Preview: This week’s full Norwich gig guide, August 24-30
Fusing the harmonies of Motown with roots reggae, The Wailing Souls have ridden the crest of Jamaica's music for more than four decades. They arrive at Norwich Arts Centre. Plus: British Sea Power, Polar Bear Club, Beth Rowley.
THE WAILING SOULS
Norwich Arts Centre, August 24
Fusing the harmonies of Motown with roots reggae, The Wailing Souls have ridden the crest of Jamaica's music for more than four decades. Nominated for Grammy awards three times, the group scored hits with classic roots reggae tunes, War and Bredda Gravlicious, Firehouse Rock and 1992 album and title track, All Over The World. Additionally, the group scored number one hits with Things and Time, Jah Jah, Old Broom, and Shark Attack.
Formed in Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica, in the late-1960s, The Wailing Souls have experienced numerous transformations. Their discography (over 30 albums to date) includes singles recorded as The Renegades, Pipe & the Pipers, and Atarra.
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Their recording career has been nothing short of historic. Vocally trained by Bob Marley and the Wailers' teacher Joe Higgs, they have worked with legendary reggae producers including Coxsone Dodd of Studio One, Henry 'Junjo' Lawes, Channel One Studios, Delroy Wright, Lloyd 'King' Jammy's, as well as recording several early tunes at Bob Marley's Tuff Gong Studio.
They attracted global attention when their music was featured in the 1993 Disney film, Cool Runnings. The soundtrack album was an international hit, selling nearly half a million copies worldwide.
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Still one of the most powerful forces in Reggae, they continue to tour globally and record new songs with the vigour that they had singing in Kingston's Trench Town decades ago.
t Further listening: www.thewailingsouls.net
BRITISH SEA POWER
Voewood House, August 24
British Sea Power is not your average band. They've played in museums, floating on the Thames, in libraries, on steam trains and were last seen playing an evocative live score to Penny Woolcock's film From The Sea To The Land Beyond, which collated decades of footage of the British coast from the BFI archive.
So while playing at the rather literature Voewood Festival, at High Kelling, might to a novel experience fort many bands, for BSP it is not that unusual.
The Brighton-based band, now six-piece rather than the four members they started with, have always done things a bit different which is no bad thing given the ubiquity of bog-standard indie rock bands. From waving flags and espousing a slightly tongue in cheek form of nationalism to an odd tendency to drop the calls of various birds into their tracks, they've often seem more like a hung-together song-writing collective than an out and out band. And they've touched on countless genre influences throughout their multitude of releases, ranging from rock to reggae and dancehall.
Their 2008 album Do You LIke Rock Music? was nominated for the Mercury Prize, but rather than follow it up with more of the same they took a detour into soundtracking the re-release of the famous documentary Man Of Aran while their 2010 album Valhalla Dancehall was more eclectic than ever.
Recently they put forward a series of EPs in place of the traditional album, under the simple argument that 'musicians need to practice too', yet the results were still as off-the-wall as ever.
t Further listening: ww.britishseapower.co.uk
POLAR BEAR CLUB
Waterfront Studio, August 29
Hailing from upstate New York, five-piece Polar Bear Club wear their musical lineage proudly. The band's name comes from a song by Silent Majority, a melodic hardcore act that ruled New York Long Island's legendary scene throughout the 1990s.
The band formed in 2005 but the group's sound unabashedly mines the previous decade, when hardcore wasn't afraid to get a little emotional and before screamo became a bad word.
Until recently, this would have made for an unlikely commercial bet but Polar Bear Club are enjoying a special moment. Slightly younger acts have in turn revived the same set of influences for younger fans. This means Polar Bear Club appeal both to this new crop of kids who were too young to experience the sound the first time around as well as the aging 20- and 30-somethings still clutching wistfully to their Hot Water Music and Lifetime records.
Combining the aggression of the hardcore scene that they came from with melody and dynamics allows them to be one of the most innovative bands around. They have recently toured with the likes of Frank Turner, The Gaslight Anthem and The Bronx and arrive at the Waterfront Studio for a date brought forward from September.
t Further listening: www.myspace.com/polarbearclub
Voewood House, August 25
Born in Peru to British parents but growing up in Bristol, Beth Rowley burst upon the scene in 2008 with her debut album Little Dreamer, which reached number six in the UK album charts and was nominated a Brit Award.
Ahead of the release of her forthcoming second album later this year, Rowley is performing a select number of concerts across the country including this date, also at Voewood.
She says: 'I'm very excited about finishing my new album, I've had the opportunity to explore my next steps musically. I've been revisiting old blues and gospel and looking at ways to include some of my musical heroes - such as Captain Beefheart, Emmylou Harris, Ron Sexsmith and Mahalia Jackson. Expect lots more guitar and lashings of harmonica.'
The period since Little Dreamer has also seen Beth's film debut with the release of Oscar nominated Brit movie An Education, starring Carey Mulligan and directed by Danish director Lone Scherfig. Her cameo role as the nightclub singer received positive reviews as did her theme song 'You Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger' written with collaborator Ben Castle.
Beth has appeared on stage with some giants of the music world including Burt Bacharach at the Electric Proms, James Bond composer David Arnold and as a guest of Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch's musical right hand man.
t Further listening: www.bethrowley.com
SOUNDS IN THE CITY
The Wailing Souls (reggae) — Arts Centre
Scott Wright + Bill Downs + Empire + Hemingway (acoustic/indie) — Open
Voewood Festival: feat. British Sea Power (indie/rock) — Voewood House
The Heavin' Cleavages (risque rock) — Brickmakers
Floating Greyhounds (rock) — King Edward VII
The He Hews (buskers/roots) — Brewery Tap
Stars Over Shadow + more (rock) — B2
The Leopard Trio (rock'n'roll) — Walnut Tree Shades
The Buck — Micawbers Tavern
Norwich Folk Club — Christ Church Centre
Big Black Cadillac (rock'n'roll) — Norwich Rugby Club
Parkhouse (pop/rock) — The Otter
Johnny Jump Band (country/blues) — Buck Inn
Jahlove (reggae) — Lakenham Cock
Anna Marie — Fiveways
Ale Worthy Beats: feat. Kev O'Conner — Rumsey Wells
Zion Train + more (reggae) — Carnival
Rise (prog rock) — Brickmakers
Hessian Rose + more (metal/rock) — B2
Black River Falls + Wicked Faith (blues/rock) — King Edward VII
Voewood Festival: feat. Beth Rowley (indie/folk) — Voewood House
Uprising (rock) — Boundary
Reggae Showcase — Blueberry
Emma Hall Band (soul) — Trowel & Hammer
Lou & The Diamonds (60s) — Arkwrights
Breeze (rock) — The Crown Costessey
Dan Star — Angel Gardens
Steve Allen — Heath House
Daaron — The Nelson
Alan Ley — Quebec Tavern
Andy York — Keir Hardie Hall
Liz May — Robin Hood
Voewood Festival: feat. Glen Matlock and The Philistines (punk/rock'n'roll) — Voewood House
The Planks (soul/3pm) — Brewery Tap
Lou & The Diamonds (60s) — Silver Road Cottage
Keno Kings (blues/4pm) — Boundary
Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers
Danny & The Seniors (rock'n'roll/3pm) — Brickmakers
Joe Script (Olly Murs tribute) — Maids Head Old Catton
Claire Barker (4pm) — Lakenham Cock
Brick Fest 2012: feat. 36 bands on 3 stages (local/rock/pop) — Brickmakers/B2
Voewood Festival: feat. Billy Bragg (indie/acoustic) — Voewood House
Danny & The Seniors (rock'n'roll/60s/4pm) — William IV
Washboard Pete (blues/3pm) — Brewery Tap
Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades
Jazz Jam — Silver Road Cottage
Shannan (5pm) — Quebec Tavern
Nigel King Band (pop/soul/60s) — Brickmakers
Joe Ringer + Ivan Garford (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man
Jam Night — Rumsey Wells
Polar Bear Club (punk/indie) — Waterfront Studio
Fei Combo + I Divide + more (indie/punk) — Waterfront
Jacks Denial + Call It Wreckless (pop punk) — B2
Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers
POW: feat. Major Lazer (dancehall/dance) — Carnival
Hemingway (indie) — Bicycle Shop
Sheets Of Sound (rock/indie) — Brickmakers
Mulberry Hawk (folk/rock) — The Forum
Ramone Goose (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades
Albert Cooper's Blues & Boogie Band — Rumsey Wells
Johnny Jump Band (country/blues) — Micawbers Tavern
Acoustic Jukebox: feat. Dan Scoggins (open mic/requests)— Brewery Tap
Simon Youngman — Rose Tavern