“I just want to hear something I haven’t heard before” ― John Peel.
It’s a fairly big week in music for the fine city of Norwich as the 3rd annual Sound and Vision kicks off this Thursday (11 Oct) and this year promises to be bigger than ever. In particular, and the main focus of this piece, the music element has been ramped up a notch or seven. With the blessing of his widow Sheila Ravenscroft, who is a patron of Norwich Sound and Vision, the ‘sound’ part has been rechristened the John Peel Festival of New Music and has attracted some of the very best and most exciting new acts from across the UK and beyond.
The ethos behind the festival is one the legendary DJ would have appreciated, speaking to the Eastern Daily Press one of the festival’s organisers and Director of the Norwich Arts Centre (the festival’s principle venue) Stuart Hobday explained, ”It’s not about the headliners but emerging bands and individuals.
“The festival is making a statement for new music. Nostalgia in music, particularly in live music, is all over the place with bands reforming. Each of these acts that we all liked from the past were a new band at some point trying to elbow their way in and that is what John Peel represented – getting that new music through to people.”
Making a statement for new music is right. The three nights of the festival, across ten venues in the city, promise to be a buzz with excitement and activity as music lovers take in show after show after show from some of the brightest new artists. Our wristbands have been bought and paid for, the excitement level is ramping up somewhat and Thursday cannot come soon enough. At the last count, 75 acts were due to play the festival (though that number is still going up daily), including some of Norwich’s finest bands and solo artists, and we will most likely be running like lunatics through the streets to see as many of them as possible.
Here’s our quick preview on what we will be looking out for on each of the three days. Feel free to come along and say hello, we’ll even let you buy us beer.
The honour of effectively opening the festival (well, they are the first band to play according to the latest timetable we have seen) fittingly goes to a Norwich band. King Laconic will get us underway at The Bicycle Shop at 18:00 and the music comes thick and fast thereafter.
The undoubted big draw of the evening is likely to be the amazing electro dance of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (Open, time TBC) who has promised this will be his last tour of this type. Whether that means no more headdresses in the future, we don’t know, but from the snapshots he has posted online so far, it promises to be something special.
The Waterfront has an eclectic night lined up, featuring the very radio-friendly rock sounds of both The Summer Set(20:55) and Mayday Parade (21:50) on the main stage, while the Studio will be treated to the chilled out electro sounds of Dam Mantle (23:00) and Errors (00:00) until the small hours.
Where we’ll be:
Things could get messy for us almost immediately as, following a likely dash between King Laconic (The Bicycle Shop, 18:00) and Kamilla Lovett (St. Lawrence’s Church, 18:30) will be another flurry of legs as we try to take in both Parakeet (Artrocker at the Hog In Armour, 20:00) and Virals (Norwich Arts Centre, 20:30). After that we will bimble up the road in readiness for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (Open, TBC), followed, possibly, by a late trip for Errors (Waterfront Studio, 00:00).
The biggest attraction for Friday could well come from one of the smaller venues as the Artrocker stage at the Hog In Armour pub plays host to both Paws (21:00) and Palma Violets (22:00), the latter fresh off the cover of NME and generating much excitement. Elsewhere, The Bicycle Shop will provide a showcase of some of Norwich’s finest songwriters with Milly Hirst (19:00) and Heart Of A Dog (20:00) playing. While the Arts Centre has an eclectic line-up starting with the dark and foreboding synth infused sounds of Vuvuvultures (20:00) and culminating with the crisp soulful voice of Cold Specks (22:25).
Where we’ll be:
Another early start for us to see Jessica Alice and Milly Hirst (The Bicycle Shop, 18:00 and 19:00 respectively) before hotfooting it over for Vuvuvultures (Norwich Arts Centre, 20:00) who we are very excited to be seeing. From then we hope to bounce back and forth from Paws (Artrocker at the Hog In Armour, 21:00) to Hey Sholay (Open, 21:30), back to Palma Violets (Artrocker at the Hog In Armour, 22:00) and then back again for Deaf Club (Open, 22:15). Though we fully expect those plans to unravel fairly quickly.
The last day of the festival will be here all too soon (we are trying not to think about it too much, it’s upsetting) and seeing us off into the night will be the ambient electronic sounds of The Soft (Waterfront Studio, 01:00). Before that there is a truckload for everyone to get their ears around with loads of great acts performing. The Arts Centre will be hosting one of the bands of the moment right now, Tall Ships (21:20) as well as the always wonderful Liars (22:10) and, in the bar, the fantastic Dad Rocks! (23:00). Local electronica guru Luke Abbott will close the festivities at Open (23:00) and he is proceeded by what could be the standout performance of the whole festival from Public Service Broadcasting (22:00).
Where we’ll be:
A bit of a no-brainer this one really. Regular readers will already know how much we love Public Service Broadcasting (Open, 22:00) so expect to find us wearing a huge grin while they perform. Beforehand we’ll be pootling around some of the venues we haven’t yet got to, possibly down to see The Neutrinos (The Undercroft, 19:00) and The Little Unsaid (St Lawrence’s Church, 20:30). Then it will be on to Tall Ships (Norwich Arts Centre, 21:20), and Dad Rocks! (Norwich Arts Centre Bar, 23:00) before either home to bed, or on to Lost Levels and The Soft (both The Waterfront Studio, 00:00 and 01:00 respectively).
Sunday will be for sleeping and resting before (hopefully) bringing you all lots of wonderful festival related content in the next few weeks and getting ready for next year.
For more information on the John Peel Festival of New Music, a full list of performer and programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.