Preview: Norwich complete gig guide July 13-19

Alternative hip hop sensations The Pharcyde visit Norwich as part of a 20th anniversary tour. Plus: Ska-punk stalwarts The Toaster, local country-blues-swing outfit The Vagaband and upcoming hip hop stars Intensi-T and Olly B.


Norwich Arts Centre, July 17

Alternative hip hop sensations The Pharcyde visit Norwich as part of a 20th anniversary tour.

One of the most influential alternative hip hop groups of the 1990s, the return of the Pharcyde's unique South Central style (with original members Imani and Bootie Brown) is an unmissable event for hip hop fans.

In the early 1990s, when gangsta' rap consumed the airwaves, and the majority of West Coast rappers strapped on their Locs, Chuck Taylor's and Ben Davis', The Pharcyde maintained a wilfully weird vision.

Opting to stay true to themselves with their left-field but still South Central sensibility, rap had seen few groups so self-deprecating and so smart, four visionary rappers adroitly able to split the difference between helium-voiced and hardcore.

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Listening to their big breakthrough album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, two decades on its sense of timeliness is unmistakable. Every song inverts a hoary hip hop clich�. With classics like Otha Fish, Ya' Mama and hit single Passing Me By, it is not surprising that it shipped over a million units, garnered comparisons to De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest.

And from enlisting a young and then unknown James Yancey — aka J Dilla — to produce beats, to collaborating with video director Spike Jonze, the band has consistently reinforced their steadfast refusal to tread overfamiliar hip hop grounds.

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Waterfront Studio, July 17

The Two-Tone movement continues to hold a special place in British music with both Madness and the reformed Specials still popular on the live circuit, even with fans much too young to remember it first time round.

However perhaps the most surprising thing about the ska revival label's longevity is its influence on bands in America — where the likes of The Specials, The Selecter and The Beat never really enjoyed much chart success but left a mark nonetheless.

The Toasters are a perfect example. Thirty years ago they were a bunch of upstarts from New York's Lower East Side whose musically imagination was fired by these ska sounds coming over from the UK.

This unruly group of ruffians re-created the 2-Tone sound in their own image by synthesizing it with East Side punk in the process becoming pioneers of the American so-called Third Wave of Ska.

Over the years they've garnered much praise and been a constant presence on the live scene, never quite in fashion but with a loyal band of fans who known a good night when they experience one.

Continuing on from their 30th Anniversary Tour last year, they arrived back in Norwich. According to lead singer Bucket, nothing can eclipse the vibes of a sweaty packed-out club with the audience in your face and the bit between the teeth. Support from Faintest Idea and Project MultiVitamin

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Rumsey Wells, July 19

Fresh from debuting material from their album Town & Country, helmed by renowned producer Russell McNamara, who has previously worked with Bjork, in the Spiegeltent as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, this Norwich-based eight-piece band play their latest local gig.

The Vagaband describe their music as roots music; a soulful mix between country, blues, swing and rock. The songs sometimes fit neatly in the Americana bracket though always with an underlying Britishness.

Among the instruments they play are fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, sax, trumpet, banjo, squeezebox and piano.

The past two summers have seen them amass a very respectful following across the UK festival scene including appearances at Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Bestival and the Maverick Festival, near Ipswich, where they've enjoyed a headline spot two years running.

Tracks from the album have enjoyed play on BBC Introducing and the band are going from strength to strength in the studio and as a live force.

If you miss them here, fear not. They will also be appearing at the Waterfront on July 23, the Rose Tavern, in Rupert Street, on July 26, and the Brewery Tap on August 10.

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Waterfront Studio, July 19

A double-bill of two upcoming UK rappers to watch.

Having recently performed live in front of millions on Channel 4's T4 On The Beach with Girls Aloud Nicola Roberts, joined Ed Sheeran on stage and collaborated with hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks, Intensi-T has an understated but extraordinarily vocal delivery with heavy, hard hitting electro-pop beats fused with thumping bass-lines.

With just a microphone and a loop pedal, it has won the 19-year-old critically acclaim, backed by some innovative music videos and captivating live shows. Testament to his success is the 450,000 views of his videos on YouTube in less than a year.

At just 16, there is seemingly no stopping Olly B either. Not only has he been given support and love from Radio 1's Trevor Nelson, acclaiming him as one to watch for 2012, he has also played extensively on BBC Introducing. With over one million views from his videos on YouTube he is going from strength to strength.

Currently managed by triple platinum producer Jake Gosling, who produced Ed Sheeran's album, as well as other artists such as Paloma Faith, Wiley, JME, Wretch 32 and Devlin, there no doubt this young rapper is definitely in the right hands.

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Floating Greyhounds (rock) — Brickmakers

Leonard + Wicked Faith + Ember (rock) — B2

The Heavin' Cleavages (risque rock) — Brewery Tap

Dynamite Horton (rockabilly) — Walnut Tree Shades

Sun of Cash (country/tribute) — Silver Road Cottage

Norwich Folk Club — Christ Church Centre

Pyevarotti — Trowel & Hammer

Tim Ballard — Fiveways

Rob Charles — The Farmhouse


The Darkness + Black Stone Cherry (rock) — Thetford Forest

Immaculate Groove Project (funk/soul/pop) — Brickmakers

To The Last (rock) — King Edward VII

Replica (rock) — Walnut Tree Shades

The Revolves (50s/60s) — Heath House

Lee Vasey (blues) — Old Catton Maids Head

Play The Music (acoustic/1pm) — Arts Centre

Shannan — Bread & Cheese

Offbeats (60s) — Arkwrights

Mickey Spanton — Quebec Tavern

Mark James — Keir Hardie Hall

Terry Adams — Angel Gardens

Janey K — Robin Hood

Alan Ley — Trowel & Hammer

Carol — The Farmhouse


Floating Greyhounds (rock/4pm) — Boundary

Hayley Moses Bluegrass Forum (roots/2.30pm) — Brewery Tap

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Ricci (3pm/charity) — Old Catton Maids Head


Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie (jazz) — Walnut Tree Shades

Jazz Jam (open mic) — B2


The Pharcyde (hip hop) — Arts Centre

The Toasters (ska) — Waterfront Studio

Tearaway (ska/punk) — Brickmakers

Daryl Sherman (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man


Traditional Irish — Gatehouse

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers


Intensi-T + Olly B (electro-pop) — Waterfront Studio

Mucked Up Funkies (funk/rock) — Brickmakers

Fear Of The Unknown + more (metal) — B2

Chase The Enemy (indie/rock) — King Edward VII

Ghostriders Western Club: feat. Kevin Barry (country) — TA Centre

The Vagaband (Americana) — Rumsey Wells

Acoustic Jukebox: feat. Dan Scoggins — Brewery Tap

Rob Holmes Band (rock/blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Tendahooks (rock/pop) — The Crown Costessey

John Watchman & Mark Howes (blues) — Rackheath Green Man

Monk Inc (jazz) — Rose Tavern