A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to in March 2023
This monthly series is probably more for my benefit than yours, but maybe your interest will be piqued by one of the reviews. Maybe you’ll scroll straight past. Maybe you’ll unsubscribe thinking what did I see in this blog in the first place?
HardWired, The Rumsey Wells, Norwich, 2 March – As is traditional host Barry Brosnihan opened the night with his lush pad-driven mellow techno.
Off World Objects, The Rumsey Wells, Norwich, 2 March – Not seen these before, a duo with a really strong vocalist with quite melancholy lyrics, reminded me a bit of Turin Brakes if they went electronic.
m-orchestra, The Rumsey Wells, Norwich, 2 March – Some damn fool with a laptop and a projector.
Abominable, The Rumsey Wells, Norwich, 2 March – Made me laugh by putting his shades on and then observing that now he couldn’t see the screen, Abominable plays virtuoso guitar over an electronic backing and had one really creepy song with a video of an abandoned swing that was very much in my wheelhouse.
Parps, The Rumsey Wells, Norwich, 2 March – Plugged in an iPad and then made what I can only describe as an ominous hum for 15 minutes with a little bit of rhythm stuttering in the background. Made m-orchestra not be the weirdest thing of the night.
Bill Cerebral, The Rumsey Wells, Norwich, 2 March – He was wearing a t-shirt that said “Faceless techno bollocks” and played a very enjoyable uptempo loud set of exactly that.
Desperate Journalist, Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 7 March – The best kept indie secret in the UK, the loveliest thing about seeing them in the support slot on this Suede tour was watching the people around me who didn’t know them go rapidly from astonishment to delight the first time Jo Bevan really opened up her voice for the chorus of opening track Hollow.
Suede, Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 7 March – That first flurry of Suede singles was one of the most exciting musical happenings of my lifetime but I never got obsessional about seeing them live … until now. The first of three times I expect to see them this year, I can’t get enough. See what I did there.
Hearing Tests, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 9 March – Sounded like two bands in one, opening and closing the set with some heavy riff-driven punk/rock, but in the middle it had more of a gothic Cure feel to it including an unexpectedly faithful if shouty cover of 10.15 Saturday Night. Not sure the vocals suited either style particularly.
Adult Nephew, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 9 March – They sounded like how I imagine Pavement sound, although I’ve never really listened to Pavement so I’m unsure how accurate that is.
Jellly, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 9 March – Grown-up heavy rock with a little hint of psych thrown in at the edges, but not entirely my cup of tea.
Buck Theorum, Tileyard Studios, London, 10 March – Gary was using some kind of wind midi controller/mic combo plus looping pedals that I’d not seen him do before, incredibly different from everything else on the night, and his lyrics always really sound like they come from the heart. He also does a neat sideline in movie reviews.
m-orchestra, Tileyard Studios, London, 10 March – Some damn fool with a laptop and a projector again.
Frugal, Tileyard Studios, London, 10 March – From this point on acts were accompanied by live animated art from Gokhan Okur which was a nice touch. Frugal plays melodic stuff that is sometimes tinged with reggae/dub rhythms and finished with his blinding version of the Doctor Who theme to keep the evening on brand for me.
Zonic, Tileyard Studios, London, 10 March – I’ve seen her before – she makes delightful electronic pop that leans into 80s/90s sounds and has a strong Erasure influence, with a really powerful voice with great range that reminded me a bit of Heather Small. Best socks of the evening.
Schoder, Tileyard Studios, London, 10 March – Opened by saying completely deadpan “Are you enjoying yourself? Well, that’s about to change because I am from Austria” which was hilarious. It wasn’t my sort of thing – I am allergic to autotune vocals – but he was incredibly charismatic between songs and the lyrics seemed to be quirky/funny so I hope to see him again some time.
Martin Christie, Tileyard Studios, London, 10 March – I feel like when I’ve seen Martin before it was much more beat poet/spoken word, but he did quite a bit of processed singing here, and to my surprise, his treated voice sounded not entirely unlike Ian Brown’s solo stuff. But in tune.
Killing Joke, Royal Albert Hall, London, 12 March – When I was playing my scratched up second-hand vinyl copies of the Killing Joke and What’s THIS For…! LPs in my teenage bedroom in the late eighties I can’t imagine it crossed my mind for a second that I would be seeing Killing Joke play them both live in full at the Royal Albert Hall nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century. Yet here we all were. I think there are plenty of guitarists who are more virtuoso, and plenty of guitarists who are more versatile, but Geordie from Killing Joke remains my favourite guitarist of all time. He just creates an absolutely unique wall of noise with such a minimal languid playing style. I could watch him play forever.
Rat Pussy, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 23 March – A portion of the “Untitled Band Project” with a fun riot grrrl explosion including Bikini Kill and Runaways covers and the incredibly titled “I know you slapped my crush in the face but I still don’t fancy you” or something like that.
Petty Phase, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 23 March – I only saw a bit of this – I must confess I was also rudely trying to watch England v Italy on my phone/laptop during both Rat Pussy and Petty Phase (who says men can’t multi-task?) – and it seemed like straight down the line female-vocal punk-pop.
Jaison Jeyaventhan, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 25 March – Heart-on-its-sleeve singer-songwriter stuff that Jaison did with his vocals over his own pre-produced tracks and then also with either solo voice and piano or solo voice and guitar. Endearingly nervous, but great voice.
Simon and the Spears, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 25 March – Power pop which I’ve seen a few times before, but this time with a new bassist who I was fascinated with his technique to work out where I am going wrong.
Vonica, Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 25 March – Very loud agressive electronic dance but mostly I took away from this that I need to be even more enthusiastic about when I hit the buttons on my gear because Vonica was just an absolute bundle of energy at the controls.