Review: Tindersticks at Open in Norwich

Tindersticks at Open in Norwich during the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Photo: Steve Hunt.

Tindersticks at Open in Norwich during the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Photo: Steve Hunt. - Credit: Steve Hunt

All good music has a time and a place.

It was at a Glastonbury Festival many years ago I first encountered the Tindersticks.

On this occasion they were sandwiched on the bill between the Super Furry Animals and Pavement and their tender, laid back tunes seemed out of place, sending many, myself included, scurrying into the night in search of something a bit more upbeat.

Several years on, however, and they are perfectly suited to a Sunday night Norfolk and Norwich Festival slot in the grand surroundings of Norwich Open.

Here they caress and lull a seated crowd of around 500-plus for more than an hour and a half with some of the most tender music I've ever heard. It's that good.

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The band are at the festival on the back of their 10th album, the critically acclaimed The Waiting Room.

But before they delve into any of that they warm the audience up (or begin the gentle lulling at least) with a selection of tracks from their vast back catalogue.

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For the uninitiated, imagine the opening music to one of those American box set dramas set in the back end of beyond where nothing is quite what it seems.

The band are tight and note perfect and lead singer Stuart A Staples has a unique drawl, which sounds part midlands, part Americana - if such a thing were possible.

The main part of the show is dedicated to their new album, each song performed in accompaniment with a specially commissioned film.

Many of them show typical and very English scenes, such as motorway traffic or a seaside resort, perhaps offering a glimpse of where they draw some of their lyrical inspiration from.

The new release is more diverse than their earlier stuff, at times meatier, and at others just as soulful as before.

But it's always mesmerising and I left with the impression this is a band at the very top of their game.

David Powles

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