Hypnotic, melodic, psychedelic and flavoured with some West Coast, Country, and Paisley Underground vibes, beautiful harmonies and with a touch of electro and rock, The Cuckoo Clocks were a revelation. I could close my eyes at times and almost make believe I was back in the era of the much-missed Long Ryders. Quite different from The Sweetbeats but the match worked well.
Based in Sheffield and making their first appearance in Norfolk The Cuckoo Clocks evidently got a skewed impression of our wonderful St. Benedicts, only seeing one pub but all of the Cash Converters. At least they were music ones. Please come back again and see what this street is really all about 🙂 For the introduction to Spellbound there was a whoop from the back of the hall and it was soon clear why as this was a great song, as was the epic and life-affirming Broken Stone.
Musically they were just wonderful, country-tinged but with elements of the likes of Fleetwood Mac – think a more country Morganway – the early arrivals to the NAC hall loved it and lapped it up. They played their album in full and in order, rather like the Sweetbeats were to do later. During a pause for tuning vocalist Tracy Deakin (who has a fantastic voice) observed “This is the moment when the vinyl would be turned over…”
For a six-piece their sound is obviously quite full when it needs to be but again, like Morganway, they know when to bring it down and let things breathe giving that spacious, sparse sound I love so much. They draw from a large melting pot of rich ingredients, there might even be a trace of dub seasoning in there too giving the country psychedelia a delicious flavour.
Their singer observed at the Arts Centre “Beautiful venue. We love the arches. But we don’t love barriers”, referring to the barrier at the front of the stage. I hope this barrier is not a permanant fixture, it feels so un-NAC.
I’ve not seen the Sweetbeats in ages but none of their wonderful vibe and sense of occasion for their gigs has diminished. A stage adorned with flowers and fairy lights and an audience so up for a good time and a catch-up, that is exactly how it was. I saw so many people I handn’t seen in ages and between acts there really was a great social feel. The band sounded great, keys and horns especially, with guitar, drums and bass giving the dubbier moments great depth. Of course this gig was also about the launch of their new album, Girl Overboard.
The audience, and band too it seemed, had an absolute blast with plenty of dancing throughout the set and an atmosphere which was simply joyous and positive.
The Sweetbeats were launching their new album and played it straight in its entirety and carried through for ninety plus minutes, going right into some old favourites, including the likes of No, No, No, A Bridge Too Ska, and, for the encore, Barbecue. The full auditorium audience danced and skanked throughout and the feelgood factor was off the radar. We’ll be doing similar all over again for The Vagaband’s Midwinter Moonshine in a couple of weeks, now with a second date added to cater for demand!
Sweetbeats really are the perfect party band, infectious ska rhythms and a special inclusive and happy vibe to their gigs.
Saturday 2nd December 2017
£10.00 adv | £8.00 adv concs | £12.00 door
+ The Cuckoo Clocks + DJ Habibti in the bar
This triumphant fourth album from The SweetBeats draws on the band’s Rock Steady roots, with frostings of Dub and hints of Motown, Northern Soul and Dancehall.
Dance all night to the joyful sounds of The SweetBeats as they blend self-penned songs with twisted versions of the classic Ska, Reggae, Bluebeat, Soul and dub tunes that inspired them. Jamaica is where this music starts – the journey ends in bliss. The soaring saxophone and double-trouble trombone energise your soul while the sweet vocal harmonies entrance your heart. Chunkin rhythms and addictive riffs keep you rocking all night – Resistance is Futile!
The Cuckoo Clocks
“Sheffield’s finest The Cuckoo Clocks bring their own unique blend of West Coast Pschedelia and Country tinged Soul. With their intricate songs layered with luscious 6 part harmony and hypnotic lines the band are currently promoting their latest album “Frontiers of a Seductive Mind” which has already received critical acclaim from Richard Hawley and Rob Da Bank (Radio 1). Not to be missed.”
Big thanks to Piers and The Sweetbeats, Norwich Arts Centre, and The Cuckoo Clocks.
all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2017