Preview: Norwich full gig guide March 15-21


Stornoway - Credit: Archant

Most bands don't record themselves in tiny garages, horde mandolins or profess to have a serious interest in ornithology, but then there aren't many bands like Stornoway. Plus: Lapalux, Maia, Cancer Bats, Stiff Little Fingers.


Open, March 15

Most bands don't record themselves in tiny garages, horde mandolins or profess to have a serious interest in ornithology, but then there aren't many bands like Stornoway.

Coming to national attention when they became the first unsigned band to appear on Later With…Jools Holland in 2009, Stornoway — yes, named after the Hebridean town; no, they're from Oxford — subsequently signed to 4AD, releasing their debut album, the windswept and beautiful Beachcomber's Windowsill, in 2010.

Establishing themselves as one of the more genuine, melodically adventurous indie-folk bands that the UK has produced of late, the four-piece are about to release Tales From Terra Firma, a confident, ambitious — and self-recorded — second album full of exotic instrumentation and broad-screen song-writing.

They can inhabit the same drearily dressed-down, banjo-wielding territory as the Mumfords, but Stornoway's sound seems to come from a more organic place and Tales From Terra Firma reflects powerful life experiences, the great outdoors and the passing of time, which is a major theme. Lyricist Brian Briggs explains: 'The title of the album conjures up for me, the romantic notion of an adventurer, exploring new lands and reporting on his experiences. Discovering what it is to be human and an enthusiasm for adventure, which I feel is true of me.'

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Musically it sees the band exploring too, but without ever losing sight of the simple magic that made their debut such a joy. Support comes from Southampton-born, London-based dream folk outfit Pale Seas.

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Norwich Arts Centre, March 16

The latest Spectro electronic night brings 22-year-old Essex-based producer Stuart Howard — otherwise known as Lapalux — to Norwich Arts Centre.

From his debut release, 2008's Forest EP, Howard has explored the decayed edges of experimental beat music, constructing typically haunting atmospherics around swinging hip-hop rhythms and glitched, broken electronic noise. It has aligned the young producer with US counterparts like Flying Lotus, Shlohmo, Teebs and any number of LA-based, Brainfeeder-affiliated beat makers.

Having taken time out for music college, Lapalux returned with his Many Faces Out of Focus EP on the newly minted Pictures Music label, home to fellow producers Koreless, Chairman Kato, Dark Sky and Dauwd, and his When You're Gone EP. It saw him continue his painstaking exploration of sound, mixing synths with a blanket of field recordings, samples and stabs of heavy bass, spilling the likes of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, classic Warp and old school boom-bap hip hop into the mix. His album, Nostalchic, is released on Brainfeeder next week. It'll be interesting to see how his intricate of melodies constructed of human whistles and rainfall translate live.

Also on the bill are Suffolk electronic duo The Soft and Norwich electronic scene newcomer Miles Otto, whose sound balances hardcore, acid house and Krautrock influences.

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Bicycle Shop, March 19

They may come from Huddersfield, but self-described sci-fi folk outfit Maia are far more out-there than those origins suggest.

The genre-busting outfit arrive at the Bicycle Shop in St Benedict's Street with a radiant varied sound, balancing stunning harmonies with a brooding sense of adventure as well as streaks of pop eccentricity.

After three years of live show experience, and supports including the likes of Anais Mitchell, The Low Anthem and The Unthanks, the band continue to receive huge praise and a greater following for their fantastic live shows.

After a critically acclaimed performance at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2011 and residencies at the influential monthly Folk Newington night in London and the highly regarded Magpies Nest Collective, the off-kilter four-piece released a highly acclaimed celestial album, Pepper Stars, in October, bagging several five-star reviews and being named Time Out Album of the Week.

They combine kulele, cajon, trumpet, banko and mandolin — plus richly atmospheric hushed falsetto — to thoroughly enthralling effect with foot-stomping and unique sound, sparked by their mutual love for folk, Talking Heads and David Bowie.

This is a chance to catch them in a fantastically intimately live setting.

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Waterfront, March 19

Cancer Bats rock up at the Waterfront still proving that loud, gritty, and ranting punk rock is alive and thrashing in Canada. The Toronto band has released four albums since being formed in 2004 by singer Liam Cormier and guitarist Scott Middleton.

Their last album, Dead Set on Living, was a decided more upbeat follow up to their previous album Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones and marked the band steering away from traditional hardcore to take in wider variety of influences. They're back in the UK to mark the re-release of Dead Set On Living as a deluxe set which includes three unheard tracks and the Bat Sabbath EP, including studio recorded songs from their infamous Bat Sabbath set, first performed at Sonisphere 2011.

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Waterfront, March 20

Stiff Little Fingers return to the Waterfront celebrating their 34th year.

Prior to becoming Stiff Little Fingers, Jake Burns, Henry Cluney, Gordon Blair and Brian Faloon, Drums, were playing in a Deep Purple cover band, Highway Star. However formed in 1977, the Belfast band are true punk originals with singles that have included the punk classic Alternative Ulster.

Like many punk outfits they struggled to find a new sound once punk evolved into new wave. Their Now Then album of 1982 alienated many of SLF's punk followers with its pop sound, and despite some glowing critical reviews, never got the recognition it deserved.

The band split the following year.

Reformed and still fronted by the iconic Burns, their music continues to combine the energy of punk with infectious hooks and a delivery that rings of honesty and commitment.

The band are this time joined by long-running folk-punk stalwarts The Men They Couldn't Hang, whose first single, The Green Fields of France, was released in 1984, but who have reformed on and off since 1996, including a gathering of the original members in 2009 to mark 25 years.

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Stornoway + Pale Seas (indie/pop) — Open

Agent Orange + The Yow Yows (pop/rock) — Brickmakers

Howlin' Mat (blues) — Blueberry

Dead Red Presents… (rock) — King Edward VII

Dying Breeds + Couch + I Was Once A Dinosaur (punk/pop) — B2

A13 Allstars (blues/Americana) — Brewery Tap

The Rockin Devils (rock'n'roll) — Walnut Tree Shades

Hard Rain (acoustic) — The Buck Inn

The Men From Uncle Barry (60s) — Spixworth Social Club

The Planks (blues/soul) — Moles Rest

Norwich Folk Club: feat. Craig, Morgan & Robson (folk/vocals) — Christ Church Centre


Pout At The Devil + Blind Tiger (rock) — Open

Spectro: feat. Lapalux + The Soft + Miles Otto (electro-pop) — Arts Centre

Raw Edge + Pandemonium (rock) — Brickmakers

Replica (rock) — The Woolpack

Uprising (rock) — King Edward VII

Worlds Apart (rock) — Walnut Tree Shades

Iron Sun (rock/alternative) — Olives

The Rum Dogs (country/Irish) — Freemason's Arms

Four Play (rock) — Trowel & Hammer

Section 4 (prog/rock) — Blueberry

Floating Greyhounds (rock) — Boundary

Electricity (blues) — Golden Star

Tallawah Band (reggae) — Revolution de Cuba

Mickey Flynn (rock/blues) — Old Catton Maids Head

Johnny Jump Band (country/blues) — Micawbers Tavern

Time Travellers: feat. Julie Dee (60s/70s) — Arkwrights

Lisa Marie — Angel Gardens

Pat James — Heath House

Bradley B — Union St Coach & Horses

Tony Cann — Bread & Cheese

Alan Ley — Quebec Tavern

Dale Corcoran — The Champion


Dumbfoundus (pop/acoustic/3pm) — Brewery Tap

St Patrick's Day Party: feat. Howlin' Matt + Johnny Jump Band (Americana/skiffle/blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Steve Farrell (acoustic/pop/album launch) — B2

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Copperplate (Irish) — Rumsey Wells


Cancer Bats (rock/metal) — Waterfront

Deicide + Destinity + Karnak + Sweetest Devilry (metal) — Waterfront Studio

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

Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades

Jazz Night — Hog In Armour

Brickie Session (open mic) — Brickmakers


Simon McBride (rock/guitar) — Arts Centre

Maia (indie/folk) — Bicycle Shop

Lucky Jango (indie/rock) — Brickmakers

Ant Law + Simon Brown Trio (guitar/jazz) — Oaklands Hotel

Phab Club: feat. Roger Dowe (pop/folk) — Vauxhall Centre

Traditional Folk Night — Beehive

Jam Night — Rumsey Wells


Stiff Little Fingers + The Men They Couldn't Hang (punk/pop) — Waterfront

Theme Park + Chateaux (funk/rock) — Waterfront Studio

Song Noir (jazz) — Café Marzano

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Traditional Irish — Gatehouse

Acoustic Singaround — Micawbers Tavern

Open Mic — Garden House


Clannad + Brian Kennedy (folk) — UEA

The Selector (ska/pop) — Waterfront

Groovapolitan + Big Trend (funk/pop) — Brickmakers

Sheesh (pop/punk) — B2

Rob Holmes Band (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Movements (indie/acoustic) — Ten Bells

Ghostriders Western Club: feat. Nashville Numbers (country) — TA Centre

Lisa Webster (singer-songwriter) — Bar 11

Johnny Jump Band (country/blues) — Micawbers Tavern

Simon Youngman Quartet — Rose Tavern

Open Mic — Union St Coach & Horses

Open Mic — Lounge