Review: Villagers plus We Were Evergreen at Norwich Waterfront

Music prev pix 7/11/13

Music prev pix 7/11/13 - Credit: Archant

One of the greatest pleasures of seeing a band live is the ability to immerse yourself in their sound and lyrics free from the distractions that can surround you when listening to a record.

Five-piece Villagers are already a band well worth parting your money for, with two Mercury-nominated albums already to call upon.

But what you don't really get a feel for from either of these, is just how deep, thought provoking and unique their songs are.

If you were simply giving Villagers a cursory listen you might think they're all about lead singer Conor O Brien and his crisp, Irish influenced voice. And his powers of enunciation.

And while he does possess an amazing set of lungs, which often makes the whole crowd fall silent in awe, what also stands them apart is the depth of the lyrics and the diversity of the tunes behind them.

In the same way that Jarvis Cocker and Pulp so perfected (think lyrical approach not sound or performance style) each track tells a story and has you thinking long and hard what it could mean.

In this 80-minute set we get songs about the Irish troubles, homophobia and several that seem to be about death.

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But it's not that they're particularly gloomy, their melodies swing from the intimate 'The Bell' to the rhythmic 'The Waves' and epic 'Becoming a Jackal' and 'Ship of Promises'.

This is the last gig of their tour and, after jokingly (I hope), threatening to kill anyone who records and shares with the world a new song with which they finish, they promise to return with even more new tunes.

I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

French-trio We Were Evergreen returned to Norwich as support just several weeks after going down a storm at the Norwich Sound and Vision Festival - and it's easy to see why.

Their first few songs please with their easy melodies - the type you hear on television adverts for mobile phone companies, starring beautiful young men and women.

But half-way through the set the experimenting starts, each member switching instruments with ease and the gig steps up a notch or two.

That's when you realise there's something more about this band - something worth watching out for.