Preview: This week's gig guide

Simon ParkinThe King Blues, that rare thing in today's music biz, a band willing to offer a political opinion, bring their agrit-prop punk-folk to the Waterfront. Jazz star Claire Martin returns. Plus Tennessee's Royal Bangs and Manchester's Liam Frost.Simon Parkin


Maddermarket Theatre, April 10

Hailed as England's most impressive female jazz vocalist, Claire Martin has been the recipient of numerous awards, winning the prestigious BBC Jazz Award on four occasions.

Renowned for her unmistakably cool, burnished tone, her choice of repertoire embraces material from many sources and influences, and she embraces a variety of genres, as evidenced by the fact she has performed onstage and in the studio with artists as diverse as Noel Gallagher, Jamie Cullum, Kurt Elling, James Brown and Tony Bennett, who lists her as one of his favourite singers.

Her break came when renowned Scottish jazz label Linn signed her in 1991. Her debut, The Waiting Game, scored rave reviews and was chosen as a Times Album of the Year.

Here she will be performing material from her new album, A Modern Art, with a band featuring pianist Gareth Williams, bassist Laurence Cottle, and drummer Chris Daggley.

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Norwich Arts Centre, April 11

Perhaps it's the economic downturn, but Tennessee's Royal Bangs who until recently were a five-piece seem to have downscaled to a trio ahead of their latest UK tour.

Although that means they're two fifths less than before, it's hard to see that this will tame their madness, particularly as under Royal Bangs and various other guises, main men frontman Ryan Schaefer, drummer Chris Rusk, and guitarist Sam Stratton have been making music together since their high school days.

Last year's first release proper, Let It Beep, found the band's sound looking more than ever in two seemingly conflicting directions: an increased emphasis on the electronic - from syrup-thick synths to dancy drum programming -coupled with earnest echoes of fervid 70s rock legends like Springsteen and Thin Lizzy. But the core of their sound is rooted in the indie rock renaissance and Schaefer's hook-heavy arrangements.

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Waterfront, April 11

Having played at the G20 protests and been outspoken in their opinions this folk/punk/rap trio are that rare thing in today's music scene - a political band.

With some righteous revolutionary fervour and radical action, they could almost be channelling the spirit of the late, great Joe Strummer. Indeed their sound isn't dissimilar to latter day Clash and, even more so, The Mesc

In truth they're hard to pigeonhole. A semi-acoustic punk/rap outfit who sound like the Pogues one minute, the Streets the next, or like one of those post-Green Day US pop-punk bands.

Band mainman Jonny "Itch" Fox says they have a wide range of influences: "We call it rebel music - it's not a mash-up although we play a lot of styles. It's street music. We're a war generation, we're in the middle of a recession, and it's amazing to me that so many songwriters are ignore that." Whether their music is up your street or not, it's undoubtedly good to come across a band that have something to say.

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Norwich Arts Centre, April 12

For some artists, three years dominated by broken hearts, the spectre of bereavement and wrangles with their record company would be the perfect excuse to churn out a set of self-pitying songs. But Manchester Liam Frost has synthesised his experiences into We Ain't Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain, a brilliantly soulful pop record that mixes sweet melodies with tantalisingly dark undertones.

While his 2006 debut, Show Me How The Spectres Dance, dwelled heavily on the impact of losing his father and older brother, the follow-up is an album dominated by love songs. 'It has a more optimistic feel,' says Liam, 'The last album had so many bleak moments. I'm only 25 and I wanted to make a fun record before I hit 30. Then I can do all that maudlin stuff and turn into Leonard Cohen!'

Highlight of the album is the single, Your Hand In Mine, a duet with Martha Wainwright. Quite how that will fare live, without Martha, remains to be seen.

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t April 9

Wombatwombat: feat. Sennen (indie) - Arts Centre

The Fab Beatles (tribute) - Maddermarket

Rise (rock) - Brickmakers

Shrapnel (metal) - Marquee

Texas Thunder (blues) - King Edward VII

Canine Feline (rock/pop) - Blueberry

Egypt (blues) - The Canary

The Cream Horns (rock/blues/funk) - Silver Road Cottage

t April 10

Grupo Lokito (world) - Arts Centre

The Divide (rock) - King Edward VII

Pure Passion (rock) - Brickmakers

Jocelyn (rock/indie) - Blueberry

Three Vicars (garage) - Marquee

New Blue Sun (acoustic, 1pm) - Arts Centre

Half Cut Heroes (indie) - The Stanley

A Floydian Slip (Pink Floyd tribute) - Wild Man

t April 11

Twee Off!: feat. Royal Bangs (rock/electro) - Arts Centre

The Shorewalkers (trio) - Cider Shed

Leopard Trio (rock'n'roll, 3pm) - King Edward VII

Al Sharp (soul, 5pm) - King Edward VII

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) - Brickmakers

Pete 'Kiwi' Keegan (skiffle) - Trowel & Hammer

t April 12

Electro Night (electro/chiptune) - B2

Abandon All Hope: feat. Lower Than Atlantis (punk) - Marquee

Norwich Rocks (local) - The Langtry

Jazz N Jam (open mic) - Blueberry

Sessions (open mic) - Brickmakers

t April 13

Ellie Goulding (pop) - Waterfront

John Redbourn & Robin Williamson (folk) - Arts Centre

Egypt (blues) - Brickmakers

Barefeet Records Presents: feat. Coco's Lover + more (indie) - The Birdcage

Folk Evening - Micawber's Tavern

t April 14

The Broadcast + more (punk/rock) - B2

Track 3 Promo (punk) - Marquee

Pure Acoustic (open mic) - Brickmakers

The Session (Irish) - Cider Shed

t April 15

Does It Offend You Yeah? (electro/indie) - Waterfront

Blag + more (punk/ska) - B2

The Pilots + more (indie/rock) - Marquee

Hot Cold Ground (rock/indie) - Brickmakers

Robert Brown (guitarist) - Blueberry

Doctor Misfit (Dr Feelgood tribute) - Bridge House

Stars of Pompeii (reggae) - Rose Tavern