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.
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
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.
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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.
t Further listening: www.myspace.com/blackdahliamurder
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.
t Further listening: www.davemcphersonsolo.co.uk
ELLEN AND THE ESCAPADES
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.
t Further listening: www.ellenandtheescapades.com
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.
t Further listening: www.tomrussell.com
SOUNDS IN THE CITY
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
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
Outathablues (blues) — Brewery Tap
Tea (rock/blues) — King Edward VII
Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers
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
Asking Alexandria (metal) — Waterfront
Evison + more (acoustic) — B2
Save Ferris (pop/rock)— Brickmakers
Lee Vasey Big Band (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man
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
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