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The Good, The Bad and The Queen, LCR review: 'They know how to put on a show'

PUBLISHED: 10:18 13 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:18 13 April 2019

The Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve Hunt

The Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve Hunt

Picture: Steve Hunt

Question. What do you get when you mix together the lead singer of Blur, members of The Clash and The Verve and one of the UK's best drummers?

The Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve HuntThe Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve Hunt

The answer is The Good, The Bad and The Queen and their two albums of brooding, melancholic and melodic songs that take an introspective look at the UK and all its charms and challenges.

And on Friday night music lovers in the fine city were in for a real treat as the band stopped off in Norwich for the opening night of their short tour.

For the unaware, The Good... formed in the mid noughties with their self-titled debut album, recently followed up by the excellent Merrie Land.

They are made up of Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Allen.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve HuntThe Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve Hunt

Tonight we are treated to every minute of that recent album, followed by pretty much everything off the debut in a superb 110 minute set.

Given the music is rather slow on record I hadn’t quite known what to expect from them live.

But I should not have been worried as we’re in the hands of a group of musicians who know what they’re doing and know how to put on a show.

And chief conductor of that is Albarn who is in his usual playful mood, interacting with the crowd and generally looking like he’s having the time of his life.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve HuntThe Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve Hunt

And as my friend points out, it’s also a genuine treat to see him so close up - given he’s more used to playing massive arenas and festivals in his other musical roles.

On stage The Good... have brought in a percussionist and string section swelling their numbers to 10.

It gives them the ability to stretch and enhance their songs, taking them to an epic level.

I love Merrie Land and its poetic tales of Britain and Brexit and it sounds great this evening, in particular Gun To The Head, Last Man to Leave and The Poison Tree.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve HuntThe Good, The Bad and The Queen headlining The LCR UEA in Norwich. Picture: Steve Hunt

Albarn still sounds brilliant and Simonon’s bass playing brilliantly holds it all together.

In truth, the second half of the show doesn’t quite reach the same heights - but I certainly did not want the set to come to an end.

It’s not often you get to see such talented musicians in the relatively small surrounds of the UEA. It was an honour and a joy to be there.

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