Review: The Sonics

The Sonics

The Sonics - Credit: Archant

It's taken the Sonics nearly half a century to release their latest album. And it's taken them even longer than that to find their way to Norfolk.

The Sonics

The Waterfront, Norwich

It's taken the Sonics nearly half a century to release their latest album. And it's taken them even longer than that to find their way to Norfolk.

There's even the vague promise to come back again someday – but if their sense of urgency continues to follow a similar pattern, it's unlikely many of us will be around to see it...

This garage band from Seattle quickly drifted apart soon after releasing a trio of albums in the mid-1960s. Although new members came and went and there were various incarnations of the band, the Sonics have been filed in the 'So nearly...' section of the music world since then, even though a multitude of household names have credited them as a strong influence.

Until now, that is. Bursting back with new album This Is the Sonics earlier this year, and with three of the five members of the 'classic' line-up in place, the Sonics delight an eclectic crowd that ranges from those who might just about remember them from the first time round to those simply keen to see a little bit of history.

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This is far more than a band paying tribute to their own legacy. Songs from this year's well-received record are spread liberally amongst those from their 1960s albums, and they slot into the setlist perfectly. There's no filler here.

Keyboardist Jerry Roslie, saxophonist Rob Lind and bassist (and newish member) Freddie Dennis share the frontman duties, but it's Roslie's vocals that steal the show.

Between songs, the softly-spoken banter is warm and friendly – particularly from Lind, who originally left the band to head off to Vietnam as a fighter pilot. But as soon as they lurch into the next track, it's back to the ferocious garage rock that made them minor stars back in the day.

There's a blinding version of Louie Louie, and by the time things are rounded off with Strychinine and The Witch, the triumphant return is sealed. Anyone who's come to see what all the fuss is about now understands.

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