Preview: Norwich full gig guide April 26-May 2

Darwin Deez

Darwin Deez - Credit: Archant

Darwin Deez is Darwin Smith, a native North Carolinian with a penchant for headbands, catchy pop and Carl Sagan. He returns in support of his new album, Songs For Imaginative People. Plus: The Pigeon Detectives, King Creosote, Rudimental.


Waterfront, April 29

Darwin Deez is Darwin Smith, a native North Carolinian with a penchant for headbands, catchy pop and Carl Sagan. He may be best known for his quirky videos and overstated hipster aesthetic, but beyond the questionable haircut and wacky dancing are some real musical chops.

It would have been easy – all too easy – to think you had him figured out. He's the irrepressible pop auteur who broke into spontaneous, synchronized dances on stage to his off-kilter pop. But scratch a little and you find more depth and melancholy than quirky first appearances suggest. His 2011, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sampling, Wonky Beats mix-tape saw him trading intricately rhythmic rhymes with Chiddy Bang, Das Racist and Dev Hynes and set the stage to expect the unexpected.

He returns in support of his new album, Songs For Imaginative People, which is reaping critical plaudits and further displaying Deez's forays into off-beat, off-kilter guitar pop.

As anybody who has seen his pervious live shows in Norwich can testify, he is an absolutely unique proposition, as he will no doubt be mixing in choreographed dance moves with unavoidably catchy hits like Radar Detector, Constellations and Bad Day, as well as showcasing new material.

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Entirely self-recorded and produced in North Carolina, then mixed in London with Charlie Andrew (Alt-J, Eugene McGuiness), the album is a fascinating and thrilling record as Darwin flexes his muscles and moves into unashamedly uncharted territory.

Support comes from Australian four-piece indie pop outfit San Cisco.

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Waterfront, April 30

After a two-year hiatus - not without its problems - Yorkshire quintet The Pigeon Detectives, fronted by Matt Bowman, return in support of fourth album We Met At Sea, out on Monday.

Having sold over 500,000 albums, the five-piece recorded in their home town of Leeds looking for a 'live feel', and the album certainly has the energy, charisma and catchiness of previous releases. The tried-and-tested 'jagged guitar/shouty repetitive chorus' formula heard on new tracks such as I Don't Mind and I Won't Come Back is sure to satisfy their fanbase even if it doesn't really move the indie rockers on as a band, whereas the New Order feel of Light Me Up is something new and could be an avenue to explore further. It'll ne interesting to see how it translates live.

'We're a live band,' says Bowman, 'that's where we cut our teeth; that's where we're most comfortable, that's where we have the most fun. That's where we made our name.'

Having already garnered a reputation as one of the most raucous, thrilling live acts around the aim was to siphon this rip-roar on-stage energy into a more direct album.

'For the third album we almost went against our instincts at times,' Bowman concedes of 2011's Up Guards, And At 'Em, which followed their 2007 debut Wait For Me and 2008's 'Emergency' - both Top Five hits. 'We reigned ourselves in. On this one we just wrote what came out, really natural.'

Support comes from Must and Soloko.

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Norwich Arts Centre, May 1

Scottish singer/songwriter King Creosote — aka Fife's Kenny Atkinson — makes a welcome return to the Arts Centre.

There are well-kept secrets, and there is Kenny Anderson. Never a fan of the obvious nor the easy, the large musical brain behind King Creosote and the Fence collective — and other collaborations too numerous to mention (or remember) — is back out on the road as part of just a duo this time, after his hugely successful Diamond Mine album with Jon Hopkins.

His latest Norwich visit will see him performing as a duo with pal Captain Geeko (who plays the bongos). He is also currently hobbling with a broken leg and has taken to performing impromptu, improvised songs to tell the tale of how it happened.

It's that type of free-wheeling that makes King Creosote gigs special — each one is individual and this was no different.

The electro-folk maestro releases so many albums and EPs and collaborates with so many people that you never know what to expect from his gigs.

His latest release is That Might Well Be It, Darling, initially released in 2010 as a series of EPs only available at King Creosote live shows. It actually may well be his best album. Tracks from it may or may not feature at this date, you never know. Support comes from his sometime Fence collaborator Gummi Bako.

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UEA, May 1

The Hackney quartet - comprising of Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and DJ Locksmith - have already impressed with a string of singles: including chart-topper Feel The Love, and Not Giving In with John Newman and Alex Clare.

Such has been their success that this Norwich date has been switched to the UEA from the Waterfront due to demand. It coincides with the release of their much anticipated debut album, Home, which is also out next week.

As they celebrate their second No 1, Waiting All Night featuring Ella Eyre, the band have managed a neat trick by producing music that sounds simultaneously old-school yet very 2013, with both drum 'n' bass loops and retro horns aplenty.

The Hackney quartet's chart-topping breakthrough single Feel The Love, with its worldly-wise vocal from John Newman, is indicative of the feel. The album has guest vocals including Emeli Sande and Angel Haze, and tracks such as Powerless are reminiscent of Massive Attack at their most haunting - and then there's the 1990s house of Baby to lighten the mood.

They don't lack ambition. 'We want to have classic albums like the big acts like Massive Attack. We wanted to bring out a seminal, genre-defining album,' said Amor.

It'll be interesting to see how it translates live, but their sound has a lot of heart and soul, and the album promises to be one of the biggest of the year.

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Violet Violet + Cthru27 + Arrows Of Love (indie) — Arts Centre

The Tracks + The Deadbeats (pop) — Epic

Bon Giovi (rock/tribute) — Brickmakers

Spiral Dive (rock) — King Edward VII

Milly Hirst + Winter Villians + Andrew Taylor (indie) — The Birdcage

Dead Red + Papa Shango + Dying Breeds (rock) — Open

Color: presents Metalheadz: feat. Goldie (drum n bass) — Waterfront

Dissonance (metal/rock) — B2

King Dinosaur (rockabilly) — Walnut Tree Shades

Murphy's Lore (roots) — Brewery Tap

The Stylotones (ska/reggae) — Blueberry

We Ghosts (indie) — Silver Road Cottage

SkaFace UK (ska/pop) — Bedfords

Albert Cooper's Jazz Life (jazz) — Rumsey Wells

Music House: feat. Adrian Lever + Robyn Astrid + Tom Conway + more (acoustic) — Wensum Lodge

Blue Moon Rock'n'Roll Club — Arkwrights

Norwich Folk Club (folk) — Christ Church Centre


Mr Woodnote + Lil Rhys + Eva Lazarus (sax/loops/beatbox) — Arts Centre

Mallory Knox + Natives + Evarose (rock) — Waterfront

10th Anniversary Show: feat. Surprise Band — Brickmakers

Play The Music: feat. Matt Watson + Kayleigh Watson + Jefferson Thomas + more (acoustic/1pm) — Arts Centre

Untold (rock) — King Edward VII

Stealer (rock) — Boundary

Money Shot (rock) — Blueberry

Coupe De Ville (rock/pop) — Woolpack

The Vagaband (Americana) — Silver Road Cottage

The Planks (soul/blues) — Old Catton Maids Head

Firewire (rock/pop/ska) — Spixworth Social Club

Honeydripper (blues) — Eaton Cottage

Miss B Havin — Arkwrights

Phill Male — Angel Gardens

Pete Turner — The Champion

Micky J King — The Farmhouse

Uprising — Trowel & Hammer

Micky Spanton — Quebec Tavern

For Everley — Keir Hardie Hall

Liza Marie — Sprowston Social Club

Penny Hannant — Buck Inn

Bradley B — Coach & Horses

Tony Cann — Bread & Cheese

Tom Baxter — Horsford Social Club

Janie K — The Bull

Barry Lee — Heath House


The Strawbs + Curved Air + Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash (rock/folk) — St Andrews Hall

Solid Silver Show: feat. Dave Berry + Wayne Fontana + Merseybeats + more (60s) — Theatre Royal

Brooke Sharkey (folk/roots) — Bicycle Shop

Cash + Jack Pout & The Dirt Level (country/tribute) — Waterfront

The Planks (soul/3pm) — Brewery Tap

Pete Kiki Keegan (skiffle/rock'n'roll/3pm) — King Edward VII

Son Of Cash (country/tribute) — Walnut Tree Shades

Lou & The Diamonds (60s/5pm) — Silver Road Cottage

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Folk Club (acoustic/folk) — The Lounge


Darwin Deez + San Cisco (pop/indie) — Waterfront

Attack! Attack! + Gavin Butler (rock) — Waterfront Studio

Brickie Session (open mic) — Brickmakers

Albert Cooper's Jazz Life (jazz) — Rumsey Wells

Jazz Jam: feat. Brendan Young + Lee Vasey + Ian Hireson + Mark Jolley + Matt Furness (jazz) — Silver Road Cottage

Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades


The Pigeon Detectives + Must + Soloko (indie/rock) — Waterfront

Marcella Detriot (pop/indie) — Arts Centre

Lotte Mullan (singer-songwriter) — Bicycle Shop

Donna Rae Wells (country) — Brickmakers

Norwich Jazz Club: feat. Jamie O'Donnell (jazz) — Thunder Lane Cottage

Phab Club: feat. Dave Sheppard (blues) — Vauxhall Centre

Traditional Folk Night — Beehive

Jam Night — Rumsey Wells


Rudimental (hip hop/pop) — UEA

King Creosote + Gummi Bako (folk/indie) — Arts Centre

Dan Whitehouse + Jefferson Thomas + Mathew Foster-Moore (acoustic) — Bedfords

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Traditional Irish — Gatehouse

Open Mic — Garden House


Beardyman (hip hop/beatbox) — Waterfront

Frank Hamilton + Mark Grist + Lewis Mokler (folk/indie) — Waterfront Studio

Hello Bear + Smokes, Shoots and Leaves + Jon Christophers (indie) — The Birdcage

Joe Ringer Band (rock/pop) — Brickmakers

Slagerij (ska/punk) — Blueberry

Dave Thomas & The Diplomats (rock/blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Dumfoundus + Dr Clyde + T Bone (acoustic/open mic) — Union Street Coach & Horses

Ghostriders Western Club (country) — TA Centre

Jazz At Olives — Olives

Johnny Jump Band (roots/blues) — Micawbers Tavern

Open Mic — Lounge

Open Mic — Union Street Coach & Horses