Preview: Norwich weekly gig guide May 11-17

It's a decade since a ginger dreadlocked teen starting taking to the stages of intimate music venues. Much has changed in the world of Brit ward-winning folk-pop artist Newton Faulkner. Plus: Dry The River, Wretch 32, Blancmange.


Open, May 12

It's a decade since a ginger dreadlocked teen starting taking to the stages of intimate music venues in his native Surrey.

Much has changed in the world of Brit ward-winning folk-pop artist Newton Faulkner since — even if those trademark flame-haired dreadlocks remain the same. He has sold over a million albums in the UK alone. His debut album Hands Built By Robots spent over10 months inside the Top 40 and become one of the Top 20 biggest selling UK digital albums of all time.

The Brit nominated, acoustic guitar virtuoso arrives at Norwich's newest music venue as part of a short string of live dates ahead of his new album to be released later this year.

The shows are a break from putting the finishing touches to the album, for which he is taking a back to basics approach and recording most of it at home.

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As well as playing past hits, Newton will be giving fans the chance to hear new material on the tour as he showcases songs from his forthcoming album as well as his first new material of 2012 from his recently released Write It On Your Skin EP.

If you haven't witnessed a live performance by Newton — actual first name Sam; real middle name Battenberg —he plays percussive guitar (drumming beats from his instrument as he fingerpicks chords, melodies and harmonies from the strings), while triggering visuals, backing instruments and other effects via pedals at his feet.

It's certainly taken the one-man band thing to another level.

t Further listening:


Norwich Arts Centre, May 12

'I think people are surprised when they come to see us live,' says Peter Liddle, heavily tattooed frontman of London's Dry the River. 'They expect us to be really calm and quiet but in some ways we're the opposite.'

You can see why people get confused: this five-piece in Norwich to headline the latest Wombatwombat night has all the hallmarks of the latest folk sensation: beards, acoustic guitars, even a violinist.

But what sets Dry the River apart is a background in hardcore and post-punk bands, hence the tattoos, lyrics that read like a Steinbeck novel and a sonic palette that takes inspiration from the at one extreme Leonard Cohen and at the other At The Drive In.

Norwegian-born songwriter and frontman Peter Liddle describes their music as 'folky gospel music played by a post-punk band'.

Liddle formed Dry The River as a solo project but later enlisting the help of a collection of old friends from previous bands to form a live band.

After a number of EPs and sold out live dates a buzz grew around the band and they scored rave reviews for last year's debut album Shallow Bed.

Support comes from Welch indie rockers Cut Ribbons, who've just released their second single Paper Shields, and Norwich five-piece Deers who juggle full-on sonic bombardment with intimate songs and already have a growing reputation as an excellent live band.

t Further listening:


UEA, May 13

Following on from the overwhelming response to his sold out debut UK headline tour last autumn, Tottenham rapper Wretch 32 arrives back in Norwich for his biggest date yet.

Last year was an incredible 12-months. After being earmarked as the artist to watch in those turn-of-the-year polls by everyone from the BBC, NME, Q and MTV through to Tinie Tempah and Professor Green, he lived up to the hype by going on to score three consecutive top five hits with the infectious Traktor, the anthemic Unorthodox and number one single Don't Go, all taken from his critically acclaimed, chart-topping album Black and White.

He also graced the stages of numerous festivals in the summer including Glastonbury, Wireless and V Festival, perform on Later With Jools Holland as well as being nominated for four MOBOs and a Q Award.

As part of his biggest UK tour date, this gig will see him showcasing new material from his upcoming second studio album, which is still in the making, in addition to featuring favourites from Black and White.

Also sure to get an airing is soon-to-be released single Hush Little Baby which sees him teaming up with man of the moment Ed Sheeran.

Also appearing will be L Marshall, who, as well as having two Top 5 singles behind him, guested on Wretch 32's hit Traktor. The 24 year-old vocalist, who treads the line between commercial appeal and underground credibility, is currently recording his debut album.

t Further listening:


Norwich Arts Centre, May 17

Blancmange isn't a name that exactly suggests staying power and Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe abandoned their 1980s synth-pop creation after barely three years in the national spotlight.

But after a whopping 25-year sabbatical, the duo, perhaps inspired by the 1980s pop revival, suddenly announced a comeback last year.

They also unveiled a new album, Blanc Burn, as a belated successor to Happy Families, Mange Tout and Believe You Me which established them as pioneers alongside the likes of OMD, Depeche Mode, Human League and Heaven 17.

When they first emerged in 1980, Blancmange, like the Human League, were very much a leftfield outfit immersed in the avant-garde independent music, fans of everything from Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle to Pere Ubu and Red Crayola. But they were quickly heading for the charts, first with the Talking Heads-influenced God's Kitchen then the supremely infectious mega-hit Living On The Ceiling.

Between 1982 and 1985 Blancmange had seven Top 40 hits and two Top 40 albums and they were bona fide, if unlikely, pop stars. They were frequent Smash Hit cover stars and were regularly chased by gangs of excitable young women.

They called it a day because, as Stephen explains: 'We had started losing momentum, fashion and music-wise.'

They were both involved in numerous projects after going their separate ways, but the itch to reform finally became irresistible, Stephen declaring: 'It's probably a better time for us to return than 10 years ago.'

t Further listening:


May 11

NNF: I.R.O.K. + more (afro-punk) — Arts Centre

T.Rextasy (rock/pop/tribute) — Maddermarket Theatre

12 Dirty Bullets (indie/rock) — Open

Pure Passion + Sugar Rush (rock) — Brickmakers

Heavin Cleavages (risque rock) — Brewery Tap

National Image (indie/rock) — Silver Road Cottage

Truescape + more (indie/rock) — King Edward VII

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

Krazy 88 (indie/rock) — Kings

Norwich Folk Club: feat. Jez Lowe — Christ Church Centre

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

Ian Morris — Lakenham Cock

Terry Adams — Perseverance

Danny Reno — Fiveways

May 12

Newton Faulkner (acoustic) — Open

Dry The River (indie) — Arts Centre

The Twilight Sad (indie/rock) — Waterfront Studio

NNF: JuJu (dub/electronic) — Spiegeltent Chapelfield

Killer Hurts + More (metal) — King Edward VII

Immaculate Groove Project (pop/funk) — Brickmakers

Cowbells & Handclaps (rock) — Olives

Second Opinion (50s/60s) — Arkwrights

Red Hot Rockers (rockabilly) — Boundary

Johnny Jump Band (rock/blues) — The Gordon

The Floating Greyhounds (rock) — The Moles Rest

Wicked Faith (rock) — The Stanley

Barry Lee — County Arts Plumstead Road East

Micky Spanton — Quebec Tavern

Steve Pyvarotti — Heartsease

Davie J — Angel Gardens

Tony Cann — The Windmill

May 13

Wretch 32 (hip hop) — UEA

NNF: Richard Glasper (jazz) — Playhouse

NNF: Yacht (indie) — Arts Centre

NNF: The Loveboat Big Band (swing/jazz) — Spiegeltent Chapelfield

NNF: The Bevvy Sisters (jazz) — Spiegeltent Chapelfield

Washboard Chris (blues/2.30pm) — Brewery Tap

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Lee Statham — Boundary

Claire Baker — Lakenham Cock

May 14

NNF: Bombino + Vusi Mahlasela (world) — Theatre Royal

NNF: Trembling Bells (folk) — Spiegeltent Chapelfield

NNF: The Bevvy Sisters (jazz) — Spiegeltent Chapelfield

NNF: Esmerine (rock/alternative) — Arts Centre

Tony Haven & Chris Woods (acoustic) — Bicycle Shop

Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades

Brickies Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

Jazz Jam — B2

May 15

NNF: Peasant (Americana/acoustic) — Spiegeltent Chapelfield

Norwich Bluesdance: feat. Lena Black's Playboys (blues) — Arts Centre

Josh Kemp (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man

The Second Hand Band (rock/blues) — Brickmakers

Live & Direct (acoustic) — Rumsey Wells

May 16

Sennen (indie/rock) — Arts Centre

NNF: Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal (world) — St Peter Mancroft

Neon Asylum (electro) — B2

Lee Vasey & Friends — Trowel & Hammer

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

May 17

Blancmange (electro/pop) — Arts Centre

Pete Roe/Polly & The Billets Doux (folk/acoustic) — Bicycle Shop

Aviator (rock/indie) — Brickmakers

The Kurve + more (punk/metal) — B2

She Makes War + more (indie/pop) — Olives

Swing Ball (gypsy/jazz) — Rumsey Wells

Tea (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

The Blues Crew (blues) — Rose Tavern

Ghostriders Western Club: feat. Jeff Gallant Band (country) — TA Centre

Bloodstock Metal 2: The Masses Competition (metal/competition) — Waterfront

Open Jam — King Edward VII