to love myself. So I wrote a love song. To myself!”
She has quite a following in Norwich and is much-loved, getting some nice singalongs going on Blue Train and Back to Memphis, she is deserving of the recognition she is getting. As Steve said, it may be one of our last chances to see her in such a sized venue as The Guildhall.
Looking further ahead, Hot Raisin have also been booked to play the incredible Room on 3 February.
Thanks to Danni, Hot Raisin, Steve, Jan, and Dickie.
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