Blues greats and new faces join popular blues festival
PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 12 October 2018
Join an explosion of blues in Norwich and Norfolk this month as the fifth Fine City Blues Festival gets underway.
An essential date for blues fans – blues diva Dana Gillespie headlines the Fine City Blues Festival this year.
The series of gigs and nights in October and November always attracts plenty of new fans too who discover a rich mixture of well known artists and exciting up and coming new bands.
The festival, from October 18-28 in Norwich and Norfolk and extending into November at one city venue, celebrates the city’s many intimate venues where the audience can enjoy blues at its best – up close to the artist. It features many top flight British blues artists from Dana Gillespie (playing Norwich Arts Centre October 27) to Dave Thomas, plus a very special artist from Brazil, Big Gilson.
B.B. King was one of his many admirers and Big is known as one of the forerunners of the blues in Brazil, now playing gigs far and wide.
Indeed, Big opened for B.B. King, who said of him: “When I see such a young man so far from America, playing the blues so well, I feel happy and proud that my mission in this life is done.”
Big Gilson plays The Murderers in Norwich on October 18.
With a focus on the British blues, from the great British blues boom of the sixties to the present day, the Festival includes venues such as The Louis Marchesi, The Murderers and The Trafford Arms in Norwich, with live music from every era.
Gigs include blues veteran Dave Thomas, playing Diss Corn Hall on October 19. Dave’s band has been wowing fans for years, and once headlined above Fleetwood Mac. The band brings hard-driving Chicago-style blues, the sounds that influenced bands such as John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and the Pretty Things. They’re on the bill with hot young British musicians The Greg Coulson Band, who were finalists in the recent British Blues Challenge, bringing a fiery brand of rhythm and blues to the stage.
What’s more, Kyla Brox, who sings with her band at The Murderers on Thursday, November 15, has just been announced the winner in the British Blues Challenge.
The festival continues with the likes of The Fine City Blues Band playing The Trafford Arms on October 20. Featuring some of the best blues musicians in Norfolk, it’s the house band at the Fine City Blues Club with a line up that varies according to who is visiting. A top line up – and some surprises – is planned for the night.
The festival is supporting the Alzheimer’s Society and all events are free except those at Anteros, Diss Corn Hall and Norwich Arts Centre.
Pick up a programme at any of the fifth Fine City Blues Festival venues.
Further highlights of the festival include
Saturday, October 27
Norwich Arts Centre
Dana Gillespie with the Dave Thomas Band
International blues legend Dana has been performing and touring the world since the sixties. Her career has combined radio, theatre, film and sport (she was once British junior water-skiing champion) with music, and that sound has evolved from folk in the 60s through 70s Bowie-esque glam-rock to the raunchy in-your-face blues she performs today. She’s joined by old friend and blues legend Dave Thomas for a night to remember.
Sunday, October 21
Louis Marchesi, 1-10pm
Roadhouse Sessions featuring local bands including Cold Sweat, Fine City Stompers and Mojo Preacher.
Wednesday, October 24
Acoustic Showcase featuring Dave Thomas and Hugh Gregory (aka Shortstuff), The Journeymen and Yve Mary B.
Thursday, October 25
Giles Robson Band
Known and loved as one of the world’s top harmonica players, Giles Robson brings the buzz of his raw and dirty, gritty 12-bar road house blues to an intimate gig at the Norwich city centre venue.
Friday, October 26
Paul Lamb and Chad Strentz
Harmonica rules the day again at this venue when harmonica darling and true gentleman of the blues, Paul Lamb brings his soulful sound to the festival. He’s joined at The Murderers by Chad Strentz, singer and guitar player with The King Snakes.