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Tim Burgess review: An intriguing gig full of surprises

PUBLISHED: 11:20 05 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:20 05 February 2019

Tim Burgess headlining OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

Tim Burgess headlining OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

Steve Hunt

As part of Independent Venue Week, OPEN's club room is the intimate setting for Tim Burgess' last leg of his tour following the release of his latest album - 'As I Was Now'.

The Silver Field supporting Tim Burgess at OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve HuntThe Silver Field supporting Tim Burgess at OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

The first set of the night is to be from The Silverfield.

They begin to play their mix of synth, clarinet and vocals, underlined by slow bass and drums fading into each other that many were not expecting. Their tunes have a hazy, dream-like feel to them that takes many in the audience off guard.

A calm start to the gig ends, and on come Average Sex – a five-piece that plays with Burgess as The Anytime Minutes.

Average Sex supporting Tim Burgess at OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve HuntAverage Sex supporting Tim Burgess at OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

Their set starts and they instantly switch up the atmosphere with an upbeat and refreshing indie rock energy. Their catchy, riff-centric tunes interspersed with playful interactions with the audience make them instantly likable, and they warm up the crowd with charming tracks like Come Over and Ice Cream.

Their strong vocals are clearly engaging the audience, and I see fellow gig-goers whistling melodies after the band has stopped playing – they set the bar high for the rest of the gig.

Before commenting on the tour so far and the cold he’s suffering from, Burgess comes on stage. The upbeat riffs of the previous set are switched out for mellow, thoughtful rhythms, the outward charm swapped for introspection. This was clearest in tracks like Inspired Again, with powerful vocal melodies accentuated by the talented instrumentalists of the group.

Tim Burgess headlining OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve HuntTim Burgess headlining OPEN in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

In contrast to this were tracks like ‘NIK V’, with a guitar riff reminiscent of Robert Smith, or ‘Clutching Insignificance’ – a tune with a catchy hook that had the audience singing along. Both were much more instrument-reliant with a focus on rhythm rather than lyricism.

With such variety in their sound, they kept the enthusiastic audience moving until the final track - a fresh rendition of Burgess’ ‘Oh My Corazon’ updated with the newer sounds and upbeat tempo of Average Sex. The chemistry between the members was undeniable, and it brought a powerful end to what was an intriguing gig full of surprises.

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