Preview: This week’s gig guide

Last time he toured he sold out arenas so a special low-key return to live dates by James Morrison, ahead of a date at the iTunes Festival, is a rare treat. Also Roger Daltrey brings The Who's Tommy to Blickling and Godspeed You! Black Emperor make a rare visit.


UEA, July 27

James Morrison gears up for the release of his upcoming third album, The Awakening (out on September 26), with this date, one of just two warm up dates for a headline slot at the iTunes Festival at London's Roundhouse.

Unsurprisingly, given that his last UK dates were sold-out arena shows, tickets went long ago and are like gold dust. So it's a case of beg, borrow or pay a fortune if you want to attend.

The new album, his first for new home Island Records, has been produced by former Suede guitarist turned super-producer Bernard Butler. It follows the huge global success of the soul-influenced singer-songwriter's previous two albums which, together, have sold more than 4.5 million copies worldwide.

His 2006 debut, Undiscovered, topped the UK album chart whilst the 2008 follow-up, Songs For You, Truths For Me, included Broken Strings, the collaboration with Nelly Furtado which went on to sell in excess of 1.5 million copies.

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Perhaps hoping for a repeat of that, The Awakening also includes a collaboration for with a current female flavour of the month, this time, Jessie J on the track Up.

He said: 'For me this album combines influences stemming from my deep love for classic soul – Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding – with a sound that is contemporary'. A full UK tour is due later in the year, but its unlikely to visit Norwich, so now is your chance.

t Further listening:


Blickling Hall, July 22

And then there was one. Well, not quite, — as technically this is a solo date by The Who singer, but given that he will be performing a host of Who classics, this is as good as a Who concert.

The fact that he won't have his sidekick Pete Townshend with him prevents it being billed as a such, but he will have the next best thing — Pete's brother Simon Townshend on guitar. And for fans it is more than made up for by the fact that he will be performing the whole of landmark rock opera album Tommy — something The Who never did in its entirety.

The singer and actor played Tommy in the 1975 film version of the rock opera directed by Ken Russell, and on the 1969 album — mainly written by Townshend — which marked a new phase in his singing career and also in the history of The Who. The band immediately became one of the biggest bands in the world, and, as the golden-haired frontman, Daltrey was pivotal to their success.

But will a 40-year-old 70-minute rock opera work live for the first time? 'The way we are doing Tommy has never been done before. It's quite a challenging piece, to hang it all together,' he admits.

He will also be performing some hits, misses and obscurities from the Who's back catalogue, some of which I have not done for years. 'Hopefully we can do songs like I Can See for Miles and stuff from Live at Leeds. Another song we might do is Going Mobile, from Who's Next. I might even do some of my own solo songs, and a medley of songs by Johnny Cash, whom I idolise.'

t Further listening:


UEA, July 23

This Montreal experimental post-rock collective arrived onto the late-1990's music scene and provided a blueprint for the post-rock era with their opaquely titled 1997 album, F#A#? (pronounced 'F-sharp, A-sharp, Infinity'), a slow-burning, dark soundtrack for the pre-millennium tension.

The anarchic, enigmatic (not to mention camera and interview-shy) collective produced darkly complex epic soundtracks of feedback rock and Ennio Morricone string-laden mournfulness of the type that gets indie tastemakers frothing at the mouth.

Sure enough they quickly graced the cover of the NME — who crowned them 'the last great band of the century' in typically breathless style, and toured with Sigur Ros.

East Hastings, one of the sprawling, long-form tracks — featuring bagpipes of all things, that debut was used by Danny Boyle as the musical centrepiece for 28 Days Later.

Three more similarly intense records followed, and then, after 2003, nothing. In the meantime there were offshoot projects like A Silver Mt Zion. Then last year they suddenly emerged from hiatus for a UK and US tour.

This UEA date, one of a handful of gigs ahead of their appearance at the Portishead-curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival, is a special opportunity to see some true musical innovators.

t Further listening:


Norwich Arts Centre, July 28

Fast-rising British metal band Malefice return to the live circuit after six month's recording their much anticipated (in metal circles) third album, Awaken The Tides.

Formed in Reading in 2003, vocalist Dale Butler, guitarists Ben Symons and Alex Vuskans, bassist Tom Hynes and drummer Craig Thomas have previously shown the genuine potential to bother the biggest names in metal.

Their debut album, Entities, was a punishing, brutal assault to the system that crossed the boundaries of thrash, death and mathcore, offers power grooves similar to those that saw Pantera and Lamb of God rise to legendary status.

Arriving with nothing in the way of fancy haircuts, cheesy gimmicks or music industry hype, they captured the minds and banged the heads of metal fans without being bog standard.

Awaken The Tides, which hit the shops this week, is again packed full of face-melting riffs, fret-shredding guitars and a sense of groove.

Frontman Dale Butler: 'We've been locked away for six months working on this record. We promised something different, a bigger production, and a slightly different look on the genre. We've found our sound and it's going to bring a whole new level to our live show, something we all felt was missing.'

t Further listening:



Let's Wrestle (indie) — Arts Centre

The Ukuele Project (acoustic) — Norwich Playhouse

Replay: feat. Hello Bear + more (indie/pop) — Waterfront

Buster James/Tattooed Lies (rock/blues) — Brickmakers

Emma Hall Band (funk/soul) — Blueberry

The Burning Crows (rock) — King Edward VII

Metal Night: feat. Blind Tiger + more (metal/rock) — B2

Them Harvey Boys (acoustic/roots) — Brewery Tap

Outathablues (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

National Image (rock/pop) — Silver Road Cottage

Dan Tombs + more (indie/electronic) — Rumsey Wells

Sirens — Lakenham Cock

Fourplay — Wild Man

Just Rach — Fiveways

Alan Ley — Trowel & Hammer


Heart Club Classics: feat. Billy Ocean + more (pop) — Blickling Hall

New Town Kings (ska) — Arts Centre

The Ukuele Project (acoustic) — Norwich Playhouse

Super Action Heroes (pop/rock) — Blueberry

The Glamtastics (glam rock) — Brickmakers

The JB Conspiracy + more (ska/punk) — B2

Riverside Music Weekend (local bands/from 12.30pm) — Norwich Riverside

Hotwired Band + more (punk) — The Stanley

Barry Lee (pop/rock) — Heath House

Red Hot Rockers (rockabilly) — Arkwrights

Frozen Raspberries (rock) — Boundary

Uprising (rock) — King Edward VII

Beat Deluxe (60s) — Royal British Legion

Honeydripper (R&B) — The Leopard

Vikki H — Angel Gardens

Ricci — Perseverance

Susan Jayne — The Marlpit

Pyevarotti — Trowel & Hammer

July 24

Katherine Jenkins (classical/pop) — Blickling Hall

Riverside Music Weekend (local bands/from 12.30pm) — Norwich Riverside

Munked Up Funkies (rock/blues) — The Boundary

Three Piece Fun Fest (punk/charity/all day) — Blueberry

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Solko Music (acoustic) — Tao

Ian Larkins — Lakenham Cock

July 25

Fei Comodo (indie) — Waterfront Studio

Stookey Blue (folk) — Micawbers Tavern

Jazz N Jam: feat. Lee Vasey + more — Blueberry

Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

July 26

Savoy Family Cajun Band (roots) — Arts Centre

March On Rome (indie/rock) — B2

Bone Garden (rock/indie) — Brickmakers

Tommy Whittle (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man

Open Mic — Steam Packet

July 27

Malena Muyala (world) — Arts Centre

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Live Lounge — The Langtry

July 28

Mucked Up Funkies (rock/blues) — Brickmakers

End Soteria + more (metal) — B2

Rammerator/Impulse (rock) — Blueberry

Acoustic & Eclectic: feat. Nobodaddy + more (acoustic) — Olives

Vagaband (roots) — The Rose

Ghostriders Western Club: feat. Butch Country (country) — Royal British Legion

The Planks (soul) — Walnut Tree Shades

The Rum Brothers (Irish) — Temple Bar

Albert Cooper's Jazz Life — Rumsey Wells

Open Jam — King Edward VII

Open Mic — Wild Man