Tag Archives: Norwich Sound & Vision

Don’t you wonder sometimes? Norwich Sound and Vision Festival review

15 Oct

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It’s been a couple of days now and frankly we are still buzzing. This year’s Norwich Sound and Vision festival ended on a rather ridiculous high for the Alphabet Bands crew as we put on a ”stellar line up” (as described to us by 6Music’s Tom Robinson) that featured fantastic performances from Curxes, Strangers and Waylayers. We’ll talk about that some more later, but there was more to our festival experience than just our own showcase, so, to borrow a review style from our good friends at Breaking More Waves, here are four things we learnt at this year’s festival.

Conferencing isn’t just for the industry.
The conference side is a big part of Sound and Vision, bigger actually this year than ever before with new sectors covered across a number of venues. For the first time ever some of the panels were also live-streamed online thanks to taking part in a former Anglia TV studio to help reach an even wider audience. But that doesn’t mean they were just for people in the industry, far from it. The music panels alone contained lots of useful information for up and coming bands, like what not to put in your music videos (swimming pools and boat-lounging are particular no-no’s apparently), how to and how not to approach interviews, how to get radio play and many others. There was also a rather inspirational talk by Jamal Edwards, who is so subtly charismatic that it’s almost no wonder he is so successful, and panels for budding comedy writers, Dr. Who enthusiasts, game and interactive software developers, workshops for young musicians etc etc. The list goes on and all were enjoyed and appreciated by those in attendance, very few of whom were industry representatives.

There are unexpected gems to be found everywhere.
They didn’t even have to be playing as was the case with one of our favourite new discoveries of the festival, Treasureseason. One half of this Norwich based chilled-out-dreampop duo had volunteered to help out this year and was assigned to assist at our showcase and 24hours later, we had bought and downloaded their latest EP. We’ll be featuring more from them in the coming weeks, have no doubt about that.


You could also find some exceptional music being performed in a quiet corner somewhere, and we’re pleased to say we did at the very first show we saw. Even though we had heard Abi Wade’s music, nothing quite prepared us for the show that was to come as she sat, resplendent in her silver/grey jumpsuit/onesie and captivated the entire audience. Plucking, strumming and bowing her cello wasn’t enough as she simultaneously played two more percussive elements with her feet, sang and tapped out multi-tonal beats on the cello shell (the shello?), all at the same time. A bit like a one-man-band but without the shambolic connotations and just brilliant instead. She wasn’t even fazed when a connection failed mid-song, she just did a quick straw poll of the audience (all while still playing) and carried on with a democratically chosen acoustic version. Her songs were bloody good too, beautiful and soothing but also full of drama and emotion when they needed to be. After seeing a set of such varied and impressive musical-multi-tasking we had to ask her one vital question and we can confirm that yes, Abi can pat her head and rub her tummy at the same time.


People still want to rock out.
Once again this year, perhaps more so than in the recent past, there have been claims that the oft heralded return of guitar music is in full swing and cannot be denied. However, there can be no question that in reality it has been pop, synths and electronics that have once again dominated in 2013 and that the guitars haven’t quite broken back through. Despite this, people quite clearly still want to rock out to some rawkus guitars, big riffs and thunderous drums, as was evidenced by Drenge and Pins being the sweatiest (from the crowd) shows we saw. Special mention must go to the Pins ladies who were sipping red wine in between driving the audience crazy with their energy laden tunes. Class and quality, a heady combination.

Festivals are better when you have your own show.
NSV Poster 4We mentioned it before but understandably, the Alphabet Bands showcase was the highlight of our entire festival featuring, as it did, three bands we really, really wanted to see play live. Taking place at Olives, which was all low ceiling and lower lighting, the trio of Curxes, Strangers and Waylayers nearly blew the windows out with performances of energy and excitement that had the crowd on their feet and more than one audience member’s jaw on the floor in amazement.

Curxes especially were astounding, showcasing some new material (one loud, one soft, both fantastic) amongst older favourites (“Haunted Gold” has been stuck in our head ever since) as Roberta came out onto the floor to dance and sing, Macaulay rocked out on guitar and Strangers’ Raife (on double-duty) brought the electro-beats with panache.

Strangers brought the boogie as their infectious-you-like-darkness–infused electro-pop caused many a reveller to push to the front for a dance while the crowd-singing along to “Safe/Pain” was a goosbumps moment. Like Roberta, David came out to the floor to sing, literally bringing the songs to the crowd who lapped it up and called out for more as all too quickly the boys with the Timberlake-meets-The-Cure sound finished their set. Time flies when you’re having fun.

It went quickly for the Waylayers crew as well as they filled the room with their vast, atmospheric synths sounds. Hearing tunes that are so clearly suited for giant fields with huge crowds all singing them back in such a tight space made the night feel even more special. It’s little wonder they are beginning to make an impact in the States and is surely only a matter of time before chart recognition comes from these shores as well. As they drew their set, and the evening, to a close with the magnificent “Magnets” (which we enjoyed a sing-a-long to ourselves) the crowd left satisfied and excited, which is exactly how we felt but with added pride chuffed-ness.


We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the night happen. Adrian, Jenny and Rosie from NS&V, Ian and Access to Music, Matt, Chris and Luke for the kit and the sound, Andie from Sessions Productions for promotion and all round assistance, Geoff at Olives for the best rum and coke we had all weekend and Treasureseason’s Dave for working the door. Oh, and Mr. Tom Robinson of course, for putting a rather wonderful cherry on top of a very special cake.

See you next year.

Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 3 – Gig Preview

12 Oct

So here we are, the final day of what has already been an amazing festival of new music across our Fine City. This year’s Norwich Sound and Vision Festival has already surpassed itself and honestly, the best is yet to come as tonight’s gig bill is stacked. Deciding where to go and who to see won’t be easy tonight as there is so much going on, hopefully our final gig preview will make things a little easier.

NSV13 Saturday Alphabet Bands

Day 3 – Saturday
The last day of the festival is quite frankly an absolute doozy with blog favourites and white-hot acts everywhere you look. Not least at our own Alphabet Bands Showcase at Olives where Curxes (19:45), Strangers (20:30) and Waylayers (21:20) will be bringing the electro-heavy, synthy goodness for everyone to fall in love with. Non-festival attendees can come join in the fantasticness for a mere £3 on the door by the way, that’s £1 per band which is just an unbeatable bargain really. Just saying.

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If we weren’t at Olives on Saturday we would be spoilt for choice for what else to attend and would quite probably spontaneously combust while trying to work out where to go. Ok, so strictly speaking that isn’t true as we would most likely be at Open for most of the night as The Line of Best Fit and ASL Records have combined to put on the second best bill of the entire festival (after our own of course). Fabienne (20:00) will get things started before Crushed Beaks (20:45), the wonderful and enchanting Pawws (21:30) and the brilliant (and going to be big next year, mark our words) Sivu (22:15) ramp things up still further. If that wasn’t enough, Clare Maguire (23:00) will be playing her first gig in two years as well. Pretty great line-up isn’t it?

That’s not all though, down at the Waterfront the super exciting AlunaGeorge will be playing with support from one of our favourite live acts this year, (times tbc). We saw MØ play at The Great Escape earlier this year and were taken aback by the quality of her live show, we highly recommend it (but only if you’re not coming to our showcase, obviously).

Saturday night at The Birdcage sees the turn of Norwich’s own Gravy Records as curators and they will be hosting our new favourite local band, Mega Emotion (19:30) as well as Shrines (20:15), Bad Grammar (21:00), the currently-gathering-lots-of-attention Jake Hart (21:45) and Sisters (22:30).

Over at the Arts Centre, the spiritual drawing of the festival curtain will occur when Foxes (23:00) finishes her headline set having been preceded by Big Deal (22:00) and the former Kabeedies, Keep Up (21:00). In the bar, those infectious music lovers from The Rider podcast are playing host to plethora of great acts including Baltic Fleet and Tom Robinson, yes, that Tom Robinson.

We say spiritual curtain by the way because the music doesn’t actually stop there and over at Epic a night of DJ magnificence will be topped off by the fantastic DJ Cheeba whom we have seen before and who was just amazing. If you have any energy left at this point, it’s worth heading over to catch his set.

Where we’ll be:
A total no-brainer this one as we will obviously be at Olives hosting the best three-act bill of the festival with Curxes< Strangers and Waylayers. We hope you can come and join us for what promises to be a superb evening during which, incidentally, Waylayers will be debuting a brand new song, “242”. Come along and be the first to hear it.

After that, if there is time, we will try and catch some of Foxes at the Arts Centre, and while we like to think we would have the stamina to make it to Epic for DJ Cheeba, we will concede that it might not happen.

Tracks of the Day









Sunday will be for sleeping and resting.

For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.

Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 2 – Gig Preview

11 Oct

So, after a cracking (and tiring) night out all over the town, we’re ready to do it all again as Norwich Sound and Vision Festival hits day two. Thursday was great, but Friday looks like it could top it. Let’s see what’s on the stocks for this evening in our day 2 gig preview.

NSV13 Friday

Day 2 – Friday
Undoubtedly the biggest attraction for Friday is likely to be the appearance of two brothers at the Arts Centre. Fresh from their recent appearance on Later… Drenge (23:00) headline the Infectious Music stage with support from Superfood (22:10), Radkey (21:20) and Dems (20:30). As if that wasn’t enough, there will also be a DJ set from Alt J (00:00 – 02:00). Unsurprisingly all pre-sale tickets have been sold and there will be limited space for festival wristband holders. Get there early people.

Elsewhere the Hog and Armour will be rocked to its foundations by Islet (21:40) with a possible late show from the indomitable God Damn. For an altogether more relaxed and mellifluous evening of fine tunage, look no further than the Bicycle Shop where Alphabet Bands’ favourite Lisa Redford (who we first met at last year’s festival incidentally) will be headlining (22:00).

Open will be having a late night groove to some soulful R’n’B and Hip Hop sounds for the Tru Thoughts Showcase and The Plugg Presents…. Topping the bill there is the fantastic (and previous Mercury prize nominee), Ty (23:30). Also performing will be Rodney P (22:45) and Harleighblu (22:00) amongst others.

Tilting Sky are taking over The Birdcage for the evening and will feature Alto45 (22:00), Damien Flynn (20:45) and Meadowlark (21:30) amongst their number. Meanwhile a special one-off showcase at The Assembly Rooms will include the beautiful sounds of Wooden Arms (19:30) and a full band performance from Halls (21:30), and over at Olives, the Monotrome records showcase hosts Niagara, M+A and the very good indeed Midas Fall (times tbc).

Down at The Waterfront, the main room has Nina Nesbitt (time tbc) to look forward to, and the studio will be home to San Cisco (21:00), F.U.R.S (20:00) and Bloody Knees (19:15).

Finally (for this preview, there is still more going on elsewhere), Raevennan Husbandes and Ollie Rudge will be playing acoustic sets at Cinema City.

Where we’ll be:
As tempting as it is to just plonk down at the Arts Centre for the duration we’re gonna take a risk and head out across the city once again. While logistics will be a nightmare, we will try and make it to some if not all of Wooden Arms and Halls at The Assembly Rooms, Alto45 at The Birdcage, Superfood and Drenge at The Arts Centre and Ty at Open. How successful/feasible that plan is remains to be seen.

Tracks of the Day






For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.

Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 1 – Gig Preview

10 Oct

It’s a chilly Thursday morning in October here in Norwich and we are as excited as a child at Christmas. Why? Because it is the first day of our favourite holiday, the three day Norwich Sound and Vision Festival. As promised yesterday, here is the first of our daily gig previews. We’ll see you there.

NSV13 Thursday

Day 1 – Thursday
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, though this year is a little bit different. The Neutrinos kick things off with one of eight scheduled performances over the festival, all taking place in their house. Because why not right? Obviously attendance at these shows must be booked in advance.

Over in more traditional venues the quality is there from the start with likes of Box Of Light (with whom we shall forever be intrinsically linked) headlining the Access To Music stage at Olives, ably supported by Eyes In Istanbull who feature the outstanding Ollie Rudge in their number (times tbc). There is also the fantastically named Let’s Eat Grandma on the Young People’s Stage over at The Garage. We’ve never heard of them but are sorely tempted based on their name alone.

Over at The Birdcage rising stars Abi Wade (20:45) and George Ezra (21:30) – a man our good friends at Breaking More Waves have been getting a bit googly over (though they do have a worrying fascination with his lips – precede the highly anticipated Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (22:00).

Our good friends at Open are getting a little bit Oh-la-la for the evening as they host the French Export Showcase with the likes of Mesparrow (19:30), Brns (20:30) and We Were Evergreen (22:30) bringing a bit of European flair to proceedings.

The wonderful guys and gals of Artrocker have returned to the festival once again and once again have taken over the Hog and Armour for the duration. Thursday night sees them start as they mean to go on with local favourites There’s Someone In The Pond (20:00), the superb and much loved (as well as being critical darlings) Pins (21:40) and then the bonkersly brilliant Comanechi.

Finally for Thursday, the festival’s home, the Norwich Arts Centre, will be playing host to two exciting showcases. In the bar Norwich’s finest, Wombat Wombat, will be hosting some storming up and coming acts including The Mondegreens (21:00) and DOE (21:50) before closing with another of our favourites (and technically speaking, the first band we ever put on ourselves), Horse Party (23:00). Meanwhile, in the main room PRS will host No Ceremony (21:15) and Ghostpoet (22:00). Get down early for that one we reckon.

Where we’ll be:
With even more venues being used this year, we expect a number of people may well be tempted to bed down in one location and stay for the evening, especially when the headliner will be one the de-facto big names of the festival. Not us of course, with so much fantastic new music on the go, we will be hotfooting it from one venue to another, hoping to see as much as possible (but probably missing quite a lot too).

So, our first entirely unachievable plan will see us variously at Olives for Eyes in Istanbull and The Birdcage for Abi Wade and George Ezra. Though, no offence George, we’ll be leaving sharpish to catch some, if not all, of the Pins set at the Hog and Armour before heading to the Arts Centre for No Ceremony, Ghostpoet and Horse Party.

Tracks of the Day






For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.

Things to see and hear: Norwich Sound & Vision 2013 Preview

9 Oct

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No not Christmas, we’re talking about those three magical days in October when our fine city of Norwich is inundated with amazing bands and musicians for the annual Norwich Sound and Vision Festival. Last year we gave you all a little preview of the festival, highlighting some of the amazing acts that played and we thought, you know what, let’s do it again.

Before we get to that, here’s some official festival blurb from the people that write those kinds of things;

“NS&V works with inner-city venues, filling the days with thought-provoking conferences and cramming the nights with all your favourite bands (but you just don’t know them yet). NS&V is a place for companies, individuals, bands/musicians, record labels, filmmakers, gamemakers, writers – anyone with an interest in the music, film and multimedia industries – to network, reach new markets, forge new partnerships, learn, be inspired and have a great time in one of England’s most charming cities.

There is quite literally loads going on in the city over the next three days, we are going to focus on the gig side (which, like the festival as whole, is bigger and better than ever) but we urge you all to check out norwichsoundandvision.co.uk for full conference details, including details of a panel on copyright in music, how not to do an interview (we’ll be there to find out where we’ve been going wrong all these years), how not to make a music video and a panel on the relationship between music and football, which sounds like a must attend event to us.

Each day of the festival we will bring you a preview of the gigs that are happening that evening, what we recommend and what we are going to see. Or try to see we should say, as it is entirely likely that our plans will change as we run venue to venue like some haphazard, younger and (hopefully) cooler (and less chased by stocking-ed nurses) Benny Hill…

Or something…

From Benny Hill we become Frankie Howard as we give a little prologue (older readers should get that joke we hope) of all the gig going by stating that this looks to be the biggest and best NSV so far. There are more venues, more artists, more panels and yes, probably more running.

We’ll go into more detail each day but for now we will say that we fully intend to be seen at
The Birdcage for Abi Wade, George Ezra and Alto45; The Arts Centre for Superfood, Drenge, No Ceremony, Ghostpoet and Horse Party; the Hog and Armour for Pins and at Open for Ty.

On Saturday night of course, we are curating our own stage. Yes, you did read that right. We have our own stage at this year’s Sound and Vision and it’s an absolute cracker. At Olives (on Elm Hill for those of you who know the city) we will be hosting Curxes, Strangers and Waylayers for an austerity respecting £3 entrance fee (payable on the door) or totally free for NSV wristband wearers.

We are back each day to provide more detail as to what is happening, plus music and tracks to get you all excited. Think of it as gig foreplay. So check back tomorrow for Thursday’s preview, in the meantime you can check out more information on the Norwich Sound and Vision website.