Live music: week's gig guide

Simon Parkin Toronto, Sweden and San Diego make this week's live music offerings a diverse interntaional selection. Alt-country artist Annebelle Chvostek is at the Arts Centre, as are acclaimed folk duo Spiers and Boden. While jazz saxophonist Lennart Andersson is at the Green Man.

Simon Parkin


Norwich Arts Centre, Tuesday

Born and raised in Toronto, Annabella Chvostek made her professional debut with the Canadian Opera Company at the age of seven, and appeared in La Boheme at eight. Beat that Charlotte Church.

She's since left opera well behind though, having in the mid-1990s moved to Montreal to, as she puts it, “live like a bohemian”. There, she earned a degree in fine arts, composed for dance and film, played in bands that ranged from old-time to electronica, and served as a percussionist for dance classes.

But it was when she joined The Wailin' Jennys in 2004, that roots fans discovered the versatile multi-instrumentalist talent for song-writing.

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She's since established a reputation as a fearless and innovative artist whose beguiling left-of-centre compositions straddle the divide between mainstream roots and acoustic indie pop.

She has just released her much-anticipated solo album, Resilience, which could best be described as contemporary urban roots, with acoustic instruments and strings mixed with strategically placed programmed beats and electro-acoustic elements. And she's not afraid to tackle big themes in her songs. I Left My Brain, for example, is a crunchy alternative pop number about, she says “heartache in a time of oil wars”, while The Sioux is a trad-influenced fiddle-driven piece about a country train ride that confronts “the legacy of colonial occupation”.

Further listening:


Green Man, Tuesday

All the way from Sweden, where he's long been well known on the jazz circuit, this outstanding tenor sax player has a style reminiscent of Stan Getz.

In recent years he has become established on the UK scene, and its easy to see why. His exciting style, impressive technique and melodic approach find favour with crowds.

As well as his sax playing, Andersson is also a great mainstream pianist. Here he is backed by the ever reliable house band of Mike Capocci on piano, bassist Mike harris and drummer Brian McAllister.


Norwich Arts Centre, Wednesday

With Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick at the Arts Centre tonight, it's fitting that this pairing should arrive a few days later, as they've been described as contemporary equivalents.

John Spiers and Jon Boden have been consistently wowing audiences for the last five years with their unique blend of traditional English folk song with a contemporary twist and hi-octane dance tunes.

Winners of the Best Duo category at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in both 2004 and 2006, and founders of the Big-Band folk phenomenon that is Bellowhead, they now find themselves at the forefront of the folk revival.

Boden (singer, fiddle, guitar, stomp-box) follows in the footsteps of many of the great folk-singers with his theatrical style that can tell the story of a 20 verse ballad from the 18th century while maintaining the audience's attention and then sing a roaring sea-shanty with enough gusto to get everyone joining in.

Spiers (melodeon, concertina) has taken the traditional squeezebox styles and blended them with his knowledge of contemporary dance music to create an infectious acoustic groove which sounds like folk music but has an amazing effect on the uninitiated.

Further listening:


Norwich Arts Centre, Thursday

From busking for tips in San Diego, this collective from Texas, have grown to become one of the hardest swinging trios on the planet, wowing audiences with their flaming hot jazz and scorching swing sound and working alongside musical legends such as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and The Mavericks.

Now after a two-year hiatus, they've resumed touring and recording in anticipation of a forthcoming album.

Some things haven't changed. The band - Elana James on violin and vocals, Whit Smith on guitar and vocals, and Jake Erwin on bass and vocals - still swings harder than ever as they continue to develop a unique, ever-changing sound.

There roots are in the hot jazz era, Americana music, vintage pop and folk music, but they've continued to develop new sounds into their own original songs.

Further listening:


t September 12

Pennies (indie) - Arts Centre

The Acousticals (all styles) - Brickmakers

Sweat Dizease (metal) - B2

Funk Tank (funk/soul) - Queen Charlotte

Monkey Spanner (ska) - King Edward VII

Hollow (metal) - Marquee

Replica (covers) - Blueberry

Jason Stephens (guitarist) - Comfortably Numb

t September 13

Ska For Sumatra: feat. The Sweetbeats (ska/charity) - Arts Centre

The Legomen (indie) - B2

Egypt (rock) - King Edward VII

Just Floyd (tribute) - Brickmakers

Hair Traffic Control (pop) - Marquee

Slyde (tribute) - Blueberry

Red Leaf (rock) - Boundary

t September 14

Memphis Devils (rock'n'roll) - King Edward VII

Dana Wylie (acoustic/roots) - Cider Shed

Shakeout (psychobilly) - B2

Floating Greyhounds (rock) - Boundary

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) - Brickmakers

t September 15

Jason Molina (singer/songwriter) - Arts Centre

Another Stereo Affair (indie/pop) - B2

Smoking Pipes (blues) - Queen Charlotte

September 16

Lennart Andersson (jazz) - Rackheath Green Man

Immanis (metal) - Queen Charlotte

Texas Thunder (rock) - Brickmakers

Caution (rock/metal) - B2

t September 17

Second Smile/Colour (indie) - B2

t September 18

The Brew (blues/rock) - Brickmakers

Brooke Sharkey (acoustic) - Cider Shed

Take That 2 (tribute) - Assembly House

Stone Pony (R&B) - Blueberry

Saigon Kiss (punk/metal) - Marquee

The Keno Kings (blues) - Walnut Tree Shades