It’s the Norwich Sound and Vision festival 2011, a 3 day series of events, conferences, films and of course music.
Tonight we are at the Norwich Arts Centre, this is where Nirvana played and where Richie Manic once cut ‘4 Real’ into his arm. It’s a brilliant venue with a really nice ‘vibe’ to it, and I’m looking forward to an evening of musical entertainment.
First up in the bar area is Blue on Blue a boy/girl duo (Dee Sada & Billy Steiger) who manage to play quite a few instruments, keyboards, guitars, drums all at the same time. If they could find a long enough extension lead they would make impressive buskers.
I like them, at times they sound a bit like the Cocteau Twins, or an intro to a Smashing Pumpkins song when they went all electronic, and while some of their subtleties are lost live, Blue on Blue are definitely worth further investigation. Minus points however for leaving the guitars to feedback when they leave the stage. It’s not big and not clever (unless you are in Radiohead). www.facebook.com/blueonbluepop
By the way, also on show at the Arts Centre is an exhibition of Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh’s ‘designer rugs’, and they are exactly what you would expect from someone as nutty/talented as Mark.
After Blue on Blue we head over to the main room to see Octagon Court, another duo (2 guys this time,
Charlie Audsley and Stephen Draycott). One is head down with a guitar staring into his laptop while the other is barefoot singing manically and running energetically on the spot.
Musically they sound like Talking Heads jamming with A Flock of Seagulls after a year at Goth college in the Eighties. Full marks for enthusiasm, but I would like to see them add a few changes of pace into their set now and again, even if it is just to give the singer a rest. After 3 songs he was so exhausted he needed to lie down.
I only catch the end of Tawny Owl and The Birds of Prey, which is a shame as they sound promising, or should I say ‘he’. For some reason the rest of the band couldn’t make it (and he had to shoot off early too).
Fever Fever(Ellie pic below) are a Norwich based Punky, Shouty, Screamy 3 piece, 2 girls and a guy. It’s great to hear the sound of a real drummer playing real drums for the first time this evening.
They bring a much welcomed sense of fun to the proceedings, they don’t need trivial things like a bass player and their brand of Kenickie / Shampoo / Sultans of Ping FC punk/pop hits just the right spot.
After that its back into the bar to watch Something Beginning with L, Lucy Parnell (vocals/guitar), Jen Marco(Vocals, Guitar) and Jon Clayton(bass) Lucy and Jen are also currently part of Graham Coxon’s Power Ensemble, and they have performed with former Ash guitarist, Charlotte Hatherley’s touring band.
They win the prize for best equipment of the night and their slow atmospheric tracks have a brooding cinematic feel. Another definitely worth investigating more
London based Japanese headliners Bo Ningen are a striking bunch of chaps. All skinny framed, straight black hair down to their waists, they must be the only band since Poison capable of endorsing Timotei shampoo. Thankfully that is where the comparisons end, and this is the sort of music you hear in a 70’s TV show when someone has been drugged against their will and the world turns into an LSD nightmare.
They abound with relentless energy, Samurai warriors fighting marauding aliens with only their instruments as weapons.
To say they are INTENSE would be an understatement, Bo Ningen are both really fast and really tight, and if you can get survive the sheer force of noise, a pretty amazing live experience.
It’s not the sort of thing you put on while passing round the hors d’oeuvres at the local WI meeting, but as far as Japanese Psychedelic Noise-Rock goes, they are in a completely different class.
If you are near Norwich this weekend there is more great stuff going on, visit
www.facebook.com/norwichsoundandvision for more info.