Preview: This week's gig guide

Simon ParkinKRISTIN HERSHNorwich Arts Centre, TuesdayStill occasionally of indie legends Throwing Muses, American acoustic singer/songwriter Kristin Hersh arrives in Norwich for a solo show.Simon Parkin


Norwich Arts Centre, Tuesday

Still occasionally of indie legends Throwing Muses, American acoustic singer/songwriter Kristin Hersh arrives in Norwich for a solo show.

Hersh place in the canon of underground rock is already guaranteed. Throwing Muses, like their contemporaries The Pixies, Breeders and Sonic Youth, belong to that semi-mythical era in the late-1980s and early-1990s when lo-fi launched itself into the mainstream and paved the way for the ascent of grunge.

She remains very much the living spirit of the genre, releasing a series of powerful, grungy solo albums that vary from reflective poetry to full on pop.

Besides Throwing Muses get-togethers she plays with the power punk trio 50ft Wave, while her solo material is released on CASH Music (Coalition of Artists and Stake Holders) a co-operative that allows fans to download music for a financial contribution of their choice.

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'I'm now entirely supported by fans,' she says. 'It's such a nice elegant response to a very ugly business that got even uglier when it fell apart.'

Support comes from singer-songwriter Christopher Rees.

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Waterfront, Wednesday

Patrick Wolf is a veritable one man band playing amongst many other instruments, the harp, clavinet, harpsichord, guitar, piano, autoharp, harmonium, accordion, theremin, ukulele, viola and violin. He uses samples of these mixed electronics to form dark and twisted avant-garde electro-folk.

This unusual brew of sounds brought him to the attention of Fat Cat Records, and after studying composition at Trinity College of Music, he released his debut album, Lycanthropy, in 2003.

His second, Wind in the Wires, was inspired by his Cornish and Irish roots. The single Tristan, based on the Cornish legend, Tristram of Lyonesse, received critical acclaim and remains a fan favourite. His third album, The Magic Position, featured collaborations with Marianne Faithfull and Edward Larrikin of Larrikin Love.

He left his label last year with a plan to sell �10 shares in a new album on 'Basically, you can invest in the finishing of the album and the production of it, and you get a share in the album. So you almost become part of the record company, like a co-owner of the album.'

The result is a two-disc album titled The Bachelor and The Conqueror, proceeded by an EP called Vulture.

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Norwich Arts Centre, Wednesday

It takes considerable bravery to name your band after one of the greatest jazz ensembles of the last century. This hard swinging trio get away with it thanks to a decade of constantly inventive live music with its roots of the Hot Jazz era, Americana music, vintage pop and folk.

They arrive in Norwich just as their first studio album in seven years, Wishful Thinking, hits the shops. It features all original members in Elana James (violin and vocals), Whit Smith (guitar & vocals) and Jake Erwin (bass & background vocals); plus their sound is augmented with drums courtesy of Damien Llanes.

The group draw on musical influences from gypsy music to rags, to the Hot Club Of France and western swing which leads to a more contemporary, international sound. This is their first album to draw on influences directly from Indian music on the track Reunion. They also dip their toes into the contemporary songbook with an arrangement of the Tom Waits penned The Long Way Home.

The result is like a montage of characters and perspectives, a rock opera with longing, dreaming, despair and optimism. Sophisticated, elegant and joyful.

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Norwich Arts Centre, Thursday

Dubbed 'the coolest record label on the planet', San Francisco-based globe trotting reissue kings Sublime Frequencies dip their toe into live promotion with their first ever tour.

Since 2003, Sublime Frequencies has been releasing music from around the world. It is one of a number of reissue labels - Analog Africa being another - that are mining far-flung lands for gems to turn on western cool kids while at the same time dodging the dreaded 'world music' tag.

So what we get is everything from Burmese folk to Saddam-era Iraqi pop and 'commie funk' from North Korea - sounds terrible until you hear it on the dancefloor, then you just cannot stop moving.

And this tour couldn't pick two better examples in the legendary Group Doueh from the Western Sahara and Syria's extraordinary Omar Souleyman.

Omar (pictured) is a genuine cult figure in the middle east. To date he has issued more than five-hundred studio and live-

recorded cassette albums. His style has been described as 'Jihad techno', mixing classical Arabic mawal-style vocals with breakneck Syrian electronics. His Leh Jani - a glorious example - has already been championed by Damon Albarn on Radio 1.

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May 22

Glenn Tilbrook (rock/pop) - Arts Centre

Fight To Live: feat. Six Degrees of Separation + more (rock/charity) - B2

Andy Kierkham (acoustic) - Cider Shed

Floating Greyhounds (rock) - Brickmakers

Maybeshewill + more (pop) - Marquee

Rock Doctors (rock) - King Edward VII

Emma Hall Band (soul/funk) - Blueberry

Against The Grain (rock) - Reindeer

Fourplay (rock/blues) - Walnut Tree Shades

Just Rach - The Nelson

She/Sez (rock/pop) - The Firs

May 23

Buster James (rock/blues) - Brickmakers

Taken (indie/rock) - Marquee

In Rapture (rock/indie) - Club Sanctuary

Dogwood (blues) - Boundary

Live N Loud (rock) - King Edward VII

Rada - Silver Road Cottage

The Acoustics (acoustic) - Mustard Pot

May 24

Maximo Park (electro/indie) - UEA

Michael McGoldrick band (folk/alternative) - Arts Centre

The Groove Doctors (blues) - Cider Shed

Murphy's Lore (Irish) - King Edward VII

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) - Brickmakers

The Carpet Monsters + more (indie/funk) - The Stanley

May 25

Bank Holiday Bash: feat. World's Apart + more (rock/charity) - Brickmakers

Bank Holiday All-Dayer: feat. Big Black Cadillac + more (rock/punk - from 3pm) - King Edward VII

Black Haven (hardcore/punk) - Marquee

Jam With Jazz (jazz) - Blueberry

UB Marley (reggae) - Mustard Pot

May 26

Metronomy (electro/pop) - Waterfront

Zombina & The Skeletons (rock'n'roll) - Marquee

The Hectors (indie) - B2

Game Plan (indie/rock) - Brickmakers

May 27

Heather Small (soul/pop) - Theatre Royal

Into The Depths (metal) - Marquee

Barry Wallace (acoustic) - Queen Charlotte

The Session (Irish) - Cider Shed

Pure Acoustic (open mic) - Brickmakers

May 28

Blaze Bayley (rock) - Brickmakers

Kapok (indie/rock) - Marquee

Centaurs (rock/experimental) - B2

Treeface (punk/rock) - King Edward VII

Freefall (indie/rock) - Blueberry

Egypt (rock) - Walnut Tree Shades

Rum Brothers (alt-country) - Rumsey Wells