Preview: Norwich gig guide Jan 13-19

Face-melting Detroit thrash-metal quintet The Black Dahlia Murder have made a career out of being unpredictable — as well as unhinged, unclassifiable and unrepentant, all in the best possible ways. Plus Dave McPherson, Ellen and the Escapades and Tom Russell.


Waterfront Studio, January 14

The face-melting Detroit spazzcore cum thrash-metal quintet The Black Dahlia Murder has made a career out of being unpredictable — as well as unhinged, unclassifiable and unrepentant, all in the best possible ways.

Ritual, the band's fifth full-length album, released last year, saw the extreme metal troupe deliver the band's the most focused release to date.

Following up 2009's acclaimed Deflorate, which brought The Black Dahlia Murder the highest Billboard chart positions of its 10-year career, the album revelled in both conceptual ambition and equally striking musical growth from a band that's pushed itself into more extreme and challenging territory.

Rutual's broader soundscape even includes strings — though don't expect them to feature live.

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The band has crammed quite a bit into its 10 years together — five albums, three EPs and a DVD — and the group members themselves seem a bit surprised by what they've wrought.

'Yeah, initially we thought we were going to get together on Sundays and try to put a song together every week,' guitarist Brian Eschbach recalls. 'We never dreamed of being able to live off the band.'

Support comes from Skeletonwitch and Fleshgod Apocalypse.

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Waterfront Studio, January 16

If you know the name, it's more likely than not to be because of his time fronting Essex melodic rock band InMe. However having released debut album, The Hardship Diaries, last year Dave McPherson arrives in Norwich as part of a string of solo acoustic shows.

His time writing and performing with InMe has seen him score a number one in the UK rock charts when he was just 19, play festivals such as Leeds/ Reading, and tour the world – sharing stages with Deftones, Serj Tankian, Feeder, Biffy Clyro and Pendulum.

Flying solo, however, is nothing new — armed with an acoustic guitar and a disciplined hard work ethic he's been touring anywhere and everywhere since 2007 and has played over 700 shows.

The difference now is that, as opposed to a collection of self-released EPs that provided snapshots of Dave's songwriting ability, his debut album sees him ready to forge an identity of his own outside of the band.

Local support comes from Norwich's favourite duo Dumbfoundus and Lowestofts young singer songwritter Tyler Darrington.

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Norwich Arts Centre, January 16

This delicate, bittersweet and soul-searching alt-folk/folk rock of quintet Ellen and the Escapades has garnered support from Steve Lamacq and Rough Trade, as well as being selected by BBC Introducing to play both Reading and Leeds Festivals.

Ellen's dusky, captivating vocals and honest lyrics have also helped push the band to win the Q Magazine/Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and playing a total of five stages at 2010's Glastonbury Festival.

Having self-released debut EP, Of All The Times, at the end of 2010, the band sold out venues across the UK and have continued to go from strength to strength on the UK live circuit.

Last year saw them playing a non-stop series of festivals and shows, including appearances at Lounge On The Farm and Green Man Festival and support slots with Peggy Sue, The Leisure Society and Stornoway.

They are currently writing and recording material for their first album.

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Norwich Arts Centre, January 18

LA-born singer/songwriter Tom Russell is a well established name on the country music circuit. Raised on cowboy music he has been issuing albums under his own name in the early-1970s but his songs have also been recorded by such luminaries as Johnny Cash, Guy Clark, Dave Alvin, Doug Sahm, and KD Lang.

While much of Russell's work mines the country tradition, he is also known to flavour his work with Tex-Mex, folk and the cowboy music of his youth. He is also not averse to grand concepts. His 1999 album Man from God Knows Where took eight years and presented a song cycle inspired by America's pioneers. His 2001 album Borderland was inspired by the Juarez border region of Texas, while Hotwalker in 2005 was a conceptual work inspired by Russell's encounters with author Charles Bukowski.

A master storyteller returns in support of his latest album Mesabi, which is lyrically inhabited by well known characters including Bob Dylan, James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor. It's a logical progression from Russell's last album, 2009's Blood and Candle Smoke, yet it's like no other album Russell has made in his nearly four decades.

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January 13

Tilting Sky: feat. Lee Vann + more (indie/acoustic) — Arts Centre

Breaking Belief (rock) — King Edward VII

Worlds Apart (rock) — Brickmakers

National Image (indie/rock/pop) — Olives

Danny & The Seniors (rock'n'roll) — Walnut Tree Shades

The Bunkadoos (acoustic) — Brewery Tap

Barry Lee (pop/rock) — Lakenham Cock

Ross Collins & Simon Jarrett — Beluga

Take Chat — Farmhouse

Davie J — Perseverance

January 14

Killamonjambo + more (funk/ska/hip hop) — Arts Centre

The Black Dahlia Murder (metal) — Waterfront Studio

White Heat + Pandemonium (rock) — Brickmakers

The Bad Apples + more (grunge/indie) — B2

Acoustic & Eclectic: feat. Albert Cooper (blues) — Olives

The Burning Crows (rock) — The Stanley

No Mercy + Tearaway (rock) — King Edward VII

Addison's Uncle (acoustic) — House Cafe

Kenny Lee & Hustler (rock'n'roll) — Arkwright

Doozoot (pop/rock) — Angel Gardens

Tim Lane + The Dirigibles (country/bluegrass) — Golden Star

Tenderhooks (rock) — Hog In Armour

Brothers Demented — Norwich Working Men's Club

Alan Ley — Bread and Cheese

Ukulele Open Jam — Black Horse

Crissy — The Farmhouse

January 15

Outathablues (blues) — Brewery Tap

Tea (rock/blues) — King Edward VII

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

January 16

Ellen and the Escapades + more (alternative/folk) — Arts Centre

Dave McPherson + more (rock/acoustic) — Waterfront Studio

Sanguine Sea (Irish/acoustic) — Bedfords

Swing City (50s/60s) — Kier Hardie Social Club

Stookey Blue (folk) — Micawbers Tavern

Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

Jazz Jam: feat. Lee Vasey — B2

Live Jazz — Walnut Tree Shades

January 17

Asking Alexandria (metal) — Waterfront

Evison + more (acoustic) — B2

Save Ferris (pop/rock)— Brickmakers

Lee Vasey Big Band (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man

January 18

Tom Russell (alternative/country) — Arts Centre

The Star Fields + more (indie/experimental) — Olives

Out of Step: feat. Rob Lynch + more (alternative) — Karma Kafe

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Acoustic Sing-Around — Micawbers Tavern

January 19

Johnny Jump Band (rock/blues) — Rose Tavern

Access To Music Showcase (local) — Brickmakers

Hand Blues (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Midnight Blues (blues) — Rumsey Wells

Mark Anthony (soul/disco) — Beluga

Johnny Jump Band (soul/funk) — Micawbers Tavern

Open Mic — Garden House

Open Jam — King Edward VII