Reporter Alex Flood picks his Norwich gigs to watch out for in 2014 - but do you agree?
13:50 04 February 2014
With 2014 well underway, venues across Norwich start filling out their gig schedules. But which gigs should you choose from a list of so many bright and brilliant performers? Here Alex Flood picks out his top 10.
· Young Fathers – Norwich Arts Centre – 08.02.14
The self-dubbed “psychedelic hip hop boy band” from Edinburgh, Young Fathers, have roots as far a field as Liberia and Nigeria, and the culturally diverse trio’s music reflects this. With long awaited debut Dead in tow, (six years in the making), Young Fathers will set Norwich Arts Centre on fire with ethnic beats abound and electro noise-pop re-imagined for the hipster generation.
· Royal Blood – Waterfront Studio – 18.02.14
Royal Blood’s modern take on blues and garage rock often invites comparisons with mercurial rockers the White Stripes and the Black Keys. Coming out of Brighton, the rock duo’s first single, ‘Out of the Black’, gained the band huge support from indie circles and even Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys fame heaped praise upon them. Expect loud, frantic rock ‘n’ roll and a few broken guitars.
· Norwich Blues Festival 2 – Waterfront – 01.03.14
The annual gathering of the city’s blues scene takes place as usual at the Waterfront Venue, but this year there’s a slight emotional twist. Wilko Johnson (of 70s rockers Dr. Feelgood) has recently been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and told he wouldn’t live past October. Declining treatment so as to complete a farewell tour, Norwich Blues Festival will be one final chance for Norwich residents to see the great virtuoso at his rip-roaring best. Other acts include Albany Down, Rita Payne, Clare Free and Connie Rush. Not to be missed.
· TOY – Waterfront Studio – 01.03.14
London psych-rockers TOY return to Norwich on their latest tour in support of newly released sophomore effort Join the Dots. A seemingly perennial fixture on the national touring circuit, this hairy five-piece originally formed in Brighton will wow crowds with their own brand of 70’s styled, shoe-gaze, indie-rock.
· Metronomy – Nick Rayns LCR – 26.03.14
After the huge success of their second album The English Riviera and subsequent tour, the new-wave, electro-pop group from London, Metronomy, took an indefinite hiatus. Returning with third effort Love Letters in March, the four-piece embark on another British tour in support. Already sold out, tickets to this gig are at a premium, promising to be an electric atmosphere and unexpectedly the only LCR gig on this list.
· Polar Bear – Norwich Arts Centre - 29.03.14
Led by drummer Seb Rochford, Polar Bear are a British experimental jazz band from London. Remarkably nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2005 for second album Held on the Tips of Fingers, Polar Bear return to Norwich in support of new album In Each and Every One, due March 24th. Inspiring instrumentally, Polar Bear will soothe souls and enthral endlessly with a sound combining cool jazz, funk, dance and electronica.
· ‘Indeterminacy’ by John Cage (Performed by Stewart Lee et al) – Norwich Arts Centre – 26.04.14
Not strictly-speaking a conventional musical concert, this performance of minimalist composer John Cage’s work ‘Indeterminacy’, by celebrated comedian Stewart Lee and ‘the Conspirators of Pleasure’, promises to be a stimulating rendition of one of the most progressive musical works of the twentieth century. Be ready for prepared sitars, middle-eastern percussion and short stories set to music.
· Blood Red Shoes – Waterfront - 29.04.14
Yet another guitar band from Brighton, Blood Red Shoes enter the tenth year of their career on a new record label, Jazz Life, and with their fourth full length LP, the eponymous Blood Red Shoes. Promising the “rawest, heaviest, sexiest” sound from them so far, this gig at the Waterfront will be a good chance to see the alternative rock duo moving in a new direction, yet still experience an electrifying rock ‘n’ roll show.
· Courtney Barnett – Waterfront Studio – 13.05.14
One of the most promising artists of 2014, the Australian singer- songwriter Courtney Barnett has released two EPs of tongue-in-cheek, slacker-rock pop music and gained notable attention from the music press for a sensational live act. Coming over from Melbourne in May for her first headline British tour, Barnett should be checked out as soon as possible.
· The Polyphonic Spree – Waterfront – 09.06.14
The wonderfully named Tim DeLaughter brings his rag tag band of choral rockers over from Texas in June for yet another tour of ‘Ol Blighty. Even without a new record to plug, The Polyphonic Spree look an exciting prospect. Capable of producing a phenomenal sound of impressive instrumentation, choirs, flute, trumpet, french horn, trombone, violin, viola, cello, percussion, piano, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and laptops all feature in the bombastic show of bravado that is The Polyphonic Spree live performance.