Preview: This week’s gig guide

Local rock heroes The Darkness make a hotly anticipated return for a warm-up show at the Waterfront ahead of their appearance at the Download festival. Others visiting this week include post-dubstep soul singer Jamie Woon and reggae legend Marica Griffiths.


Waterfront, June 5

There have been rumours, hints and a few false dawns...but, lets be honest, it was inevitable that Lowestoft's favourite sons would reform at some point.

The group, fronted by Justin Hawkins and guitarist brother Dan, had been rumoured to be re-forming for months. And the prospect of a high profile second-on-the-bill slot at this year's Download festival, as special guests to Def Leppard, was in the end enough to get them back on stage.

However ahead of that June 10 date, we're lucky enough to have the chance to see them up close at this special warm-up gig — one of just three such dates, and the only one where tickets went on sale to non Download ticket holders. That doesn't mean they were any the easier to obtain however as they sold out almost as soon as they went on sale, and you'll be every lucky to get hold of one.

This performance – with the original line-up of the Hawkins brothers, singer Justin and guitarist Dan, drummer Ed Graham and bassist Frankie Poullain – will mark the band's first festival appearance since they split five years ago.

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What can we expect? Lots of over-the-top rock theatrics and most of the material from their 2003 hit debut album, Permission To Land, including hit singles, Growing On Me and I Believe In a Thing Called Love. They've also been writing material for that long-awaited third album, so there might be a sneak preview of that too.

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Waterfront, June 6

Songwriter and producer Jamie Woon has charmed a host of critics with his electronic soul music, being named on the BBC's Sound of 2011 poll.

His ear-catching vocal talent saw the singer tipped as a soulful troubadour at a time when Adele and Amy Winehouse were finding fame, before collaborations with respected members of the dubstep community saw the producer coupled with the likes of James Blake and Mount Kimbie.

His 2006 demo Wayfaring Stranger bubbled under for over a year before a remix by Mercury Prize nominated producer Burial brought it to the attention of numerous bloggers.

The singer, who hails from four generations of musicianship which includes Sensational Alex Harvey Band members Hugh and Ted McKenna and his mother Mae McKenna, who has provided backing vocals for Michael Jackson, Kylie and Bjork, followed this up with a trip to Barcelona to attend the respected Red Bull Music Academy where he worked with Subeena and Debruit.

His continued association with Burial, alongside fellow producer Ramadanman, has put him at the vanguard of the so-called post-dubstep. And like James Blake, his debut album, Mirrorwriting, released in April, has a backdrop of dubstep bass and loops, but whereas Blake's songs echo the sparse bleak dubstep landscape, Woon's are lusher and more straightforwardly soul.

t Further listening:


Norwich Arts Centre, June 8

Marica Griffiths is the empress of reggae, a Jamaican female vocalist supreme. She is also the latest reggae big name lured to the Arts Centre.

In a career spanning 40 years to date, and still going strong, she began her career as a solo singer, scored a British top five hit with Young, Gifted and Black alongside Bob Andy before becoming a third of the I-Threes — Bob Marley's backing vocalists, or his three little birds as he preferred to call them. She was recently heard on Radio 2 narrating a documentary marking the 30th anniversary of the death of Marley.

Subsequently as a soloist she hit the charts with Electric Boogie Song and created a world class dance, the Electric Slide. At a recent reggae concert in Florida, Marcia demonstrated just how influential she still is, appearing both a soloist and as a member of three different groups. She appearing with dancehall star Cutty Ranks, on their duet of Fire Burning, she showed she can still be as relevant as ever.

What keep her going after all these years? 'Music alone shall live, and it's not only for the money, but the satisfaction I get from doing the work that I love, that is what really keeps me going everyday'.

t Further listening:


Bedfords, June 8

Norwich promoters Tilting Sky come up with another cracking bill of interesting upcoming local and visiting talent for this date in the intimate surroundings of Bedford's historic crypt.

Co-headliners Deers and The Bronze Medal will be supported by Temple Grounds and Typewriter Radio.

Rock five-piece Deers (pictured), who hail from Scole, are about to release their second EP. The band only settled on a name and line-up late last summer but they've been making waves and are ones to watch.

Bristol-based band The Bronze Medal are touring in support their debut single Milk, released on East City Records (also home to Chapel Club). Naming themselves after an Idlewild song, they gave themselves a lot to live up to but their folky, indie sound, with delicately plucked guitar melodies and vocal harmonies, has been getting good reviews.

Typewriter Radio hail from Norwich and have a sound that is Editors-meets-dancey-indie-pop stylings. Meanwhile Temple Grounds are from Bromley and have just releasing their debut EP.

t Further listening:


June 3

Riot On The Third Floor + more (punk/indie) — B2

The Stylotones (ska) — Brickmakers

The Cream Horns (rock/blues) — Blueberry

Red Hot Rockers (rockabilly) — Walnut Tree Shades

Tattie Jam (Irish/folk) — Brewery Tap

ABC Blues Brothers (tribute) — Lakenham Cock

Dr Misfit (rock) — Moles Rest

Lisa Marie — Perseverance

Sue Brooks — The Champion

Rockin Johnny — Gatehouse

Ricci — Trowel & Hammer

June 4

Jose Ferrera & Guateque (world) — Arts Centre

Tilting Sky: feat. We Can't Dance (indie) — Waterfront

Emma Hall Band (soul/pop) — Brickmakers

Rory McLeod (singer-songwriter) — Assembly House

Money Shot (rock/punk) — Blueberry

Honeydripper (R&B) — Eaton Cottage

Dan Star (rock/pop) — Angel Gardens

The Planks (soul) — Brewery Tap

Icarus Vision (rock) — Boundary

Shock Hazard (metal) — King Edward VII

KlezFest Caravan: feat. Polina + Merlin Shepherd (klezmer) — St Thomas Church Hall

Red Hot Rockers (rockabilly) — Arkwrights

Funk Soul Brothers (60s-present) — The Stanley

ABC Blues Brothers (tribute) — The Leopard

John Hart Band — Golden Star

Knight M — Lakenham Cock

Vic Salter — Gatehouse

Alan Ley — Trowel & Hammer

Tony Cann — Windmill

June 5

Phosphorescent (rock/indie) — Arts Centre

The Floating Greyhounds (rock) — Boundary

The Planks (soul) — Brewery Tap

Rob Charles (easy) — Heath House

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Pete Alan — Lakenham Cock

June 6

Stookey Blue (folk) — Micawbers Tavern

Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

Jazz N Jam: feat. Lee Vasey (jazz) — Blueberry

June 7

Guy Davis (blues/roots) — Arts Centre

Breaking Belief (rock/indie) — Brickmakers

John Whitehead Trio (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man

Open Mic — Steam Packet

June 8

Rod Stewart (rock/pop) — Carrow Road

Black Stone Cherry (rock) — Waterfront

Carys Rosser (pianist) — Rumsey Wells

Lee Vasey & Friends — Trowel & Hammer

Acoustic Singaround (folk) — Micawbers Tavern

The Session (Irish) — Brewery Tap

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

June 9

Status Quo (rock) — Thetford Forest

Kieran Goss (singer-songwriter) — Arts Centre

Energy (funk/soul)— Brickmakers

Sugar Rush (indie/punk) — Blueberry

Energy (funk/soul) — The Stanley

Against The Grain (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Johnny Jump (R&B) — Rose Tavern

Def Core (metal) — King Edward VII