Wooden Arms review: A glorious swan song

Wooden Arms performing their last ever show together at Voodoo Daddy's Showroom in Norwich on 29th N

Wooden Arms performing their last ever show together at Voodoo Daddy's Showroom in Norwich on 29th November 2019. Picture: Patrick Widdess - Credit: Patrick Widdess

It was a night of mixed emotions as one of Norwich's finest and most widely travelled bands played their farewell show.

Wooden Arms had been on hiatus since the release of their second album Trick of the Light two years ago. As the members move on to pastures new the band reconvened to deliver a glorious swan song to a venue packed with friends and followers.

With its rugs and sofas Voodoo Daddys Showroom feels like watching a gig in your living room but the eight-person group delivered a sound that could fill concert halls.

The band moved effortlessly between epic orchestral arrangements and stripped down delicate melodies. Tide, the title track of their debut album, was an early highlight, a rousing full-band number unfurling from a lilting violin refrain. From then the momentum kept building. Cole Porter delivered arrangements of strings and harmonising vocals with a cinematic quality and flowed seamlessly into Lost In Your Own Home which veered between tender moments where you could hear a pin drop and thundering bursts of guitar, drum and roaring vocals.

The pride and passion of all the band members for the music they had created together over the last five or more years was evident in each song which saw them regularly switching instruments and harmonising on intricate vocal arrangements.

Alex Carson was a flamboyant leader, pounding the keyboard, belting out lyrics and regaling the audience with anecdotes from their years playing and touring together. He was fighting a cold but talent, determination and the odd drop of whisky saw him through.

Also worthy of a mention is the support act Badhead Hyland. They had a deep affection for Wooden Arms and even borrowed their violinist. Their exquisite lyrics with haunting arrangements for multiple voices were a perfect warm-up for the headliners and of equal standard.

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It was sad to think it might be Wooden Arms' last performance but it was a great way to bow out and a reminder of the immense talent on the local music scene. The band closed their set, ironically, with False Start. If anything it's a false ending as the members move onto new bands and solo projects. Hopefully it won't long before they're back on stage even if it's not all at the same time.

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