Preview: Norwich full gig guide March 8-14
PUBLISHED: 08:44 08 March 2013 | UPDATED: 08:44 08 March 2013
Since their infectious staccato guitar afro-pop, cum math-rock saw Foals break through six years ago, they've stealthily avoided death by hype which is to their credit. They arrive back in Norwich following the release of their third album. Plus: Bastille, Skunk Anansie and Lewis Watson.
UEA, March 8
Since their infectious staccato guitar afro-pop, cum math-rock saw Foals break through six years ago, on the back of blistering singles like Olympic Airways and some irresistable live shows, they’ve stealthily avoided death by hype which is to their credit. They arrive back in Norwich for their biggest date — already sold out — following the release of their third album, Holy Fire, which sees the band making a bid for arena-style mega-success.
Feted producers Flood and Alan Moulder, who’ve worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and U2, have been brought in and boy, do the results measure up, balancing enormous post-grunge guitar riffs and choruses, funk-informed basslines and cavernous drums.
The strutting, unashamedly poppy single My Number will be just at home in festival fields as basement indie clubs this year, but it signals just how brilliantly engineered this record is.
Most songs drip with an embarrassment of instrumental riches, with riffs, beats and signatures emerging from the musical thicket for a moment in the sun before disappearing into the verdant, vibrant jungle. From the steel-drums-and-guitar riff within Milk & Black Spiders to the dense, full-blooded Providence, Holy Fire is slickly realised.
Despite a couple of duds, it feels adventurous, exhilarating, evocative and spiritual with wonderfully atmospheric slabs of glowing-ember, comedown electronica, offset with a burbling tribal drumbeat and maracas.
t Further listening: www.foals.co.uk
Waterfront, March 9
South London band Bastille began as a solo project in 2010 by lead singer Dan Smith. The alternative identity expanded into a four piece live band and sold out gigs and several successful appearances at festivals such as Glastonbury and Isle Of Wight got them a deal with Virgin Records.
Their angsty indie pop has begun popping up on TV soundtracks and numerous adverts and they also supported Emeli Sande and Two Door Cinema Club during 2012.
Their just released debut, Bad Blood, is full of catchy, infectious tunes. Opening with the most recent single, Pompeii, moving on to the Friendly Fires-esque Weight Of Living and finishing on the emotive Get Home, it’s a well-balanced and interesting album.
Its repertoire of tricks — piano and falsetto sob-rock, yodel-along backing vocals, hands-in-the-air breakdowns — is entirely predictable, but generally redeemed by strong, surging melodies.
There are some annoying delusions of cultdom (most obviously on the Twin Peaks-referencing Sarah Palmer) but overall, it is a hooky, unmistakably populist affair from a band destined for success this year.
“This is definitely our biggest ever tour, but to be honest any gig we play is still a massive novelty to us, and we really enjoy doing the smaller acoustic things,” says Dan.
t Further listening: www.bastillebastille.com
SONS OF KEMET
Norwich Arts Centre, March 13
If there’s a band which sums up how exciting the UK jazz scene is at the moment it’s Sons of Kemet. The previous collaborations of the band members reads like a modern lexicon of creative music and includes Radiohead, Courtney Pine, Matthew Herbert, Zero 7, Polar bear and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
The project is the brainchild of young clarinet and saxophonist and Radio 3 New Generation jazz artist Shabaka Hutchings, whose ambition was to assemble the most unlikely line-up and allow them free rein for their distinct musical personalities to shine through. The line-up features two mighty and intricate drummers in Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford and tuba star Oren Marshall.
The resultant music is loud, earthy, vital, and refreshingly rough-edged at times but surprisingly danceable; the two drummers spur off each others’ energies and the tuba occupies a variety of roles from breathless walking bass to subtle, overdubbed layers of sound. Shabaka’s plaintive tone and uncluttered compositions frame the sound.
Expect idiosyncratic but danceable grooves, improvised twists and a passion and conviction which set this new band apart. Probably the most exciting band on the new Brit jazz scene over the last year.
t Further listening: soundcloud.com/sonsofkemet/adonias-lullaby-feat-dave
UEA, March 14
It’s been a quiet few years for London Brit rockers Skunk Anansie —you may be forgiven for thinking they called it a day for good in 2001. Instead, they embarked upon an eight-year hiatus, making a muted return in 2009.
With five million album sales and in Skin, one of the most forthright, iconic, and confrontational female-lead singers of recent times, the band appear to have been revitalised by their hiatus.
As confrontational as ever, return to the UEA on the back of the release of their latest album Black Traffic, as well as a back catalogue of tracks that made them one of the most successful and unusual rock bands of the early 2000s.
It is Skin, Cass, Ace and Mark Richardson’s third album since starting afresh, and their sixth overall, and it proves yet again that Skin may be one of the most underrated female vocalists of our time.
And Brixton-born Skin is certain that fans who go along to the see the band on their latest tour will see a better Skunk Anansie than ever before. She said: “I think we are more powerful. We’re a better band than we have ever been and we are better at playing our instruments. If you’ve been playing together as a band for 20 years then you’ve got to be better.”
t Further listening: www.skunkanansie.net
Norwich Arts Centre, March 14
Oxford 20-year-old singer-songwriter Lewis Watson is among a generation of aspiring young musicians who have taken the plunge and independently mastermind a digital cottage industry from which their songs can be discovered.
After gradually building his own fan-base, his economically-produced debut EP, It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW, topped the iTunes singer-songwriter chart on the first day of release, outselling the likes of Adele, Madonna and Ed Sheeran in the process. It’s a model that plenty of artists aspire to recreate, but few ever make any serious progress with. “People are calling my age group the broken generation, yet we’re getting out there, doing what we want and being successful with it,” says Watson.
Within days of the EP’s release, Watson had attracted the attention of just about every record label in the land and soon inked a deal with Warner Bros Records. Recent months have found him holed up with a huge number of collaborating songwriters and producers. His recent EP Another Four Sad Songs coincided with sold-out shows, and 2013 could be big for him. Support from Kimberly Anne and Saint Raymond.
t Further listening: www.lewiswatsonmusic.com
SOUNDS IN THE CITY
Foals (indie/rock) — UEA
Bastille (electro-pop) — Waterfront
Resonators + Solko + Freya Roy (dub/reggae/indie) — Open
Throb (glam rock) — Brickmakers
King Dinosaur (rockabilly) — Blueberry
Mind The Gap (rock) — King Edward VII
Songbirds: feat. Jake Morrel + Brother The Wolfe + Daisy Vaughan + Tristan Mckelvey + Monty and the Puma Fruits (folk/pop/indie) — The Birdcage
Bark Prelude (acoustic/indie) — Jurnets Bar King Street
Mel Stevens & The Strollers (rock‘n’roll) — Walnut Tree Shades
The Bunkadoos (roots) — Brewery Tap
Lena & The Playboys (jazz/blues) — Hog In Armour
Latino Sound (Latin) — Revolution de Cuba
Just-Is (jungle) — Hideout
The AJ Experience — Fiveways
Pete ‘Kiwi’ Keegan (skiffle) — Gatehouse
Norwich Folk Club — Christ Church Centre
Norwich Guitar Academy Showcase — B2
Lawson (pop) — UEA
Twee Off!: feat. Concrete Knives (indie) — Arts Centre
The Stylotones (ska/reggae) — Brickmakers
Super Action Heroes (rock) — Walnut Tree Shades
Big Black Cadillac (rockabilly/rock ‘n’roll) — The Woolpack
Moneyshot (rock) — Blueberry
The Awakening: feat. Romeo & Harvey (So Solid Crew) — Twilight Anglia Square
Rammerator (rock/metal) — King Edward VII
To The Last (rock) — Boundary
Bark Prelude (acoustic/indie/1pm) — Arts Centre Bar
Tallawah Band (reggae) — Revolution de Cuba
Young Musicians Band Festival (local/2pm-7pm) — B2
Julie Bunn (pop/rock) — Old Catton Maids Head
Secondhand Blues (blues) — Buck Inn
Hotsmoke & Danger — Golden Star
The Rum Dogs (country/Irish) — Micawbers Tavern
Stepback (rock‘n’roll) — Arkwrights
Lucas (soul) — Freedman
Danny Reno — Sprowston Social Club
Alan Ley — Trowel & Hammer
Terry Adams — Angel Gardens
Revolves — Heath House
Shannan — Quebec Tavern
Mark James — Kier Hardie Hall
Tony Cann — The Windmill
Robert Cray (blues) — Theatre Royal
Chas & Dave (pop/rock) — St Andrew’s Hall
Mambo Jambo (acoustic/3pm) — Brewery Tap
The Planks (soul/blues) — Twilight Club (Anglia Square)
Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers
Folk Club (acoustic/folk) — The Lounge
Pyvarotti (2pm) — Twilight Anglia Square
Johnny Marr (pop/indie) — Waterfront
Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades
Jazz Jam: feat. Brendan Young + Lee Vasey + Ian Hireson + Mark Jolley (jazz) — Silver Road Cottage
Brickie Session (open mic) — Brickmakers
Jazz Night — Hog In Armour
Sons Of Kemet (jazz) — Arts Centre
Heart Of A Dog + Milly Hirst (acoustic/folk) — Bicycle Shop
Elliot Drewes Quartet (jazz) — Oaklands Hotel
Cruizer (blues) — Brickmakers
Phab Club: feat. David Cooper (folk) — Vauxhall Centre
Traditional Folk Night — Beehive
Light’s Out Jam Night — Rumsey Wells
Russell Swallow and The Wolf + Kimberley Anne + James Frost (acoustic/pop) — Bicycle Shop
Sonic Arts 73: feat. Trance Map (electronic/jazz) — UEA School of Music
A13 Allstars (Americana/blues) — Brewery Tap
Dark Witness (metal) — B2
Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers
Traditional Irish — Gatehouse
Acoustic Singaround — Micawbers Tavern
Open Mic — Garden House
Skunk Anansie + Beware Of The Darkness (rock) — UEA
Lewis Watston (pop/indie) — Arts Centre
The Brew + Bad Touch + Upgrade (rock) — Waterfront Studio
Freeload (rock/indie) — Brickmakers
Sam Russo + Throwing Stuff (indie) — Blueberry
Comic Book Ending (indie) — B2
The Macarno’s (acoustic/pop) — Ten Bells
Ghostriders Western Club: feat. George Mcintosh (country) — TA Centre
Outathablues (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades
Ben Watson Quartet (jazz) — Rumsey Wells
Johnny Jump Band (country/blues) — Micawbers Tavern
Cruisin For A Bluesin (blues) — Rose Tavern
Lee Vann (acoustic) — Bar 11
Norwich Unplugged (acoustic) — Hog In Armour
Folk Night — Olives
Open Jam — King Edward VII
Open Mic — Lounge
Open Mic — Coach & Horses