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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t Further listening: www.clairemartinjazz.com
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.
t Further listening: www.myspace.com/royalbangs
THE KING BLUES
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.
t Further listening: www.kingblues.com
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.
t Further listening: www.myspace.com/listentoliamfrost
SOUNDS IN THE CITY
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