Sunday 31 October 2010

A Day in a Life and discoveries in Norwich

St Thomas' Church on Earlham Road, Norwich
It's an Autumn Saturday afternoon so it must be Clutter City time at Norwich Arts Centre! It was an opportunity for Bare Feet Records to some us their wares, unfortunately Jenny didn't like to be photographed took this literally and didn't make an appearance! All was not lost as we were brilliantly entertained by Sam James Hill and King Laconic.

Graham Coxon lookalike King Laconic didn't disappoint with his very expressive folk. His excellent work on the guitar complement his almost lo-fi vocals perfectly.

Sam James Hill with his ambient folk is an amazing live experience. His voice is operatic combined with the droning effect of his music giving an unique stamp on his undoubted talents. He produces epic soundscapes that are perfect to lose yourself in on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Manchester United's match against Spurs kicked off at 5.30 fitting in perfectly with the Big Sky concert at St Thomas' Church on Earlham Road in the evening. A brilliant header from Nemanja Vidic and a bizarre goal from Nani made it a perfect 2-0 win for United.

The Big Sky concert was in support of Strong Roots an exciting innovative therapeutic horticulture project in Norwich for people who are socially disadvantaged. Big Sky are a community choir based in Norwich an area famous for it's big skies. Performing uplifting songs from Georgian chant to American folk the whole performance was a very uplifting experience. Combined with the amazing acoustics of St Thomas' Church this made for a perfect evening. We were served beautiful tea and cakes during the interval. It doesn't get better then that!

Thursday 28 October 2010

My heart is an acoustic guitar

The strings on an acoustic guitar are like the blood pumping around my heart. The sounds that they produce can be either happy or sad. Just like my heart the strings can be broken and all appears to be lost. Give a little time for repair and healing and just like my heart you will hear happy tunes again bursting into the air and reaching the ceiling.

You can be sad inside in an emotional turmoil or overjoyed with happiness that you want to tell the whole world. Play your acoustic guitar and everyone will know what your feeling. In good times and bad the sounds that the strings produce represent deep complex feelings which at times can tear us apart while others fill us with all the joys of happiness.

In times of quite reflection the music on an acoustic guitar can be the best therapy of all. It seems that the strings have a direct line all the way to my heart. There is no need to hide away all your feelings. Let the strings on an acoustic guitar express your heart.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Magnetic Man make it emotional!

Skream, Benga and Artwork brought their dubstep super group Magnetic Man to Norwich Waterfront last night and put on an spectacular show. With support from Katy B this was the night that dubstep made a big splash in Norwich. As soon as Katy B hit the stage and burst into Louder the whole venue went crazy. She is definitely a big star in the making. The energy at the gig last night was amazing. It was like everyone had been transported to Outer Space or another dimension! The whole floor was shaking!

This energy reached a completely new level when Magnetic Man made their entrance. With their set up of three Mac laptops, a Korg synth and a digital mixer combined with the amazing light show their live performances just blow your mind. If it is possible for electronic music to be organic then this is it. It takes you on a natural high and makes you believe that computers can have a heart. According to Artwork the light show is supposed to represent when you're on a bit of drugs and you close your eyes and see shapes.

Katy B joined Magnetic Man on stage for Perfect Stranger and the energy reached a whole new level. This was not just a gig but a life experience brought to you by the Three Kings of Dubstep. Down by the River Wensum Magnetic Man definitely shook up this Fine City! I need air and now I have electronic music with real emotion. This is what 21st Century music should all be about.

Monday 25 October 2010

Crystal Castles Digipunk Art Statement!

Crystal Castles Digipunk Art Statement! 
I was in a good mood arriving at Norwich UEA on Sunday evening for the Crystal Castles gig having watched Manchester United beat Stoke City 2-1 in the UEA Student Bar with two goals from Chicharito. His first goal scored with an backwards header is what I would call an Art Statement. I would say that Crystal Castles are one big Digipunk Art Statement!

After seeing HEALTH at Norwich Arts Centre last year I was really looking forward to seeing them again and I was not disappointed.  That means they have blown my mind twice! The sound and the intensity of their live shows is out of this world.

After having our minds blown once we all had to get prepared for it all happening again with Crystal Castles. Every second they were on stage it was like I was taken to another dimension. Ethan Kath let's loose the noise and our eyes are stunned by a mass of strobe lighting! Then Alice Glass makes her entrance on stage screaming and shouting causing mass hysteria in the audience. For the next hour it was like all our senses were ripped apart by the greatest Digipunk band in the world! Alice was crowd surfing without a care in the world and I was jumping up and down in awe of one of my favourite bands.

Crystal Castles have been accused of being style over substance. I would say that is completely missing the point. This is Ethan and Alice's Art on full view to the world. They may shock but that is the case with lots of Art. I love both their albums and their live show is a stunning though provoking spectacle. This has to be one of the best gigs of my life!

Saturday 23 October 2010

Mr Scruff spins up a great brew!

Mr Scruff keeping it unreal!
Going to a Mr Scruff gig is the equivalent of running a Marathon considering the length of his gigs but they are definitely worth it! Five hours of magic complete with tea stall. I got to try his legendary mint and chilli herbal tea. I highly recommend you give it a try. It's available at Norwich Playhouse if you want an afternoon brew.

Norwich UEA was buzzing last night from the beats being delivered by Mr Scruff. Soul, reggae, funk, hip hop you name it Mr Scruff will spin it. With two screens complete with his quirky visuals giving shout outs to the Norwich Massive and incoming bass line alerts  last night was a great visual experience. Twenty years of Ninja Tune Records and Mr Scruff must be one of the best examples of what the label has given to the world. Fish alert! Mr Scruff if following the trawler to find the Ninja Tuna!

Lots of freaky dancing on display last night as everyone got into the spirit of the night. Mr Scruff nights are legendary. I think you should all get into training for the next one!

Thursday 21 October 2010

Lotte Mullan brings her magic to Norwich Caffe Nero!

Lotte Mullan live at Norwich Caffe Nero!
Lotte Mullan brought her magic to Norwich Caffe Nero tonight with a great live performance! With songs from her Plain Jane album and covers including Single Ladies everyone at Caffe Nero were having a fun night with added cappuccinos and espressos!

She was playing her newly acquired electric guitar but nobody called her a Judas! This gave her a more rocky sound to add to her softly sung lyrics mixed with the memorable melody of her songs.

With brilliant tracks like La La Love You and Wicked Way she definitely got the attention of the audience. I highly recommend you check out her debut album Plain Jane which is full of acoustic country sounds. Caffe Nero was a great setting for the gig with City Hall and the Marketplace in the background. She is definitely a big fan of Johnny Cash as we all are!

As the drummer wanted a steak dinner tonight we all parted with our tenners for a signed copy of the album. I'm sure I will have it on repeat play in the next couple of days!

Monday 18 October 2010

Just call me Daby!

Daby Touré wants you
to just call him Daby!
It was like a celebration of life at Norwich Arts Centre on Saturday night when Daby Touré brought his infectious brand of global soul-tinged pop to Norwich as part of Norfolk Black History Month. His music is at home equally on the African sands of the Sahara Desert as on the bustling streets of Paris.

During his ninety minute show he had the audience on their feet and clapping almost non-stop. With loads of energy and a constant smile everyone was put into a happy mood and were very willing to join in with Daby's singing. He had a brilliant repour with everyone in the auditorium.

Daby Touré is one of Senegal’s best known exports who has become a top class performer. His music crosses many musical boundaries. From the banks of the Senegal River to the shores of rural Norfolk. Just call me Daby!

Thursday 14 October 2010

Apples and pears at Norwich Marketplace

Norwich Marketplace full of
delights and wonder 
Apples and pears oh I declare full of goodness to keep the Doctor away. Oranges and Lemons the bells of St Peter Mancroft, all your fruity delights available on Norwich Market. Rain or shine you can always rely on a bargain under the multi coloured stalls served with a friendly smile.

I want parsnips but you want broccoli. Don't despair we can have both and mushrooms as well. No need to ponder on your choice of vegetables for your Sunday roast, you can have it all and more under the Norfolk Sun as it shines on a Fine City.
Hog roast and jacket potatoes or maybe you want fish and chips served with mushy peas for lunch. In the afternoon purchase an ice cream full of gourmet fresh cream and relax in this place of delights and wonder.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

God Bless Chile and the 33 Miners

God bless everyone involved in the rescue, the people of Chile and the 33 miners. This is a truly remarkable example of what can be achieved when people work together for a common cause.

As I watched the events unfold live on TV last night I was moved by the human spirit and the coming together of everyone. The rescue at the San Jose Mine in Chile is an uplifting event that should be an inspiration to us all.

When the first miner Florencio Avalos emerged from the rescue capsule all the anxiety melted away to be replaced with jubilation and the realisation that all the planning had fallen into place. The spirit of the 33 miners will live forever.

Monday 11 October 2010

I've been rewired in dub!

Pama International Meet Mad Professor
Rewired In Dub
It was night of reggae at Norwich Arts Centre on Sunday night with Pama International meets Mad Professor. With their mix of 60's soul and 70's reggae with a modern touch Pama International brought a touch of King Tubby sound to the auditorium aided by the legendary Mad Professor. This tour was for the Pama International Meet Mad Professor - Rewired In Dub album where the Mad Professor has totally reconstructed Pama International's Outernational album.

Mad Professor is most famous for remixing Massive Attack with the resulting album No Protection selling over 1 million copies. I was standing just in front of the mixing desk with the Mad Professor doing his magic behind me. Pama International were definitely getting everyone moving with their dub fuelled ska rocksteady and reggae sounds.

A wonderful night for all as we all dream of relaxing in the Caribbean surrounded by palm trees eating jerk chicken and drinking Red Stripe. Norwich Arts Centre has the ability to transport you to anywhere in the world. I'm sure my shoes had drops of sand in them when I got home!

Saturday 9 October 2010

Norwich Guildhall and it's proud history

Norwich Guildhall full of history!
If you know your history you will realise the importance and power of Norwich Guildhall standing proudly in the City Centre. Dating back to the Fifteenth Century after the Charter of Incorporation was granted to Norwich by King Henry IV.

As you look across the marketplace you are amazed at the chequered squares of flint that gives the building such a dignified look. The castellations around the roof are like it's crowning glory.

The Assembly Chamber is where the full medieval Council used to meet. Some know it as the Sword Room with storage for weapons in the room. Have you breath taken away as your eyes are taken in by the oak panelling and stunning stained glass of the Council Chamber. The Undercroft is where dangerous criminals were held going back to medieval times.

It's time to visit Caley's for a pot of tea and a cream cake. relaxing my mind and body with friends in vintage clothes taking in all the history of Norwich Guildhall.

Friday 8 October 2010

Maybe Plan B doesn't need a Plan C!

Plan B bringing sweet grooves
to Norwich UEA! 
It was a sold out night at Norwich UEA for Plan B as his complete reinvention from talking morbid just to make you awkward to his chart pleasing soul sound complete with backing band and singers made for a spectacular live show. The support was from Clare Maguire with her mighty voice. She sounds expressive and soulful. A star in the making!

Ben Drew maybe accused of selling out by certain people as he was regarded as the UK Eminem when he first arrived on the scene but you cannot doubt the quality of his second album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks. Songs like Writings on the Wall, I Know a Song Stay Too Long and Love Goes Down get the whole crowd going with some people singing back word for word showing their complete devotion for Plan B. Welcome to Hell seems a bit like tongue in cheek!

He was dressed in a suit looking like he should be on the way to court but somehow ended up headlining a glitzy show at the UEA LCR. With a full video back screen the venue looked like it had been transformed in to something out of Las Vegas. I kept wanting him to go back to the scary Plan B and put more edge into the show. The fury has been replaced with sweet grooves. Maybe Plan B doesn't need a Plan C!

Thursday 7 October 2010

No Age make it an awesome night!

No Age came, saw and conquered at Norwich Arts Centre last night! They were absolutely amazing with an assault of lo-fi noise mixed with melody. They have brought College Rock into the 21st Century evoking memories of Husker Du and Pavement. They created enough energy to power Norwich for the next six months! It was like the venue was full of devoted No Age fans. The band called the Arts Centre an awesome venue, it couldn't get any better!

On their new album Everything in Between there are pop sensibilities escaping from the lo-fi wall of noise. Augmented by a new member on synths live No Age's sound reached a new level. Vocalist Dean Spunt was sat at his drum kit while his voice echoed around the auditorium. While Randy Randall was making our ears bleed with his guitar playing!
Tracks like Life Prowler with it's buzzing guitars and thumped drums and Fever Dreaming that evokes memories of My Bloody Valentine have an amazing lifting effect. While Common Heat is an anthem of desperation.
With brilliant support from Lady Panther and John Weise this was definately a night to remember!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

The bells are ringing out at St Peter Mancroft

St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich
As I stand on the steps outside The Forum the air is suddenly full of the sound of fourteen pealing Whitechapel bells. I look across to St Peter Mancroft Church standing majestic in the City Centre towering above Norwich Marketplace and Gentleman's Walk.

Full of beautiful stained glass windows gleaming in the Sun. Mancroft is Latin for a great open space recalling The Normans positioning of the Market in medieval times many Centuries ago. The church is dedicated to both St Peter and St Paul with their symbols appearing on either side of the porch door.

I stroll down to the statue of Sir Thomas Browne surrounded by a marble eye and brain. It's time for lunch so I take my seat and take a bite out of my tuna sandwiches.

Monday 4 October 2010

Whitefriars in the Afternoon Sun

St James Mill, Norwich
I walk out of Norwich Puppet Theatre into the afternoon Sun feeling like a puppet on a string. As I walk up Whitefriars I can feel the air blowing up from the River Wensum as I stroll across the bridge.

As I turn and look I spot a pair of swans on the river. This is where in the Thirteenth Century Carmelite Monks founded their monastery next to the then known St. Martins Bridge. With lots of stories to tell from Robert Kett's rebellion to the secret tunnel to the White Lion Pub.

I am now in the shadow of the magnificent St James Mill that is full of memories of the weaving trade. Today it is full of the wonders of the Twenty First Century complete with broadband connections. With its elegant tower you would think that you were in the presence of a medieval castle.

Friday 1 October 2010

There's only one Kano!

Kano keeping it real!
It was a night of Grime at Norwich Waterfront on Thursday night with lots of banging tunes courtesy of Kano and Ghetts. It was a very appreciative audience who responded with great enthusiasm to everything happening on stage. Keep it nice and simple, a DJ and a MC giving it to the crowd. It was one big party!

After Ghetts had warmed everyone up into a frenzy there was going to be nothing stopping Kano lifting the roof off the King Street venue. it would be wrong to label Kano with just being Grime as he has so many more different styles of music influencing his music. A mixture of Electronica, Dubstep and Pop ensuring that he has ability to appeal to an wider audience. An example of this is All and All Together featuring Hot Chip that is clear indication of the progression on his new album.

His devoted fans started chanting: "There's only one Kano! There's only one Kano!" he could do no wrong! No one can doubt his rapping skills and flow. He takes the basics of Hip Hop and adds other influences showing everyone that he is an evolving artist who is open to new ideas. There is definitely method in the madness!