Tav Falco’s Panther Burns + Beast With a Gun @ NAC 27 November 2019

The way gigs come along sometimes meant I hadn’t been to NAC in what felt like quite a while but things panned out this week in such a way that this was my first visit of three to this wonderful venue within four days. I was introduced to the music of Tav Falco’s Panther Burns when I was lent an album in the early 1980s but never thought I’d get the chance for the live experience until a Red Rooster appearance a few years ago and to my knowledge this was the first Norwich gig.

Tav Falco's Panther Burns

Beast With a Gun were very excited to have this support slot and told of an epic hitch-hiking journey to see Tav Falco way back and how lucky we were to have this gig in the city of Norwich.

Beast With a Gun

Beast With a Gun

Due to some road closures on the A11 Tav Falco’s Panther Burns also endured a bit of an epic journey and had only recently arrived when I got to the venue and they were quickly soundchecking as the bar started to fill up. Things still ran pretty much to schedule though and the wonderful Beast With a Gun kicked things off at about 8:20pm throwing in one or two new ones including a cover. Always a great experience hearing this band and they sounded immense.

Beast With a GunBeast With a Gun

Beast With a Gun

There was also some Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll taking place at the LCR on the same night for the visit of Primal Scream (a band very much inspired by Tav Falco: Bobby Gillespie, “Tav has long been a hero/inspiration to Primal Scream. A true master of rock and roll and a cultural ditch digger on the same level as the Cramps. Thanks for all the great music, Tav.”) but we had our own pretty generous helping of rock ‘n’ roll too at the NAC, albeit the crowd size may have suffered a bit from the unfortunate gig-clash.  The set opened with the instrumental Apache before the charismatic Tav Falco drew us all closer to the stage.  Looking dapper, sprightly and a nimble mover, appearing a good twenty years younger than his apparent 74 years of age and for a good ninety minutes or so we were treated to some great music. I’m fairly confident this was the only gig in the city featuring Chinese Rocks seguing into the Hawaii Five-O theme! If they were in any way fazed by the difficult journey they didn’t show it and put in a strong set which earned them two encores.

Tav Falco's Panther BurnsTav Falco's Panther BurnsTav Falco's Panther Burns

 

Tav Falco's Panther Burns

Tav Falco's Panther Burns

Raised in rural Arkansas, Tav Falco embarked on his long and distinguished musical career upon arriving in Memphis in the mid-1970s. Teaming up with local music legend Alex Chilton (The Box Tops/Big Star) in 1978, the duo formed the long-running and still active band Tav Falco’s Panther Burns. Panther Burns thrived on the early 1980s music circuit and were a popular draw at such storied NYC clubs as The Peppermint Lounge and Danceteria. Despite Chilton’s exit from the live lineup in 1984, Panther Burns carried on and the band’s current discography includes ten studio LPs and numerous EPs, live albums, and compilations.

Artists who have cited Panther Burns as an influence include the American alternative music acts Southern Culture on the Skids, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jack Oblivian, and The Gories. In Europe, neo-psychedelic groups who have referenced Panther Burns include England’s Spacemen 3; Germany’s Cuban Rebel Girls (named after one of Falco’s original songs); France’s The Dum Dum Boys; Italy’s Time Machine; and Scotland’s Primal Scream. Says Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie, “Tav has long been a hero/inspiration to Primal Scream. A true master of rock and roll and a cultural ditch digger on the same level as the Cramps. Thanks for all the great music, Tav.”

Equal parts primal rock ’n’ roll, hill country blues & avant-garde art, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns aren’t just music, but a state of mind.

Falco’s current album, Cabaret of Daggers, was released to fervent reviews in November 2018. Recorded in Rome, Falco is joined on Cabaret of Daggers by the latest incarnation of Panther Burns: musical director/producer/guitarist Mario Monterosso (Dale Watson, Red Mount Trio), pianist Francesco D’Agnolo, bassist Giuseppe Sangirardi and drummer Riccardo Colasante.

Tav Falco’s Panther Burns will be on tour throughout 2019.

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Red Rooster Festival 2020 first wave of acts announced

As we approach the darkest days of winter Red Rooster have announced their first wave of acts for the Red Rooster Festival 2020 to get us looking forward to drier, brighter days in their beautiful grounds and the fantastic music they always bring us. Next year’s headliner is none other than Richard Hawley. The line-up is already taking shape nicely. Tickets can be bought here.

Red Rooster festival is delighted to announce the first line-up for its 7th edition, 2020. The 3-day event takes place in the beautiful parkland and woods of Euston Hall, Suffolk, from May 28 –30.

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Richard Hawley is set to headline Red Rooster 2020 with North Mississippi Allstars, Luther Dickinson, The Sheepdogs, Nicole Atkins, Jim Lauderdale, MFC Chicken, Sister Suzie & the Right Band and Mudlow also announced. Many more artists will be confirmed in the new year.

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2019 has been a landmark year for Richard with his ninth studio album, Further, blasting into the UK album charts at No.3 in the same year he celebrates his twentieth anniversary as a solo artist, something that he views with his customary sense of bluff realism.

“I suppose twenty years is quite a long time in this business but, to be honest, even after all this time, I’m still a searcher. I’m still genuinely searching for things, in music and in life. I can’t tell you exactly what I’m looking for, or where I’m actually going but when I get there, I’ll probably send you a text,” he says, wryly.

In the two decades that have elapsed since Hawley jettisoned band life, first with The Longpigs and then as Pulp’s guitarist, the 52-year-old songwriter has forged one of the most singular and diverse careers in modern music.

His ability to cut across styles, time and, in some instances, place, is down to Hawley’s deep and intuitive understanding of music itself, his grounding stemming back to his childhood when his father, a musician himself, introduced Richard to country, blues and rock’n’roll.

Talk to him about his blues heroes, and he is likely to list Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup (“the master!”) and Freddie King as personal favourites. At heart, though, Hawley remains in love with rock’n’roll in its purest form and he sports the quiff to prove it. “People often ask me why I still have a quiff. I always tell them it’s because I still can,” he deadpans.

Off My Head – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9UuZlB8DTA

The Grammy nominated North Mississippi Allstars are Mississippi Royalty – The sons of legendary producer Jim Dickinson, Luther & Cody learnt their craft with the crème de la crème of North Mississippi Hill Music musicians including Otha Turner, Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside. The Allstars new album, “Up & Rolling” captures this history while looking to the future with the brothers playing with Cedric Burnside the grandson on RL and Sharde Thomas the grandaughter of Otha Tuener plus Jason Isbell, Mavis Staple and Duane Betts. Luther will also play a special solo set on The Little Red Rooster stage.

Up & Rolling – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHt29ZnW5lA

Hurry Up Sunrise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPGmrkr3W6U

The Sheepdogs headline the mainstage on Thursday night and will blow the roof with the twin lead guitar attack of their contemporary take on good time Southern boogie in the vein of CCR and The Alman Brothers. But instead of originating from Alabama the 5-piece hail from Saskatoon in Canada – Expect Euston Hall to be jumpin’ on Thursday night !

Nobody – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pgmu4KxN60

Nicole Atkins was the de facto Queen of Ashbury Park, , New Jersey then married and relocated to Nashville. Nicole’s voice had always recalled a classic vinyl collection. She is the heir to the legacy of “Roy Orbison, Lee Hazelwood, Sinatra, Aretha, Carole King, Candi Staton.” She is untethered to decade or movement or the whim of the hipster elite.

A Little Crazy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wowvsg0jUKs

Jim Lauderdale is a 2-time Grammy winning Americana icon, a singer-songwriter whose unmistakable rhinestone-incrusted silhouette has been a symbol for creative integrity and prolificacy for thirty-two albums over decades of recording. He’s an A-list Nashville songwriter whose songs have ruled the country charts while recording an eclectic catalogue of albums that run the gamut of American roots styles, all brought together on his new album ‘From Another World’

Listen – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csSqgqzv1Zw

Red Rooster also welcomes the sax driven rock and roll of MFC Chicken, the explosive high energy of Sister Suzie, the non-stopgrind-a-go-go of The Fuzillis and the Brighton sleaze of Mudlow.

Red Rooster tickets are on sale now priced £69.50 + booking fee for the whole weekend, which includes 3 nights of camping and parking FREE. Kids under 12 are free as always http://bit.ly/RedRoosterFest2020

Announced billing order is now as follows:

Richard Hawley

North Mississippi Allstars

The Sheepdogs

Nicole Atkins

Jim Lauderdale

MFC Chicken

Sister Suzie

The Fuzillis

Mudlow

ENDS

“An unrivalled atmosphere”- The Telegraph

“The go-to early summer event for those who wish to immerse themselves in a truly Deep South weekend experience of music, food and culture.” – Daily Mirror

“A truly unique event” – ITV News

“One of England’s most buzzed about music festivals” – Vanity Fair

Red Rooster celebrates the very best in Cajun, Soul, Rock ‘n Roll, Roots, Blues and Country music. Now coming up to its 7th edition, it is the go-to early summer event for those who wish to immerse themselves in a truly Deep South weekend experience of music, food and culture. Located in the beautiful surrounding park and secluded woodlands of Euston Hall in Suffolk, Red Rooster it evokes an authentic, laid back, free and easy atmosphere, where children can freely run around vast corn fields, where friends can enjoy lip-smacking authentic ribs and soul food by a campfire whilst being serenaded under the stars. All congregate to get down and dirty to the raucous and heartfelt music radiating from the woodland’s main stage. The party crowd continues to dance the night away to the jumpin’ hot dj selection at the Howlin’ Woods venue and bar down by the lake.

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Starcrawler + Pretty Sick + Glossii @ The Underworld, Camden 21 November 2019

Just over two years ago, in November 2017, after a short trip and very slow journey back from France I arrived back home tired and sleepless just a few hours before heading out again to one of the best and most exciting gigs I have ever experienced, that legendary first Norwich gig by LA’s Starcrawler in Bedfords Crypt.  At that time they had just the one single (Ants) and no merch at all but since then I have seen them a further two times in Norwich, they have released two albums and several singles. This was my third time seeing them in London having also seen them at OMEARA and Tufnell Park Dome.

Underworld

Some bands are just worth making the extra effort for, albeit with the added expense and trouble of an away day gig but for me personally, Starcrawler are definitely one of them. Arriving in London just after lunchtime I made the short walk to The Museum of London for the London Calling exhibition, celebrating and commemorating that seminal album by The Clash forty years after its release.  Among the exhibits were many Pennie Smith photos, lots of artefects, Clash clothing, gear, Joe Strummer‘s typewriter and Paul Simonon‘s smashed Fender Precision bass which was captured at the moment of its destruction in frustration at New York’s Palladium in 1979 by Pennie Smith and used as the iconic cover photo for London Calling. The exhibition is well worth a visit.

Paul Simonon's bass

camden town

After this I made my way to Camden and some familiar haunts ahead of the gig at The Underworld, my first visit to this venue and I was impressed.  Great sightlines, atmosphere and staff, drinks a tad pricey though.  First band on were London’s Glossii an entirely unknown quantity to me ahead of the gig but terrific fun with lots of energy. At the time they put me in mind a bit of Penetration, The Au Pairs and a few others though subsequent views of their YouTube videos obviously has a much less raw sound but this was what I felt at the time of their enjoyable set and I’ll be looking out for them.

Glossii

Next was Pretty Sick, a band from New York led by Sabrina Fuentes on bass and vocals. They too got the audience completely on-side with them with their grungey riot grrrl vibe and guest dancers.

Pretty UglyPretty UglyPretty Ugly

With everyone thoroughly in the mood at about 9:30pm Starcrawler took to the stage to much enthusiasm from the welcoming and excited audience.  That first Crypt gig was just over thirty minutes or so in length but Starcrawler have a lot of new material since then and played for a good 75 minutes or so with the energy levels not letting up for a second.

starcrawler

As much as I love the songs on that first album I couldn’t quite get over the feeling that the overall sound of the recordings quite did not completely do them justice, at least to those who have experienced their exhilarating live gigs. I wondered if any recording really could. Now, however, they have some of that mighty live spirit and energy captured expertly by the brilliant production from Nick Launay (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, L7, Yeah Yeah Yeahs et al.) on their latest album Devour You. A fine album which not only has the sound we have been craving but also an impressive diversity of songs with even something of a country twang on the excellent No More Pennies (look out for some Norwich footage in the accompanying video).  A number of standout tracks on this album (Rich Taste, She Gets Around, Lizzy, Born Asleep, No More Pennies, Bet My Brains) which should increase their exposure and reputation even further, the recordings are big and the Starcrawler beast unleashed. They deserve it for bringing so much excitement back into music, I forget everything else when they are onstage delivering their loud, compelling punk and rock energy. They are growing and developing and are extremely tight from their relentless touring schedule. It’s incredible that I’ve seen this band, from LA, six times in two years.

Starcrawler

Unfortunately, just as the set was ending I had to make a sharp exit to the tube station to be back in time for the last train back to Norwich from Liverpool Street (I made it with an unusually comfortable ten minutes to spare), and was therefore unable to get anything signed afterwards but did buy my merch before the gig started, there’s plenty on the table these days with albums, t-shirts, badges, jackets and even a rosary.  As it turned out they were doing a Rough Trade signing the following lunchtime but I couldn’t really afford or justify a second expensive trip back to London again on consecutive days but it shows how much I love Starcrawler that I gave it very serious consideration.

Starcrawler

StarcrawlerStarcrawlerStarcrawler

Here’s hoping they will be back in the country next year with hopefully another Norwich date too, they’re one of the best and most exciting live rock ‘n’ roll bands around at the moment, as well as one of the most hardworking. Thank you Arrow, Henri, Tim and Austin for making me feel so young when watching and listening to you. The whole crowd clearly felt the same with young and old moshing together throughout. It was pretty cool to see a couple of other Norwich-ers there too!

 

rockfeedback proudly present:
Starcrawler – A truly original young band from the city of Los Angeles. Led by their nineteen year old frontwoman Arrow de Wilde, their take on dark and heavy rock & roll both recorded and through their chaotic live shows, brings such music into the 21st century as an almost transgressive form of pop.Doors – 19:30 // Price – £15.00 adv.8:00pm – Glossii
8:45pm – Pretty Sick
9:30pm – Starcrawler

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
About:

Starcrawlerhttps://youtu.be/mwzlySJJJQQ
Starcrawler are all LA natives and met in high school. Their self-titled LP was released one year ago in January by Rough Trade Records to rave reviews. Since then, they’ve toured non-stop all over the world, including triumphant sets at Primavera, Rock Am Ring, Download Festival, Voodoo Festival, Fuji Rock, Reading, Leeds and more. In March, they won the 2018 SXSW Grulke prize for best US act after blowing minds at each of their nine shows. They were VEVO DSCVR artists with video testimonial from Shirley Manson who said “I feel like Starcrawler, and in particular Arrow, are really challenging the norms in which women are seen in music.” The amount of support they have received from their fellow artists has been overwhelming. They opened shows for the Foo Fighters at Olympic Park in London, and toured with The Distillers and MC5.

 

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The Turf Club Racebook + Hot Raisin + Rory Hill @ The Reindeer, Yve Mary B @ Frank’s Bar 17 November 2019

My first gig in a little while (due to putting my back out) was the first Tilting Sky at The Reindeer, Craig putting a really strong line-up together for the launch of The Turf Club Racebook’s much-anticipated album, produced by Chris Turpin and recorded at The Forge.  Opening the Sunday afternoon gig was Craig’s son Rory Hill playing an impressive set which immediately silenced any post-roast chatter and captured the attention of all with just his vocals and guitar. Expressive storytelling somewhat in the style of Townes Van Zandt and he did in fact do a Townes cover, my first of three that I would hear over the course of the day’s gigs and his only cover among a set or strong originals. He explained that many were inspired by his wife but material is changing, including songs about the imminent arrival of their first child.  It had been a while since I heard Rory perform, too long, and I enjoyed his set very much.

Rory Hill

The middle slot of the bill was filled by the ever delightful Hot Raisin, again in their familiar trio incarnation they delighted the audience with a well-chosen set list which included Captain, Whiskey Ginger, Later, Feel and many other favourites but I’m always intrigued with music by familiar acts how it can be different songs that shine at different gigs. At this one, for me, it was definitely Midnight Gremlins where they all seemed to hit a particular groove and were really a unit gliding along. My set highlight from one of my favourite and most-seen bands and friends.

Hot Raisin

I’ve seen The Turf Club Racebook a great many times over the years too, from Graham’s early solo gigs to the current six-piece format that includes Mary, Tory and Luke from Hot Raisin, Jess on violin and Chase on double bass. Graham is one of the most modest people I know so it was pleasing to have TCRB headlining their own launch gig for Tilting Sky fresh off the back of an appearance with interview and live session for BBC Introducing in Norfolk, and I am pleased to now be able to listen at home to some favourites that have become familiar through these live gigs such as Well, Yeah and A Wondrous Thing, to name just two. The album can be heard on Spotify but do get yourself a CD if you are lucky enough to see them play live.

The Turf Club Racebook

Big thanks to Tilting Craig and The Reindeer for putting this on, I look forward to future collarborations, this felt like a big success and I certainly had a great time.

The Turf Club Racebook

The Turf Club Racebook

Following this gig I headed over to Frank’s Bar, once again to catch Yve Mary B who I saw there for a beautiful gig at the end of Wild Paths last month. It was Yve who played a couple more Townes Van Zandt songs with both If I Needed You and White Freight Liner. She was already well into her set when I got there but I still heard her play for another beautiful couple of hours or more and she was still playing when I left a little after 10pm to catch the end of Peter T‘s Sunday Social at Platform Twelve! Having made it out of the house for the first time in over a week I was filling my boots with three Sunday gigs.

Yve Mary B

Sunday Social at Platform Twelve

 

The Tilting Sky presents..

The Turf Club Racebook Album Launch Party, live at The Reindeer, Dereham Road, Norwich.

//with support from Hot Raisin and Rory Hill.

FREE ADMISSION!

The Turf Club Racebook, a 6 piece folk-americana band from Norwich, are ecstatic to finally announce the launch of their eponymous debut album. Albums will be available on the day at a discounted price.

Support from local legends Hot Raisin, a trio who specialise in beautiful melodies, and brilliant singer songwriter Rory Hill, whose great lyrics will capture you immediately. Music starts at 4pm and finishes about 7pm

Why not arrive early for a roast? Booking advisable, but well worth it.

See you there!

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Worry Dolls + Robert Vincent @ OPEN 7 November 2019

Their autumn tour brought a welcome return to Norwich for Worry Dolls. I’ve seen them a number of times, supporting Morganway in the same OPEN venue, a storming set at Red Rooster last year, and another great set supporting Lera Lynn at OMEARA last December.

worry dolls

Opening in impressive style though was singer and guitarist Robert Vincent with fine accompaniment on upright bass.  He’s an engaging storyteller, giving us background stories to the songs as well as his nightmare journey from Liverpool, mainly in Norwich itself due to the excessive amount of roadworks all taking place at the same time, as I myself found on my cycle journey with Earlham Road now completely closed.  He told us too of his time in the legendary Rockfield Studios working with Ethan Johns. His sound is warm and rich and sounded excellent in the OPEN club room and he has an excellent voice which grabbed my attention. A voice which at times brought to mind Roy Orbison. Yes, that good!

Robert Vincent

For whatever reason (those roadworks?) there was a disappointing turnout for this gig and some seats were out, I don’t know if that contributed to the polite but quiet and slightly self-conscious audience. They were however respectful and appreciative but it’s a shame there were not more of us. It was a cold, damp evening though with about sixteen other gigs taking place around the city.

Worry Dolls are Zoe on vocals, banjo and piano with Rosie on vocals, guitars and stomp box (in the absence of their drummer), they play a blend of their beloved Americana with hints of Irish folk, deliverying beautiful, atmospheric harmonies in stories at times melancholic but also with some bite on songs such a Bless Your Heart, a phrase which is not exactly a compliment in the U.S. They also gave the background to writing a song around the title, using the magical fireflies of Nashville as an inspiration for Firefly.  Both Zoe and Rosie delivered a song each on their own, revealing different aspects of their sound and their respective identities

Worry Dolls

I do hope they will be back in the city, it’s always a treat to catch Worry Dolls, hopefully we can give them the bigger audience they deserve next time. However, it was to their great credit (as with Robert Vincent) that they happily played as if there were four times as many people there which made for a most enjoyable evening for all present.  On their previous visit to Norwich I bought the Worry Dolls’ album on vinyl so this time I picked up their 2015 EP Burden, and brand new EP The River. Highly recommended for fans of Hope in High Water, another duo well known to us in Norwich and who they have in fact shared bills with recently, and even Ida Mae.

Worry DollsWorry Dolls

“Worry Dolls are a compelling duo born out of the joint talents of multi-instrumentalists Zoe Nicol and Rosie Jones. Serendipity brought them together at an open mic night when they were 18, both studying music in Liverpool. Both redheads with guitars, on their chosen path of becoming solo singer songwriters, and both falling under the spell of ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’. Paired by their teachers for an opportunity to have their songwriting critiqued by Paul McCartney, they were inspired to start co-writing, and could now be described as an almost telepathically linked songwriting force.​ ​

T​hey set off​ from University​ together​,​ making music as Worry Dolls. It was a new sound, blending the tender urgency of Zoe’s Irish-influenced voice with the fiery integrity of Rosie’s vocals and rhythmic guitar. Zoe transferred her fingerpicking skills to ukulele, followed by Earl Scruggs-style banjo, motivated by players like Emily Robison (Dixie Chicks).​ These days playing piano has been added to the live performances and Worry Dolls frequently perform with a band.​ They have also started touring in Europe spreading the special blend of UK Americana folk rock.

The duo signed to Bread & Butter, who released their debut LP, Go Get Gone, ​2017. A ‘Song of the Year’ nomination lead to them performing at London’s historic Hackney Empire with Ethan Johns at the UK Americana Awards earlier this year, alongside Robert Plant and Mumford and Sons. The duo will flying back to Nashville to showcase at AmericanaFest this September​ in support of their album release Stateside this summer 2018. “​

 

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The Membranes + Skint & Demoralised @ NAC. The Wolf Number @ Waterfront Studio 26 October 2019

 

The Wolf Number

The Wolf Number at the end of their farewell gig at the Waterfront Studio

We have a lot of gigs going on in Norwich, especially on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and even Sundays.  On this particular soggy Saturday evening there were no less than forty gigs taking place that I knew of. I picked two of them and attempted my own gighopping though my main mistake was badly misjudging how wet it was and therefore was utterly drenched by the time I arrived at my first port of call, The Waterfront where The Wolf Number were to support Bridges for Tilting Sky in the Studio with their final gig. Typically, the rain stopped as I was locking up my bike but my spirits were soon lifted by a friendly neighbourhood cat, as soaked as I was but completely unbothered by it as it wandered into the venue and said its hellos to the Waterfront staff.

Unsurprisingly there were a lot of familiar faces in the modest crowd upstairs, The Wolf Pack out in force to send off The Wolf Number in fine style.  They all still love each other but the logistics of finding the amount of time needed for the band was too much and sadly The Wolf Number announced on Facebook recently that they were calling time on it for the forseeable future in the announcement below:

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They played a set at Wild Paths last weekend but I had the inevitable gig-clash and so this was my first opportunity to say farewell to them since the news. It was good to see so many friends from the Wolf Pack there and the atmosphere was excellent. No visual projections or light show today so it was all about the music and they certainly rocked out, playing with smiles and passion, it was a great send off for a much-loved band who’ve played memorable gigs, made superb recordings and created quite a buzz in their short few years playing. They also created a lovely sense of community and friendship among their fans and that, as well as the fine music, is something quite special. With The Magic E’s having to pull out of the gig due to illness The Wolf Number had an extended hour-long slot which seemed fitting but it still seemed to pass all too quickly. Thanks for all the memories and music, guys, and big thanks to Tilting Craig as well.

The Wolf NumberThe Wolf NumberThe Wolf NumberThe Wolf NumberThe Wolf NumberThe Wolf NumberThe Wolf NumberThe Wolf Number

As soon as they finished I put my still sodden jacket back on and made a cycle dash across the city to Norwich Arts Centre for my 150th gig this year, arriving there now not only soaked but very cold too. Unfortunately Other Half had already finished their set but I am sure I will have other opportunities to see them again soon, I really enjoyed their set at the Studio supporting Part Chimp a while back so I do look out for them.  I was however in good time to catch the second support act of the night, Skint and Demoralised, a band I had not encountered before. Hailing from West Yorkshire they have recently got back together after a six-year hiatus.  As much as I enjoyed the wailing post-punk guitars accompanying Matt Abbott’s lyrics it was undoubtedly his unaccompanied “Red, White and Blue” that made the biggest impression on me.  Draped in a Union Jack his clearly delivered and articulate poem on our uneasy relationship with the flag and British identity obviously hit the spot with everyone in the room judging by the prolonged applause it received. “This flag is my privilege. This flag is my oppressor. This flag is law and order. This flag is an aggressor. This flag is kicking off, and this flag is clinging on” – brilliant! Then the rest of the band came back in and it was back to the guitars and drum track but the spoken word interlude had done something, shifted the gears taking the rest of the set onto a higher level and taking us with them. They had totally won us.

Skint and Demoralised

Skint and Demoralised

Skint and DemoralisedSkint and DemoralisedSkint and Demoralised

Rather incredibly this was my first time seeing The Membranes and although the audience turnout had taken a bit of a hit due to the sheer volume of gigs in the city, not to mention the miserable weather, there were still plenty enough to create a good atmosphere and no shortage of familiar faces. In the bar beforehand there had obviously been a sighting of a seminal post-punk guitarist and a rumour circulated that he might be making an appearance. This was too exciting a prospect and I was trying to not get carried away about the possibility.  Led by vocalist and bassist John Robb, a regular visitor to Norwich not only with The Membranes but also to speak at events such as NS&V, and Wild Paths, he’s an engaging and animated frontman. A lively powerhouse on bass during the songs and friendly between them, chatting to the audience, shaking hands, asking questions about ornithology ahead of Murder of Crows, and memorably, introducing Keith Levene who joined them for Black is the Colour, and a very dubby In the Graveyard sounding like it was straight from Metal Box. The rumour was true!  It was quite a thrill to see Keith Levene onstage in the NAC and a memorable highlight of a most enjoyable and energising gig.  The band, it was clear, enjoyed it too. As he left the stage John Robb thanked us and joked “You’ve made a happy man feel very old!” but he didn’t look old, prowling that stage with great energy for the entire set.

The Membranes

The MembranesThe Membranes

The Membranes

Keith Levene onstage with The Membranes

The Membranes

The Membranes

The Membranes with Keith Levene.

They also played Myths and Legends which I remember seeing on The Tube in the mid-80s, I’m pretty sure I still have it on an old VHS tape somewhere in my loft too. Pleasingly, I even managed to get my jacket just about dry thanks to the new NAC radiators and it was all worth it after another great night of musical shenanigans in Norwich.

The Membranes

The Membranes

The Membranes

membranes

The Membranes finally follow up their critically acclaimed universe-explaining 2015 album ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy,’ which received rave reviews and radio play on BBC 6 Music and became the bestselling album in the band’s history.

The new album, ‘What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away’ is a double album, using the band’s own 20-piece choir to juxtapose their dark drones and melancholic epic power across sixteen songs about the beauty and violence of nature. The album features guest appearances from the likes of Chris Packham, Shirley Collins, Jordan and Kirk Brandon, all dealing with various themes of nature.

A diverse work with songs that vary from dark, brooding and cinematic choir-driven post-punk that seethe with nature, sex and death, the album has been described as sounding like Hieronymus Bosch paintings; discordant wild songs about crows, demon flowers, strange perfumes, voluptuous petals, voluminous oceans and treacherous seasons – the poetry of life and death. Musically it shifts from seething musical pulses to epic choir driven post-punk, from dark dub workouts and throbbing dirty disco dark wave, grinding bass driven apocalyptic visions to choir driven dark opera and brooding classical.

Inspired by the DIY aesthetic of punk rock and Buzzcocks Spiral Scratch EP, Membranes formed in Blackpool in 1977. They created their own distinctive bass driven post punk that was big influence on the underground scene and were John Peel and music press favourites before splitting in 1990. When one of their former support bands, My Bloody Valentine, asked them to reform for a festival in 2010 the band returned and recorded their most acclaimed and bestselling album – 2015’s ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’ and played at festivals across the world.

The band will be touring the UK and have many festivals lined up in the UK, Europe and Mexico.

‘It’s a ridiculous overload of the senses, both male and female in aspect; a rapacious attempt to be everything all at once. The title is perfect: What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away is a release that is totally merciless in intent and yet reminds me of a million things I’d never associated with them before. From junkyard psychedelia, wobbly synth splurts, rusty guitars, huge choirs that are Ragnarok epic, samples that get all ravey on us and a fully formed post punk rock band who’ve discovered true beauty of the Periodic Table. And want to sing about it.’ Richard Foster

keith levene

Keith Levene and Planet Neil

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Norwich: Music City, UK

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Posted in live music and dance, Norwich Arts Centre, Other Half, Planet Neil, The Wolf Number, tilting sky | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lucy Grubb + Demi Marriner + Annie Dressner @ NAC 24 October 2019

Thursday evening’s gig in the familiar embrace of the Norwich Arts Centre was billed as an EP Preview show, providing a showcase for some of the new songs that will feature on Lucy Grubb’s next release, due some time in early 2020.  Support was from UK-based New Yorker singer-songwriter-photographer Annie Dressner and Manchester’s Demi Marriner, who will be playing at the annual AmericanaFest in Hackney in January. Demi sounded the Americana real-deal alongside guitarist Robbie Kavanagh (familiar to some from Maverick and Red Rooster appearances), so much so that it was almost a surprise to hear her Mancunian accent when she chatted to us after her opening number, engaging warmly with the audience. Annie was playing the NAC for the first time in about seven years and has a new single – Nyack – which is released next week. She performed melancholic songs of heartbreak and sadness but she was quick to point out that although this is where musical inspiration often stems from she also has a happy life. Both Annie and Demi were warmly received by the appreciative Norwich crowd. As, of course, was Lucy Grubb.

Annie Dressner

Annie Dressner

Demi Marriner

Demi Marriner

Demi Marriner

Lucy Grubb always impresses. One of Annie Catwoman’s Sonic Youths, I remember writing about her way back in 2015 when she can only have been 17 or so, playing with Morganway at The Birdcage, that “… it was her own songs that I enjoyed the most, one cannot help but wonder where some of those lyrics are coming from, she’s obviously another ‘old soul’ with a huge talent for expressive songwriting” and I believe that even more so now.  That old soul coming out in her writing and expression. Her songwriting is so good, with a clever turn of phrase and expressive storytelling. She has a quite excellent band around her too and this was actually the first time all five of them played together with Lucy, notable local musicians providing highly sympathetic bass, electric guitar, keys, drums and banjo, really allowing the songs to breathe and the lyrics and vocals to shine.

lucy grubb

Lucy has an understated and engaging manner and whatever she may be feeling she projects a quiet confidence, brave enough at one point to take off her hat and guitar and perform unaccompanied or with just one or two of the band with her.  It all passed enjoyably and all too quickly and despite the pleas for an encore she had exhausted her entire back catalogue. Nobody would have complained had we gone around again though!

lucy grubb

Lucy Grubb

Be it achingly tender and earnest songs or the more uptempo ones she and the band perform them with aplomb and Lucy is one of our best.

“Fresh from receiving “a rapturous reception” (BBC Cambridgeshire) headlining the Den Stage at Cambridge Folk Festival and a year of playing stages all over the country, Lucy Grubb, complete with full band, is back on home turf and celebrating a summer of festivals with the release of new music: Americana with a country-twist.”

lucy grubblucy grubb

Lucy Grubb

Lucy GrubbLucy Grubb

Lucy GrubbLucy GrubbLucy GrubbLucy GrubbLucy Grubb

At the end of last weekend I closed my Wild Paths 2019 experience at Frank’s Bar for a most beautiful set from Yve Mary B.  Feeling pretty exhausted after a full day of music Yve’s songs were the perfect way to wind down and end the evening in a very intimate setting, it felt like being comforted and wrapped in a warm musical blanket! Thank you Yve.

Yve Mary B

Earlier in the day I caught local favourites Hot Raisin at The Bowling House plus Floral Image, Galli, Amethysts, Dharma Hum, and Our Quiet Friends at Last Pub Standing.

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Norwich: Music City, UK

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Posted in Dharma Hum, Floral Image, Galli, Hot Raisin, live music and dance, Lucy Grubb, Norwich Arts Centre, Our Quiet Friends, Sonic Youths, Wild Paths, Yve Mary B | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment