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Music Blog: What is our music identity?

PUBLISHED: 14:21 01 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:41 29 October 2010

Exhibition poster: Top: The Brownies.

Exhibition poster: Top: The Brownies.

Kingsley Harris

When someone puts on an event named Norwich Music Identity, you just know an old crusty like myself is going to be there. In 30 years I've never discovered an identity that could define or sum up Norwich music but it's always good to get someone else's opinion.

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When someone puts on an event named The Norwich Music Identity, you just know an old crusty like myself is going to be there.

In 30 years I've never discovered an identity that could define or sum up Norwich music but it's always good to get someone else's opinion.

Local art student Maxie Gedge, who also happens to play in The Brownies, orchestrated the exhibition as part of her degree.

The opening night at Stew, the new gallery on Fishergate, was a blazing success, with music from My Boy/My Girl, Fever Fever and Bearsuit all adding to the art, music fusion concept of the evening.

The music performances were guerrilla style in nature with the hardened acoustics giving off a slight warehouse ricochet. It was the best sound you could have hoped for on this occasion and suited the ambience of the night.

My Boy/My Girl opened the night with their urban take on noise core finishing their set with the unusual sight of Fab Bell from The Kabeedies fronting the band on vocals.

Fever Fever added their angular jerk with a host of new tracks all measuring up to the old. Bearsuit once again turned in a great performance playing a set of new tracks. It won't surprise me if these guys become one of those bands that go for 10 years plus before breaking big.

From an art point of view it was a real trip down memory lane for me, albeit a contemporary one.

The art side of the exhibition was geared up in representing the last twenty years or so of the music and poster art of prime gigs in Norwich and did make a lot of sense when you consider it's portrayed from the viewpoint of a 20-year-old art student.

For me though it was all a bit mystifying, as if I'd missed a connection.

Having read through the programme I believed the main aim of the exhibition was about blurring the distinction between music and art, as in visual art, something I would say is almost impossible to do considering the formats and direction each subject takes.

In a musical sense we are getting closer to accepting mains hum and other manipulated sounds as expectable noises in music but I think it will be a while before we can inexplicably link a visual piece of art to music or visa versa, other than its possible inspiration.

The principal thing I picked up was that people who want or feel the need to create can adapt to almost all of the favourably accepted art forms, some with real savagery and urgency and like this exhibition can piece something together out of nothing more than an immense creative passion.

This is in contrast to someone who does not feel the slightest need to express themselves in anyway at all.

This event would certainly work on an annual basis with a different viewpoint each year. However, don't let the title fool you, it doesn't establish a Norwich music identity.

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