Preview: Norwich gig guide Jan 27-Feb 2
Boy/girl indie-poppers Veronica Falls arrive in Norwich in support of their well received debut album. Electronic/indie outfit Walls headline the latest of Norwich Arts Centre's Spectro nights. Plus Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah and Chantel McGregor.
Norwich Arts Centre, January 27
Boy/girl indie-poppers Veronica Falls arrive in Norwich in support of their well received debut album. Initially forming two years ago when Doyle and Clifford (guitars, vocals) moved to London from Glasgow and met James Hoare (also on guitars and vocals), the band ended up in a friend's studio. From then on, the band has had a charmed existence — a lucky streak that saw them being snapped up by Mike Sniper, the head of revered New York label Captured Tracks, a scant 10 minutes after they put their MySpace page up. 'He got in touch with us so we thought why not', Hoare recalls. 'We liked a few bands on his label so that helped too'.
Their first single, Found Love In a Graveyard, was a singalong slice of deliciously morbid pop, the breezy harmonies and chant-along choruses slyly belying the off-kilter undercurrent of falling in love with a ghost. It neatly set the tone for what was to follow – instantly addictive pop songs streaked with shades of grey.
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Subsequent singles on taste making labels such as No Pain in Pop and Trouble Records cemented their arrival on the music scene, winning plaudits from the likes of Clash, NME, Stool Pigeon and Loud and Quiet, among others.
With their debut album, Veronica Falls, they've crafted a brilliantly concise, superbly concentrated hit of spiky, marvellously contagious indie pop with a twist.
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t Further listening: www.veronicafalls.com
Norwich Arts Centre, January 28
Originally from Manchester, but based in London, electronic/indie outfit Walls — made up of Sam Willis (of Allez-Allez) and Alessio Natalizia (of Banjo Or Freakout) — headline the latest of Norwich Arts Centre's Spectro nights.
Willis is a long been an admirer of the Cologne sound, instilling his productions (and DJ mixes for the influential podcast series located at www.allez-allez.co.uk) with the euphoric, pop sensibilities and deep grooves that are a Kompact hallmark.
Natalizia, who originally hails from Italy but relocated to London in 2008 to pursue his musical dreams, is driven by the wild guitar of This Heat and propulsive rhythms of Can.
The pair met while Allez-Allez were remixing Banjo Or Freakout's Mr No, and realised that the natural combination of Alessio's and guitar play and haunting vocals together with Willis' emotive synth lines and sample manipulation magic was a match made in heaven.
Their second album, Coracle, once again they captured the shimmering layers of guitar and synths, ecstatic melodies and emotive vocals that made their debut an instant classic.
t Further listening: www.myspace.com/walls_band
CLAP YOUR HANDS AND SAY YEAH
Waterfront, January 31
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the unusually named US quintet with the strange-voiced singer return with this latest Norwich show to promote third album, Hysterical.
The album contains the band's first new material in more than three years and sees a continuing development in their sound.
Alec Ounsworth (guitar, vocals), Robbie Guertin (guitar, keyboards), Lee Sargent (keyboards, guitar), Tyler Sargent (bass guitar), and Sean Greenhalgh (drums, percussion) have delivered another selection of tracks.
Despite selling a huge number of albums in their homeland, the band has so far resisted the advances of major labels and has picked up a strong underground following.
Their self-titled debut was propelled by grassroots hype though the follow-up, Some Loud Thunder, floundered somewhat. Hysterical follows a brief hiatus that found the group's members playfully exploring solo careers and side projects. Reedy singer Alec Ounsworth escaped to New Orleans to cut a funky roots record with George Porter of the Meters.
t Further listening: www.clapyourhandssayyeah.com
Waterfront, February 2
Bradford singer and guitarist Chantel McGregor is part of the young blues explosion that also includes Norwich's own Oli Brown.
The 25-year-old who gigged with bands from the age of 10 and later graduated from Leeds College of Music with first class honours arrives in Norwich on the back of being voted Young Artist of the Year in the British Blues Awards.
The prestigious award — coincides with the release of compilation album, 100 Years of the Blues, on which Chantel appears alongside legends such as Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Cream, Free, The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt and B B King.
She said: 'My song, Help Me, is the longest, at six minutes 54 seconds. It's from my album Like No Other. It's pretty special. To be on an album with such amazing players is crazy.'
Chantel said she expected blues guitarist and singer Oli Brown to beat her in the British Blues Awards, in which some 80,000 people from 100 countries voted for their favourite artists across 16 categories. The Norwich man in fact won in two other categories, for Best Album and Best Blues Band.
t Further listening: www.chantelmcgregor.com
SOUNDS IN THE CITY
Veronica Falls (indie/pop) — Arts Centre
Madison Violet (country/folk) — Olives
Monkey Spanner (ska/reggae) — Brickmakers
Electricity (blues) — Brewery Tap
Unchained Syns (rock) — King Edward VII
Hot Wet Burn + more (funk/rock) — B2
Red Hot Rockers (rockabilly) — Walnut Tree Shades
Hot Rhythm Club: feat. Earl Harlem (rock'n'roll/swing) — Arkwrights
Dulcet Tones — Hog In Armour
Anna Marie — The Farmhouse
Lost? + more (rock/punk) — Waterfront Studio
Spectro: Walls (electronic) — Arts Centre
To The Last (rock) — Brickmakers
Tattooed Lies (rock) — King Edward VII
Black River Falls + more (rock/blues) — B2
Punk Special: feat. Goldsmith & Mild Peril — The Stanley
Stepback (rock'n'roll) — Arkwrights
Super Action Heroes (rock) — Woolpack
She/Sez (rock/pop) — Heartsease
Honeydripper (rock/blues) — Eaton Cottage
Jon Hart Band — Golden Star
Graham Jones — Keir Hardie Hall
Martin Webb (rock/blues) — Rumsey Wells
Terry Adams — Angel Gardens
Tony Cann — Bread and Cheese
Mickey Spanton — Quebec Tavern
Alan Ley — Trowel & Hammer
Carol — The Farmhouse
Ukelele Open Jam (2pm) — Black Horse
Classic Rock Show 2012 (rock) — Theatre Royal
Neil Daniels & Dave Morrison (blues/jazz) — Brewery Tap
The Leopard Trio (rock'n'roll/3pm) — King Edward VII
Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers
The Soldiers (pop/classical) — Theatre Royal
Four Year Strong + more (rock) — Waterfront
Jazz Jam: feat. Lee Vasey — B2
Stookey Blue (folk) — Micawbers Tavern
Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers
Monday Night Jazz — Walnut Tree Shades
Swing City (50s/60s) — Keir Hardie Hall
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (indie/rock) — Waterfront
Shock!Hazard + Astral Void (rock) — Brickmakers
Anita Wardell & The Simon Brown Trio (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man
Roots Manuva (hip hop) — Waterfront
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins (indie/folk) — Arts Centre
Lester Clayton + more (folk/reggae) — Waterfront Studio
Lee Vasey & Friends — Trowel & Hammer
Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers
Chantel McGregor (rock/blues) — Waterfront
Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns (roots/country) — Arts Centre
Blind Tiger (rock) — Brickmakers
The Scout Killers + more (indie/pop) — B2
Johnny Jump Band (rock/blues) — Micawbers Tavern
Open Mic — Garden House
Open Jam — King Edward VII