Preview: This week's gig guide

Simon ParkinHOWLBACK HUM: FEAT. SUICIDAL BIRDSNorwich Arts Centre, June 19 Norwich meets the Netherlands with this line up of 10 bands courtesy of Howlback Hum.Simon Parkin


Norwich Arts Centre, June 19

Norwich meets the Netherlands with this line up of 10 bands courtesy of Howlback Hum.

Headliners Suicidal Birds are femme fatale duo from the Netherlands, who, armed with tube amps, out-date pedals, a drum machine, dirty bass, and distorted guitar, promise a raging sound storm with comparisons to PJ Harvey, The Slits, The Thermals and the White Stripes.

The band released their debut album, Z-List, in 2005 gaining rave reviews for their twisted, angry, dark, dangerous, seductive and wild blues-influenced songs that cross punk, indie and anti-folk.

Joining them are Pony Pack from Amsterdam, who draw on punk, post-punk, new-wave, psychedelia and grunge influences to create their own brand of scuzzy and impulsive indie punk. They released their debut album, Claws & Fists, on Tocado Records last year.

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The night's Norwich contingent boasts duo My Visor with Kathryn Mac (vocals) and Keith Brown (guitar) playing new tracks from their forthcoming second album. Completing the line up on the main stage, Donkey Cock promise sex depraved psychedelic rock. Yes, really. And as if all of that wasn't enough, solo acts Cakes and Ale, Hoofus, Frank, Raw and cooked, and Lilith will all take to the stage in the Caf� Bar.

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Waterfront, June 21

Though his debut album, Matinee, an endearing combination of bass-driven boogies and self-deprecating confessionals, had its charms, it was an all too scant mixed bag.

Thankfully the South London troubadour - who is of half-Spanish, half-English decent, hence the name - has had a rethink and his aptly titled new album, Everything Is New, has come as a welcome surprise.

Out goes the overtly frenetic pace, the over-reliance on rockabilly and the annoying dropped aitches. In comes a sumptuous new synth-led sound, a big, epic production from Paul Epworth and an album full of euphoric pop songs.

The first single Tonight's Today, is the perfect example, successfully mixing Afrobeat guitars and vocals, some dub-step beats and a contagious chanted chorus.

Second single, Be The One, repeats the trick and then some, calling on a huge choir to provide backing vocals, and a brass section to give the song an irresistible swagger.

It'll be interesting to see how he manages to reproduce this more expansive sound live, but if he manages it this could be one of the surprise hits of the summer.

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Norwich Arts Centre, June 25

Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost are an unlikely duo. They come from Albuquerque in New Mexico, but they became so fascinated with the sounds of eastern Europe that they set out to work with musicians from the region.

It could have all ended in grief but remarkably, their experiments paid off - not just because they are both impressive musicians (Barnes plays accordion, Trost violin), but because they understand the music, and treat it with the heady enthusiasm of their new colleagues.

Their latest album, D�livrance, is their best, most confident to date. A thrilling, mostly instrumental ride influenced by the Romanian diva Romica Puceanu, the Balkan brass of collaborators Fanfare Cioc?rlia, and the breathless music of dark, smoky Budapest dance houses. There are plaintive violin-led pieces, scratchy field recordings, echoes of Mexican mariachi brass and rhythmic off-kilter works that would impress Tom Waits.

The sheer depth means they avoids one of the pitfalls of some Balkan albums where the buoyant music becomes slightly repetitive.

Thankfully the results are no Gogol Bordello Balkan pastiche.

Alongside the British bouzouki player Chris Hladowski, the duo have enlisted some key performers from Budapest's folk music circuit for this tour, including stand out contributions from cimbalom virtuoso K�lman B�logh and B�la �goston, of quirky Hungarian hip-hop band Zuboly.

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The Marquee, June 26

Straight outta Kingston (on Thames), this trio of fun-loving youngsters, scruffily packed together, originally formed as a college project but really started to take shape last year after recording four very well received demo tracks and playing a whole host of shows all over the UK.

Musically their influences are certainly diverse, they name-check Huey Lewis and the News alongside Foals in their list of influences and claim to sound like 'Biffy Clyro having fun' when pushed for a way to describe themselves.

What that seems to mean is that they combine hook-filled choruses and impressive harmonies with disorientating maths-rock song structures - with a hefty dose of Pixies echoes.

'To continue to be satisfied with the songwriting and smiling when performing the songs, if we're not then what's the point?' is the innocent, almost child-like hopes Joseph, Dave and Olev hold for their fledgling band.

Their recent single, Feed Me A Box Of Words, was released as part of Big Scary Monsters Meet & Greet singles club, released on 7" vinyl, with a free CD.

With songs that tend to shoot off in a variety of different directions at the same time, they're an interesting band who have unsurprisingly found some favour with critics. Best of all though, they can't really be pigeon-holed, and this is a good thing.

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June 19

GBH (punk) - King Edward VII

Philip Shamino Trio (jazz) - Cider Shed

Pure Passion + Tendahooks (rock) - Brickmakers

Emma Shops For Toys (psychedelic rock) - Marquee

Suspect Device (punk) - Blueberry

Egypt (rock/blues) - Reindeer

The British Anchors - Walnut Tree Shades

Pete 'Kiwi' Keegan (skiffle) - The Nelson

The Revolvers (Beatles covers) - Mustard Pot

June 20

Twee Off!: feat. An Experiment On A Bird in the Air Pump (indie) - Arts Centre

Blabbermouth (folk) - Cider Shed

The Guzzards (pop-punk) - B2

The Divide (rock) - King Edward VII

Rise (prog rock) - Brickmakers

Rawkus (rock) - Blueberry

Ladyfest: feat. In Rapture (rock/pop) - Boundary

Elton Goodlady (rock/pop/soul) - Reindeer

Get Carter (rock/indie) - The Stanley

Nitrous X (rock/blues) - The Buck Inn

June 21

Bjorn Again (tribute) - Theatre Royal

Vic Salter (country/blues) - King Edward VII

Ladyfest: feat. Lisa Wolfe Band (pop/soul) - Boundary

Steve Pyevarotti (music/cabaret) - Mustard Pot

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) - Brickmakers

June 22

Jazz N Jam (jam session) - Blueberry

June 23

The Brownies (indie) - B2

Jellystone (rock) - Brickmakers

June 24

The Session (Irish) - Cider Shed

Pure Acoustic (open mic) - Brickmakers

June 25

The Sex Pistols Experience (tribute) - Waterfront

Lost? (pop-punk) - B2

Access To Music (local) - Brickmakers

Jugsout (punk) - Marquee

Dave Thomas (blues) - Walnut Tree Shades