Preview: Norwich gig guide Dec 16-23

Eighties pop star Prince Charming Adam Ant, the goody two-shoes Dandy Highwayman returns to stand and deliver once again. Plus NR One Records festive party, Napalm Death, Bad Manners and The Hamsters.


UEA, December 16

It is a statistic which will make those of a certain age cringe, but Adam Ant's career now spans a remarkable five decades.

Best known for the pomp and splendour of his 1980s hey-day, he is a genuine music icon. And after recent years where his health has made more headlines than his legacy — he is back where he belongs; on stage and playing to sell-out audiences in critically acclaimed tours.

The man who once rode to the top of the charts as the Dandy Highwayman is in Norwich next week for a show that should be one to remember.

His six-piece band — The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse — ripping through some of the biggest hits from his back catalogue, some rarities from the earliest days of Adam and the Ants, and a sprinkle of songs from his upcoming album.

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He's even back wearing the pirate gear.

Many have hailed his return. And he's certainly put the time in over the last year. Aside from several jaunts of the towns and cities of the UK he played at big outdoor shows such as Hyde Park's Hard Rock Calling and, in this region, Latitude.

He also returned to Norfolk to appear alongside a diverse range of writers and performers at the inaugural Voewood literary festival at High Kelling in August.

All were well received.

'It's odd,' he says, 'we've never had good reviews before — everyone in the media hated us. Well, I say, that, Smash Hits and the daily newspapers made Adam and the Ants successful. I do read the reviews, but they're not the main motivator. I try and give a good night's entertainment, keep it simple, and that's all I can do.'

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Norwich Arts Centre, December 17

Long-running Norwich label NR One has its 2011 'Office Party'. It's been another successful year for the label with its bands headlining in Liverpool Sound City, Death Of Death Of Discotheques' album getting rave reviews, The Barlights playing Hop Park festival and the arrival of Hello Bear after winning The Next Big Thing.

The Cads also did two European Tours and received lots of national airplay, while The Kabeedies left the label to join Fierce Panda, which is actually another success as the label was designed to be a launch pad, not a final destination.

This is the last Christmas gig they intend to do as the — despite having three album releases line-up for the New Year — the label will become a part-time venture from January.

They celebrate their success with a packed line-up including a headline slot from The Barlights, plus performances from Hello Bear, Death Of Death Of Discotheque and The Witchers.

In addition there'll be Electric Horsebox Playback in the bar, plus food and a free limited-edition CD for the first 100 people through the door.

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Waterfront, December 19

This gig will feature some restful Christmas melodies. Not really. What you'll be getting from extreme metal outfit Napalm Death will, as ever, be loud and in-your-face.

The grindcore/black metal legends, formed in the village of Meriden near Birmingham, will once again be playing their stupidly brief yet heroic metal sledgehammer songs. The hard-working band has honed their take-no-prisoners brand of metal over 29 years on the road. The present Napalm Death actually contains no original members. But vocalist Mark 'Barney' Greenway, guitarist Mitch Harris, bassist Shane Embury and drummer Danny Herrera, together since 1992's Utopia Banished, have turned longevity into a virtue.

Following an experimental mid-1990s phase involving industrial dabblings and clean vocals, which caused friction among members and fans alike, the group's back-to-basics discs since have been hailed as a 'return to form'. They are currently giving the final touch to their 14th studio album, Utilitarian. Support comes from Jackals and The Crisis Kings.

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Waterfront, December 19

Thirty-years on from can-canning to the top of the charts the heavyweight nine-piece ska party-band is still going strong, fronted as ever by the outrageous Buster Bloodvessel.

The clown prince of the Two Tone movement, Buster won a place in the nation's hearts as the bald headed, tongue wagging, tutu-wearing, dancing boot-boy who spread the band's philosophy of partying, having a good time and not taking yourself too seriously.

Hits included My Girl Lollipop, Special Brew, Lip Up Fatty and a punk version of The Can Can, which inspired a generation of schoolboys to kick one another on the dancefloor of the school disco.

Famous for his big personality and even bigger figure, he's now, quite literally, half the man he used to be after drastic surgery saw him lose a staggering 18 stone. The weight loss has typically only upped his energy and lunacy levels.

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Waterfront, December 22

Rock goodbyes cannot always be trusted, but we're told that after 25 years and (literally) thousands of gigs, hard-rocking trio The Hamsters are finally signing off with this farewell tour.

Their appearance at the Waterfront will probably be their last appearance in the city, so make the most of this hugely acclaimed live band.

Though they've never made it in terms of chart success — probably not helped by the daft band name — the outfit have a great reputation as live performers. Over the years they've played most venues and festivals, while band members have also performed with artists including Eric Clapton, Alison Moyet, Doctor Feelgood, Walter Trout and the late, great gentleman of British Blues, Alexis Korner.

As well as their own brand of rock, blues and Americana, you can also expect to hear some of their superb interpretations of the music of Hendrix and ZZ Top.

The band will play two separate sets with no support and as well as some hard rocking their two-hour performance will be the inclusion of a few acoustic songs!

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Adam Ant and the he Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse (pop/rock) — UEA

Wombatwombat Christmas Party: feat. Magoo + more (indie) — Arts Centre

Throb (glam rock) — Brickmakers

Unchained Syns + more (metal/rock) — King Edward VII

Astral Void + more (rock) — B2

Rock Hot Rockers (rock'n'roll) — Walnut Tree Shades

The Planks (soul/blues) — Blueberry

Honeydripper (rock/blues) — Angel Gardens

Them Harvey Boys (bluegrass/roots) — Brewery Tap

Floating Greyhounds (rock) — Boundary

Electricity (blues/rock) — Silver Road Cottage

Music House: feat. Andrew Taylor + more (acoustic) — Wensum Lodge

Norwich Folk Club — Christ Church Centre

Ale Worthy Beats — Rumsey Wells

Joe Bloggs — Lakenham Cock

Susan Jayne — Fiveways

Pyevarotti — Trowel & Hammer

December 17

NR One Office Party: feat. The Barlights + more (indie/rock) — Arts Centre

Metal Lust Xmas Party: feat. Guns 2 Roses + more (metal/tribute) — Waterfront

Raw Edge (rock) — Blueberry

The Burning Crows (rock) — King Edward VII

Mentallica (metal/tribute) — Brickmakers

Lou & The Diamonds (60s) — Arkwrights

Rob Charles (easy) — Heath House

San (rock) — The Stanley

Doozoor — Angel Gardens

Mark James — Keir Hardie Hall

Kevin Solo — Bread & Cheese

Alan Ley — The Windmill

Ricci — Trowel & Hammer

Gary Only — Wensum Community Centre

December 18

Napalm Death + more (metal/punk) — Waterfront

Jonathan Wyatt Big Band (swing/jazz) — The Forum

Ria Ritchie (pop/acoustic) — Tao Club & Lounge

The Stylotones (60s/soul) — The Talk

Egypt (rock/blues) — King Edward VII

The Dave Thomas Band (blues) — Brewery Tap

Jade (acoustic) — Blueberry

No Secrets (pop) — The Rose

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

December 19

Bad Manners (ska) — Waterfront

Jukebox Memories (50s/60s) — St Andrews Social Club

Stookey Blue (folk) — Micawbers Tavern

Brickies Session (open mic) — Brickmakers

December 20

Moriah! (klezmer/world) — Arts Centre

Christmas Party Night: feat. Green Man Sextet (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man

Fist Full of Lies + more (rock/charity) — B2

Endeavour (rock) — Brickmakers

Live & Direct (acoustic) — Rumsey Wells

The Raw & The Cooked (folk/soundtrack) — Norwich Playhouse Bar

December 21

Midwinter Moonshine: feat. The Vagaband + more (indie/rock) — Arts Centre

Underline The Sky + more (pop-punk) — B2

Christmas Carols: feat. Cawston Brass Band — Brewery Tap

Cinema Smug Followed By: feat. Neutrinos + more (acoustic) — Norwich Playhouse Bar

Out of Step — Karma Kafe

ABC Blues Brothers — Dog House

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Tony Cann — Quebec Tavern

December 22

Howlback Humbug: feat. Transept + more (indie) — Arts Centre

The Hamsters (rock) — Waterfront

Acoustic & Eclectic: feat. Cakes & Ale + more (acoustic/folk/alternative) — Olives

The Chris Cooper Trio (blues/bebop) — Rumsey Wells

Undercover (rock/blues) —


Sally Taylor & the Midnight Soul Band (soul) — Beluga

San (rock) — Blueberry

Keno Kings (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Simon Youngman Quartet (jazz) — Rose Tavern

Johnny Jump Band (punk skiffle) — Micawbers

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

Live Acoustic — Norwich Playhouse Bar

Open Jam — King Edward VII

Open Mic — Garden House