Monday 8 November 2010

Happy 10th Birthday Howlback Hum!

Hoofus with his perfect beats at Norwich Playhouse!
Howlback Hum celebrated being 10 years old by holding 6 gigs in 5 days in various venues across Norwich. The nights are organised and promoted by Shane O'Connor as a platform for local bands to get out and play. On Wednesday night it was the turn of Norwich Arts Centre Cafe Bar to host the first of these celebratory nights.Teleri started events off with a mixture of uplifting lyrics, acoustic guitar and violin followed by Danny Whitehouse who had a great time. Gravel voiced and full of emotion!

Arhai were next to take to the stage entertaining us with their exotic tinged sound with mandolin and electronics that take you to a Sahara horizon far, far away! Tawny Owl And The Birds of Prey then grabbed the moment perfectly with a performance that belonged on Broadway. There cover of Destiny Childs Say My Name was out of this world! Takeda followed that with an excellent set of ambient folk showcasing tracks from their Hufsa EP. Droning chords and drumming that put you in a relaxed state of mind.

Onto Thursday night and The Bicycle Shop complete with a fishtank on stage. Maria Uzor better known as Girl In A Thunderbolt said hello and said my face looked very familiar. On stage first was Sam James Hill who treated us with magic from his madolin. At the end of the battle he lifts us higher with whining post rock beats combined with off kilter vocals. Ruth Gordon enchanted us with her gentle folk while making us dream of nights out in Cromer!

Girl In A Thunderbolt then completed her plan of taking over the candlelit basement of The Bicycle Shop. Her Indie Soul is red hot tonight as she takes us on an emotional journey which has a quickfire effect on everyone. She's worried why we are all so quite but carries on her sonic assault on our senses. Headliner tonight is Mat Riviere who makes a lot of noise. He combined his drum and electronics with abrasive vocals that take you to a dark landscape which can be frightening and claustrophobic. In other words absolutely brilliant! he was crouched on the stage floor with his computer with vocals that reminded me of Interpol.

The setting on Friday night was the Jurnet's Bar at Wensum Lodge which dates back to the 12th Century. Shane got on his guitar and took us to another place which could be described as an Musical Circus. Jenny and Johnny lookalikes, violins and stories of Ski Trips were all part of this incredible night!

Milly Hirst gave us a quality performance full of beauty and emotion. She sang about ghosts and witches creating stories that uplift and are able to put a smile on your face. This was a very powerful performance from a very talented artist. The Raw And The Cooked mixed poetry and electronics to scare us all. Improvised, dark and very, very frightening!

Horses Brawl are amazing musicians who can combine King Henry VIII with Bulgarian Folk Music and get away with it. Laura on violin and Adrian on guitar making something like bric a brac to the masses. Rory McVicar finally made it back home to the place he belongs! Howling and doing what he does best, making music. It will all work out in the end because Rory has a big talent. He finished the night with Moon River that makes you realise that dreams can come true.

It's Saturday afternoon at Norwich Arts Centre so it must mean Pumpkin Soup. Definitely nom, nom! First up were Catheaded Hawk who brought Centuries old stories to life with their delightful folk. It was then up to Vase to entertain us with his Toys R Us induced tunes. There was no stopping him!

Tom Conway gave a history lesson in battles down history with very graphic details. The Dim Goddess was laughing and smiling while playing her harp. With her bright pink hair Joanna Newsom would be proud. Andy Kirkham then entertained with his mighty fine guitar playing.

Tiny Hands then took us to a darker place soaking us in rain with their dark Indie clouded in mystery. It was then down to headliners Spidermilk to take our breath away and how they did. I stood on the balcony in the Cafe Bar for their whole set completely enthralled with their performance. They had the nerve to have an ironing board on stage! Their Mogwai style soundscapes are beautiful but can make your ears bleed at the same time.

In the evening it was on to Take 5 in Tombland. Follow Your Heart must be some crazy geezers! They are mad and brilliant, mixing pop and alternative rock combined with their eccentric attitude. Next up were Scumbag Philosopher who were absolutely brilliant live with their Post Punk with real meaning.

Oh Brothers, Brothers what have you done! Great set from The Brownies, Fever Fever hybrid. It was then down to the Marathon Men of Octagon Court to take us through the night. Keyboards and freaky dancing are alright on a Saturday night!

On Sunday Howlback Hum returned to wear it all began, down by the River Wensum at Norwich Playhouse where the Winter Visitors had the perfect soundtrack for a gentle Sunday afternoon with their understated Folk. Shane was rocking all over the world while Master Solo was entertaining us with his Norfolk twist on Americana. Ashley Smith then took us to a world of whales which in fact is very good!

The Gore Vidals went on and on as the celebrations were getting into full swing but were we ready for Hoofus you may ask yourself. With his amazing Electronica he was definitely one of the highlights of the Howlback Hum celebrations. His beats were spot on.

Teknikov are the most overqualified band in Norwich. They gave us a real rock n roll show with Any Bloody Fool being one of the highlights of their set. They are Art Rock with attitude. After the serious politics of Teknikov it was then up to Alto 45 to make us laugh and smile with their jangly songs full of silly lyrics while dressed in white coats. It was then left to Magoo to bring their majestic Indie to Norwich Playhouse. They gave us a show that we will never forget.

Happy 10th Birthday Howlback Hum! Let's look forward to the next 10 years!

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