Courtney Marie Andrews + Lola Kirke @ NAC 17 June 2022

A gig I had been looking forward to for some considerable time, this was Courtney Marie Andrews’ first UK date after a string of European shows on her current tour and her first time back at Norwich Arts Centre in almost four years. When it finally came around it coincided with our hottest day of the year so far. When an artist who hails from Arizona says it’s hot you can be sure it is.

I had planned on spending most of the afternoon in the city but there was no way I was cycling in the midday heat and so left it until late afternoon before heading to the city. Recalling the wonderful synchronicity of bumping into Arrow and Henri of Starcrawler within minutes of getting off the train at Liverpool Street Station a few weeks back I thought I’d carry a couple of photos with me again, from Courtney’s last visit, ‘just in case’ on the off-chance that I might get them signed should I happen to bump into her or if she was at the merch table when the show was over. As luck and chance would have it, while I was locking up my bike having just reached the city who should I see but Courtney herself greeting her friend Lola Kirke who was just arriving and was support for the evening. Overcoming some of my shyness – if not my awkwardness – I did say hello just before Courtney headed back into the venue and she very kindly chatted briefly and signed my photos. I told her how much I’d enjoyed and appreciated her Patreon livestreams during the depths of what felt like interminable lockdowns over those often bleak two years. I also mentioned that I’d already pre-ordered my copy of the recently announced new album Loose Future (due out in October). A single from it has already been released with a seemingly re-born Courtney in the video to Satellite, after some of the sadness and heartache which was the theme of the beautiful melancholy that formed the tracks on the GRAMMY-nominated Old Flowers. She added that she would be doing several songs from the forthcoming record tonight.

It was actually my first time carrying my DSLR this year, incredibly. The weight of the bag on my back was not something I had missed but I had missed photographing my favourite artists and it was a pleasure to do so again, although I did feel considerable rustiness. I can see why musicians practice so frequently. Still very warm at 7pm I cooled down with a cold beer in the NAC garden and had a nice chat with a fellow music blogger/photographer, Amy who writes for Click Roll Boom. I’d missed these chance meetings and conversations with fellow music fans, as we all observed, we’re already sharing common ground at gigs with the love of music and conversations are natural in such settings. It was also nice to see again other familiar faces such as David, Dickie, Nic and fellow big CMA fans Craig Hill and his daughter Alex.

Lola Kirke at Norwich Arts Centre 2022

Just after 8pm we all headed indoors to a sparse but very warm hall before actress and musician Lola Kirke took to the stage. This was my first experience of live music in the room with natural light flooding into it, with the covers which had blacked them out for decades having been removed during the recent restoration and updating work. It felt a little odd and unfamilar at first, to see the whole room so clearly like this with daylight coming in through the windows. Lola was very good with a lovely, friendly stage presence. It turns out that on Wednesday she had played at the Third Man’s Blue Basement in London so she’ll have been as familiar with these hot venues as I am from my own recent visit there to see Starcrawler. With just her voice and acoustic guitar her songs had a strong country flavour which went down very well with everyone present, as far as I could tell. Very enjoyable.

The song in which she collaborated with Courtney, Broken Families, was in the set and beautiful. Monster is another superb song. We were all won over by her storytelling songs and warm energy.

The window blinds buzzed as they closed just before Courtney’s set, making things feel more familiar. Backed with fellow excellent musicians on guitar, bass and drums I realised it had been quite a while since I’d seen CMA touring with the ‘Bandrews’ as my most recent CMA gigs have been solo ones. The Loose Future, Old Flowers, May Your Kindness Remain and Honest Life albums were all represented tonight with the inclusion of some of my favourites: Table for One (I have Courtney’s handwritten lyrics to this one framed and on my wall at home), Burlap String, It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault, Old Flowers, May Your Kindness Remain as well as Satellite, Loose Future and a few other new ones. Courtney seemed in good spirits and chatted amiably with the crowd, complimenting us on our attentive listening and appreciation as well as the city of Norwich itself (despite referring to it as a ‘town’, I could feel people wanting to point out our city status!)

Courtney Marie Andrews at Norwich Arts Centre, June 2022

The heat was quite stifling and I think it was draining everyone a bit though the music kept us all going, the heat was certainly affecting the guitars though causing some re-tuning, Courtney joking that her guitar was suffering and complaining about the temperature.

CMA at NAC

In introducing Summertime Feeling to us the band jokingly played the opening notes of Summer Lovin’ from Grease and to her immense credit and the delight of the audience Courtney gave it a go, joining in with a few impromptu lines from that song as well as much laughter. She asked us to pretend that had not happened so forgive me for documenting it here, Courtney, but we all loved it! A very charming moment in the evening.

A relaxed feel to this set with everyone onstage comfortable with one another and smiles aplenty. Towards the end of the set we had a few unfamiliar songs (to our ears at least), tracks from the new album and possibly one or two even newer than that. It was a good music audience who listened very attentively to these new ones and the positive, loud reactions at the end of each suggests they were all given a convincing thumbs up. We had a magnificent, soaring Near You, played and sung to perfection. Responding to the loud cheers and applause at the end of the set (Table for One), we were rewarded with an encore of Ships in the Night to close a set of almost twenty songs. Not for the first time I found myself at the end buying one of Courtney’s albums that I already own simply so that I could have a signed version of it. I suppose I could have just brought my own copy with me but I don’t regret this at all and was happy to support one of my favourite artists with a purchase from the merch stand (I also bought a t-shirt which in my excitement to get the record signed I somehow dropped from under my arm, so big thanks to the NAC staff who correctly guessed it was mine.) Next stop for CMA and the band is the Black Deer Festival on Saturday (today). Big thanks to Courtney for a beautiful gig in stifling heat and for being lovely enough to sign my things. Very kind.

http://www.facebook.com/CourtneyMarieAndrews

http://www.lolakirkemusic.com/

http://www.facebook.com/LolaKirke/

A couple of weeks earlier the Playhouse Bar had the first of their post-restrictions live music nights, with Maya Law, Phoebe Troup, and janani.fx all playing. Janani – whom many will know from Gladboy – performed a stunning set in her new solo venture, the array of influences and inspiration which she has creatively processed to express herself musically was as impressive as it was breathtaking. Great stuff.

janani.fx

Phoebe Troup was on electric guitar and playing in a duo format. Lots of new songs and a couple of old favourites too. I love everything Phoebe does.

Phoebe Troup

It has felt like ages since I have seen Maya Law and indeed I think it is some considerable time since she has played but this was a fun one, and wonderful to see her performing with Freya, both of them really impressive.

Maya Law (accompanied here by Freya Roy on guitar)

I very much enjoyed all three sets and also having nice catch-up chats too, such a relaxed and friendly musical vibe that we had been deprived of for such a long time. It was also fun to be at a gig with my camera again, I had stopped doing that for ages too. Afterwards I went to the Walnut Tree Shades to catch the end of Peter T’s weekly open mic night. Not as packed as usual, what with it being Red Rooster weekend but enjoyable nevertheless.

Peter T

The Cherry Tree in Costessey is somewhere I had not been to in years but it is under new management and has resumed live music. It was packed in there with a great atmosphere for The Glamtastics and a few weeks earlier, The Flying Sabres.

The Glamtastics
This entry was posted in courtney marie andrews, freya roy, janani.fx, live music and dance, Maya Law, Norwich Arts Centre, Peter T, Phoebe Troup, The Flying Sabres, The Glamtastics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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