Gaffa Tape Sandy + support @ Norwich Arts Centre 10th August 2018

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Kulk – no compromise, uncontrolled angular energy

No messing, straight on, no chat, plug in and play. Very punk, you like us or you don’t….

You don’t go to see Kulk you experience Kulk. A visceral onslaught of noise and movement, all uncontrolled angular jerky energy laid out there for you to absorb or reject. Thoms wall of guitar sound propelled by Jade’s pounding attacking rhythmic drumming produces something so raw and fresh, they are a highlight of any evening.

The Norwich Arts Centre gave a rare opportunity to see the band on a larger stage than normal. One where Thom was able to give full reign to the inner demon and occupy the whole stage and at times the uncontrolled airspace above it. In smaller clubs and pubs the experience is similar to seeing a tiger in a cage, restrained and contained; unable to fully express the essence of their being.

This is raw energy that needs to be experienced more than once and I look forward to seeing them more often, on bigger platforms, further up the bill.

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Marigolds – sounds of summer

Local band Marigolds presented up their dreamy indie guitar sounds of summer, playing crowd favourites Surf Girl and their 2018 release, Slept Out. Their fresh sound and uplifting vocals a marked contrast to openers Kulk. Apart from some tuning difficulties they delivered a promising set of fresh introspective tales on young modern life, climaxing with their new drummer leaping out of his seat and end the set with a crescendo of smashing cymbals, leaving everyone nicely set up for headliners Gaffer Tape Sandy.

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Gaffa Tape Sandy – Pure thunder

It is hard to believe that a) GTS were nervous ahead of this gig and b) for a well-travelled band this was their first foray to Norwich as the headline band.

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Nerves aside, they launched into their set with energy and verve, guitarist Kim cavorting around the stage, rolling, twisting, stretching and lunging his way through the numbers. Alternately swapping vocal lead with bassist Catherine, this energetic trio served up a menu of memorable tunes from their new single Meathead, the oh so heavy Transylvania, Manager and Collarbones from 2017 EP Spring Killing, to a new work in progress currently titled So Dry. This was a top-level performance with their experience of playing to larger audiences on big occasions evident in their presence and delivery of each song. These are utterly infectious, laden with beautiful melodies surrounded with guitar smashing thrashing riffs and pounding drum passages that you just don’t want to end.

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Audience participation is always high at a GTS gig, and this was no exception with the mosh pit in full swing. For the loyal fans who travelled up from Suffolk to see them the loudest roars were saved for the anthemic Beehive and after much deliberation and teasing GTS launched into what is their signature tune to close out a perfect evening.

To paraphrase NME, this was 60 minutes of pure thunder and they just may have won some new fans up Norwich way.

A final mention goes out to the Norwich Arts Centre techies who put on an imaginative light show adding to the spectacle for each and every band not just the headliner; a good sound mix and they kept the smoke machine to a minimum, just enough for atmosphere (and the occasional drummer disappearance).

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LIVE REVIEW: Tom Walker + The Beach live at Norwich Arts Centre

Singer-songwriter Tom Walker, with support from The Beach, blew the roof off of Norwich Arts Centre last night at a sold out show.

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© Danielle Booden

The night began promptly with a supporting set from The Beach. A decent amount of people had arrived in time to catch his set, which is always nice for the support act that already has the tough job of warming up the crowd.

He performed a variety of his original tracks, which on occasion echoed that of Ben Howard, especially in his recently released single ‘Toxic Love’ – which he performed with such effortless grace.

His stage presence seemed natural, and his conversation with the audience came with ease, often managing to get the audience laughing.

The set was completed with popular single ‘Thieves’ which had the crowd cheering and clapping along as the track picked up pace. As it drew to a close, he was met with substantial applause which he absolutely deserved.

Having heard a few of The Beach’s tracks previously, it was fantastic to see that the artist behind the name is equally as talented live. Personality is equally as important, and it’s fair to say that through a combination of his music and stage presence that he’s an extremely likeable and relatable musician which will undoubtedly see him go far.

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© Danielle Booden

After a short break between sets, it was time for Tom Walker to take to the stage. It wasn’t long before the interval music and lights dipped and the band took to the stage starting up before Tom himself walked out met by cheers from his eager fans.

The set was opened with ‘Be Myself’. We were thrown straight into his performance as this punchy, guitar driven song pounded out of the speakers. Tom was on immediate form, despite having suffered from food poisoning the night prior, bopping from side to side and belting out the lyrics to this song.

This fed seamlessly into ‘Heartland’, an equally irresistible track that you just couldn’t help but dance to. With the support of another guitarist, a keyboardist and a drummer, it was impressive how easily they packed such a huge sound into such a small and atmospheric venue.

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© Danielle Booden

Throughout the rest of the night we were treated to more of Tom’s singles, such as ‘Blessings’, ‘Sun Goes Down and ‘Play Dead’ whilst also being treated to some new songs like ‘Cry Out’ and ‘Dominoes’.

The set was expertly put together; transitioning from the upbeat tracks into some more laid back and relaxed songs. His raspy vocals pulled off every song with ease, only improving on the studio versions of his songs, bringing to the table something special that just can’t be found through listening to his music online.

Throughout the gig, he seemed completely blown away by the fact that it was sold out, thanking the crowd throughout, stating how even food poisoning wouldn’t stop him from playing the show.

Tom is a really humble musician, which only makes him more likeable to his fans. Seeing his face light up every time fans applauded and shouted praise just made it that much more special.

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© Danielle Booden

If you’re in doubt about whether Tom Walker is going to make it, which if you’ve seen him live or heard his music you shouldn’t be, then you just need to take a look at the fans in the audience. They sang back all the lyrics to his songs adoringly, even lighting up their phones for his encore song ‘Angels’.

Despite not having the largest back catalogue of music, his repertoire is packed full of songs that are well composed, thought provoking and either catchy and upbeat or super relaxed and laid back.

If you haven’t seen or heard of Tom Walker yet, then you should take a few minutes out of your day to give his music a listen, or even go down to one of his shows. Already having been spotted by the likes of BBC Radio 1, it’s only a matter of time before he’s performing on much larger stages.

Review by Danielle Booden.

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© Danielle Booden