Preview: This week’s gig guide
This week's live music takes in an appearance from Peter Doherty, the return of folk husband and wife duo The Handsome Family and hotly ntipped indie/rockers Francesqa. And the NME Radar Tour stops off too, headlined by Anna Calvi.
UEA, May 13
Having recently been warned he could face jail again after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine, this solo date from the Libertines and Babyshambles man could be one of his last for a while.
He does, of course, have form for repeatedly cancelling UEA dates. Hopefully not this time though as, away from his 'issues', he remains a compelling artist.
He is so often surrounded by hype, media hysteria and assumed negativity that his music and talent seem to fall by the wayside. However they say that it's calmest in the eye of the hurricane, and that's where you'll find him; coolly strumming his guitar while the storm ranges around him.
On his last visit to Norwich, the singer (who know prefers to be known as Peter) came with he delivered an intimate solo show, this time it will be more expansive though still largely acoustic.
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Material from his 2009 solo album Grace/Wastelands is sure to feature heavily, though reports of recent shows suggest the majority of the set alternates between past favourites penned historically by himself and Carl Barat during The Libertines' heyday, and choices from the Babyshambles repertoire.
t Further listening: www.frenchdogblues.com
THE HANDSOME FAMILY
Norwich Arts Centre, May 13
Although being influenced by The Carter Family, Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt, The Handsome Family — aka Brett and Rennie Sparks — fashion a more post-modern country sound that blends catchy melodies, deadpan vocals, waves of feedback, and surrealistic lyrics.
Over the last two decades New Mexico based husband and wife duo have recorded a series of albums that has established them as one of America's finest songwriting partnerships and has seen them hailed as 'country music's answer to the White Stripes'.
Their seventh album, Last Days of Wonder, was one of Mojo's Top 10 American Albums for 2006. Their songs have been covered by many artists, most notably: Andrew Bird, Christy Moore, The Sadies, Sally Timms and Cerys Matthews.
Their eighth studio release, Honey Moon, celebrated the duo's 20th year of marriage with a series of love songs that sharply contrast the dark themes of their previous seven releases.
Full of an awed sense of emotion, they branched out from their usual canon of the dark and mysterious to establish a theme rooted in the tradition of 19th century romanticism. For the first time there is no body count. Not one person died. And there was only one song about a lost love.
t Further listening: www.handsomefamily.com
NME RADAR TOUR
Waterfront, May 15
The NME Radar Tour has previously given a career boost to the likes of Friendly Fires, La Roux and Marina and the Diamonds and is always a sure indicator of what's about to break big.
This time most eyes will be on Anna Calvi who headlines the tour. Having already been touted by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, she looks set to win over audiences with intense and mesmerising live performance.
The former Cheap Hotel singer is signed to Domino records, has been feted by Alex Turner, Nick Cave and Elbow, no less, and tipped by many for big things this year.
Half-English, half-Italian her unique blend of dark, atmospheric, romantic pop — as amply demonstrated on her startling debut album — suggest the predictions could be right.
Fresh from supporting Los Campesinos!, second on the bill is LA-based indie-alt quintet Grouplove, who comprise Brooklyn duo Christian Zucconi (vocals/guitar) and Hannah Hooper (keyboards/vocals), who met the three other members of the band in a small remote mountain village in Crete. Also on the bill are dream-popsters The History of Apple Pie.
t Further listening: www.annacalvi.com
Waterfront, May 19
The past 18 months have been a whirlwind for this Berkshire-based quintet who have wasted little time in carving out a name for themselves.
The band were picked by readers of Kerrang and Rocksound magazine to win 'Best New Band In The World' and 'Best British Newcomer' respectively.
After support slots with the likes of The Pretty Reckless and Young Guns, their first ever headline tour in February, which included a Norwich date, cemented their place among the UK's most exciting new bands, selling over 4,000 tickets and earning rave reviews, being compared to the likes of Muse, Lost Prophets and Biffy Clyro. Here they are back again in support of recent single All I Had.
A notable point about Francesqa's rise is their complete independence: the band are unsigned, fund everything themselves via touring and merchandise sales. 'We just focus on our music, that's what drives us,' states guitarist Tom Millar. 'We have been offered things before, yes, but it isn't always what is right for you as a band, and our main objective is to become the best band we can be.
'We love having the freedom to steer our career in the path we want to take and continue to strive to write the best music we possibly can, our fans have been great and support us very well.'
Support comes from Echoes, Atlas & I and Clear Addiction.
t Further listening: www.francesqa.com
SOUNDS IN THE CITY
Handsome Family (folk/alternative) — Arts Centre
The Collective (soul/funk) — Brickmakers
Egypt (rock/blues) — King Edward VII
Laurence (acoustic) — B2
Pout At The Devil (glam rock) — Blueberry
Acayshia (folk) — Brewery Tap
Firewire (rock/punk) — Lakenham Cock
Rockin Devil's Blues Band (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades
Beyond Duplication — Moles Rest
Tony Cann — Trowel & Hammer
Mark Anthony — Perseverence
The Floating Greyhounds (rock) — Blueberry
The Stylotones (ska) — The Leopard
The Heaving Cleavages (risqu� rock) — Brickmakers
Replica (rock) — The Woolpack
Flags (rock) — B2
Egypt (rock/blues) — King Edward VII
Whole Lotta Hair (rock) — Boundary
Crumbs For Comfort — Silver Road Cottage
Vicki H — Angel Gardens
Mustang Sally — Heath House
Newtrix — Arkwrights
ABC Blues Brothers (tribute) — Trowel & Hammer
Mariza (world) — Theatre Royal
The Harvs (folk/acoustic) — Brewery Tap
The Planks (soul) — Silver Road Cottage
Keno Kings (blues/4pm) — Boundary
Sam & Joe (acoustic/3pm) — Blueberry
Uprising (rock) — Lakenham Cock
Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers
Penguin Caf� (jazz/alternative) — Theatre Royal
John Williams & Richard Harvey (classical/world) — St Peter Mancroft
Jazz N Jam (jazz) — Blueberry
Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers
Kronos Quartet (classical/contemorary) — Theatre Royal
Panic! At The Disco (rock) — UEA
Set Your Goals (pop-punk) — Waterfront
Tommaso Starace (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man
Greek Star 5 (rock) — Brickmakers
Open Mic — Steam Packet
Staff Benda Bilili (world) — Theatre Royal
Noriko Orgawa (classical/contemorary) — St Peter Mancroft
Lee Vasey & Friends — Trowel & Hammer
The Session (Irish) — Brewery Tap
Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers
Charlie Haden Quartet (jazz) — Playhouse
Ghostriders Western Club: feat. Clear Cut (country) — Royal British Legion
Swaggering Gallants (folk) — Rumsey Wells
Laurence (acoustic) — Blueberry
Monk Inc. (jazz) — The Rose
Access To Music Showcase (local) — Brickmakers
Hot Smoke & Danger (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades