Warwick St Live! at the Warwick St Social in the heart of the city’s Golden Triangle seems to go from strength to strength as a music venue with sessions happening every Saturday afternoon as well as some bank holiday specials and weekenders with an outside stage for use when the weather is good. I was flattered to be invited once again to curate a Saturday session and once again felt so honored and humbled when two of my favourites both kindly agreed to play for me.
It was about a year ago when Phoebe Troup played Sofar Sounds in what was to be her last Norwich gig for quite a while as she did some travelling. Recently however, to my joy she reappeared and as soon as I saw her I invited her to be one of my recommendations for my Warwick St “Shashamane Recommends” session. I’d been looking forward to this in the couple of months since. She has been playing a few sets recently too, some with her friend Billy Lubach (including both here and at Shane’s Shenanigans on the same day). There was talk he might be joining her with his violin but it seems he was unavailable. Phoebe has a beautiful playing style and a lovely, expressive voice, both of which I love, but from the first moment I heard her I was powerfully struck by her exceptional songwriting. Her storytelling and honest lyrics really drew me in following the stories closely and this happens again with every new one of hers I hear. Current favourite of mine Sitting on the Doorstep was joined by another new one previewed here. I’m always captivated when listening to Phoebe. It was no big surprise to learn some years back that she was on the Creative Writing course as it shows in her writing which is vividly descriptive, clever, poetic and often very witty too. I’m very excited that Phoebe is currently recording her first album and eventually I’ll be able to hear these songs whenever I wish.
The Wash are a fascinating band. I’ve seen them numerous times but no two sets have been anywhere near the same, in fact even the line-up changes dramatically from gig to gig. It’s impossible to know what to expect or even who to expect and that is a part of their appeal. I had little inkling who would be joining Dave Indge, Shane O’Linski, Tom Conway and Oskari Kuusela for this one. As it turned out they had several surprise guest vocalists including Elena, the other-wordly singing style of Sam (it almost sounded like he was singing backwards at times), and Akemi, as well as fellow Yellowhammer Morris who was playing drum machine and various wizardry and Akemi also provided percussion. It was a towering performance of a set which was beautifully hypnotic, spellbinding and unique. It was quite a treat to experience. On one stage was a band featuring members of Bavarien Rocket Groop, Yellowhammers, Vicars of Stiffkey, Maximalist Banquet, Olinski Onsomble as well as musicians often heard solo, such as Tom Conway, Elena Traina and Sam. A magical performance, made all the more special as it’s most unlikely it will ever happen again, their next show will be something different once more. An underground supergroup and we all enjoyed being in the overground daylight for once!
Thanks to Phoebe Troup and The Wash, you cannot imagine how good it felt to have you play these sets.
S.O. Steve is currently on festival duties but he’ll be back in a couple of weeks, meanwhile the Warwick St Live Saturday sessions continue as normal but this coming weekend there is a summer party with live bands from 3-8pm on both Saturday and Sunday. It’s a nice bright and airy venue with an outdoor stage, or a space inside for the music if the weather is not so good. Just please can that TV screen be switched off when bands are performing? It’s a bit distracting.
“Phoebe is one of my absolute faves and her songwriting is simply outstanding. Think heartfelt, emotional and expressive songs that you could easily imagine overhearing coming from some record on an Appalachian mountainside turntable, songs that could inspire the Carter Family. Yes, that good! I have loved her music for years and am extremely proud that she has agreed to play for me on her return to the city. Phoebe is a gem!
The Wash are never the same at any two gigs and that is part of what I love about them. Some of the city’s finest and best underground musicians (only “underground” because not enough people have yet found them) forming an alternative Norwich supergroup. This is a very rare chance to catch them all in full-band format. Sometimes they sound like early-1980s Cure in “Carnage Visors” soundtrack mode, other times they are all-acoustic and something altogether different. I am happy to let them decide what they’ll bring to the Warwick St Social. Open your mind and your ears and expect the unexpected. I fell in love with their soundtrack-y atmosphere the first time I heard them and they have changed and evolved on each subsequent hearing. This will be quite a treat.
Thank you to Phoebe Troup and The Wash, it is an honor to have you play my session, you are both big favourites of mine and I am so proud and grateful.”
The previous evening I was at the Rumsey Wells who were hosting an acoustic set by Yve Mary B. It felt like a while since I’d seen Yve so I was keen to see her and chose this one for the Solstice gig meeting place. Alas, being a Friday there was a rather raucous group of diners close by who were seemingly oblivious that one of the county’s best was playing in the corner. In order to hear her we all had to edge closer and then all was OK. About half way through the evening a few more friends walked in, one of whom was Noel Dashwood and Yve invited him to play or song or two, which he did, playing a couple of Dumbfoundus set favourites. “I’m in a folk group now, I don’t often get to play these songs!” before delivering a wonderful Mad World.
The noisy diners now departed this was turning into a magical evening with a number of the Norwich musical community gravitating here. As the sky slowly got darker at the end of the longest day I suddenly realised that it was edging towards midnight. By the time she had finished Yve had been playing for over three and a half hours! It certainly didn’t feel like that though, it was a beautiful pleasure to hear her perform. Oh, and thank you, Yve, for playing Tulsa Queen for me.