The six must-see gigs in Norwich this November

Fans at the Darkness gig at the UEA last night <mon>. Picture: Denise Bradley

Fans at the Darkness gig at the UEA last night <mon>. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

Music maestro Alex Flood picks out the best of the live gigs on offer in Norwich this month.

• Steve Cropper with the Animals and friends at UEA LCR – 6 November

The king of laid-back blues and the man behind such soul greats as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, Steve Cropper has been touring now for what seems forever. His current incarnation as the frontman for sixties icons, The Animals, gives Cropper the rare opportunity to take centre stage and really let it rip. The self-confessed sideman – 'I'm a band member, always been a band member' – has invariably preferred to lay the foundations rather than actually build the house, and his return to Norwich is a perfect opportunity to see one of the unsung heroes of rock really cut loose.

• Grandmaster Flash at Epic Studios – 13 November

Hip hop and DJ pioneer, Grandmaster Flash, has not released a full-length studio album since 2009s 'The Bridge – Concept of a Culture', but he'll bring his famed punch-phrasing, backspin-scratching techniques to Norwich's Epic Studios for the first time this November. The first DJ to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Flash will be sure to bring the house down on a rare night of old school hip hop from the Bronx. A rare treat for the mustard city.

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• La Roux at UEA LCR – 14 November

After a four year wait for British synthpop duo La Roux's second album, it came as a surprise when Ben Langmaid announced his departure from the group, and that 'Trouble in Paradise' was, in fact, to be a solo record. While Elly Jackson – 'the red-haired one' – retained the name La Roux, the loss of a life-long friend proved to be a sore blow as the record disappointed. Fear not, however. A revitalised Jackson has embarked on lengthy UK tour, and the once-Grammy winning dance music colossus touches down in Norwich on 14 November for a long-awaited date with UEA's LCR.

• John Cooper Clarke at Epic Studios – 15 November

The inimitable John Cooper Clarke pays a rare visit to Norwich's best new venue this month, for an evening of bewitching wordplay set to a seventies punk-rock soundtrack. The veteran 'punk poet' has filled support slots for The Clash, Sex Pistols and the Fall, and was named by current stars, the Arctic Monkeys, as one of their greatest influences – the band covered Clarke's 'I Wanna Be Yours' on their number one album 'AM'. This date may in fact be the smallest venue 'the name behind the hairstyle' has played for many years. A perfect wintry night out for the discerning music fan.

• Kate Tempest at Norwich Arts Centre – 15 November

The heir apparent to Clarke's poetic throne, Kate Tempest, has had quite a year so far without the help of such favourable comparisons. A 2014 Mercury Prize nominee for her debut album, 'Everybody Down', the London-born wordsmith has made the remarkable transition from celebrated performance poet and playwright, to musical prodigy without batting an eyelid. She brings her cockney-slanted brand of poetic hip hop to the NAC; unfortunately the same night as John Cooper Clarke plays Epic Studios. It looks set to be an evening of quite astounding literary excellence.

• UB40 at UEA LCR – 24 November

British reggae-pop legends, UB40, can boast of a career over 36 years in length, and a line-up from at least five different nationalities. Their last album, the eighteenth in their discography, was released in 2013 and included multiple covers of country and western songs from the groups' childhoods. This latest tour sees the band returning to the tried and tested formula of classic UB40 reggae and pop. One not to be missed.

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