Music > Live Reviews

Deaf School @ the Waterfront Studio

by David Auckland


Deaf School @ the Waterfront Studio

It is Sunday evening in Norwich, and whilst thousands are getting on down to the urban sounds of Tinie Tempah at the Agricultural Showground (a delicious irony), a dedicated, if compact crowd of older-somethings are gathered in the relative comfort of the Waterfront Studio for the long overdue return to Norwich of Deaf School, a band that forty years ago came so close to making the leap from art-rock darlings to household name. Only an unfortunate delay in the release of their debut album, and an untimely tirade of expletives on live television from a certain Johnny Rotten conspired to change the course of musical history.

In a strange week, which saw other classic acts such as Scratch Perverts and Jungle Brothers performing in Norwich to possibly smaller than expected audiences, Deaf School use the opportunity to deliver an 'intimate audience with...' set that includes the majority of their debut album 2nd Honeymoon as well as selected highlights from the rest of the back catalogue. The years may have rolled on since 1976, but the stage presence, the stop-start songs, and the jerky dance moves remain, and stand the testament of time. The majority of the audience still remember all the words, and we are singing along.

Ultimately, there was only ever one way to conclude such an evening, and we are inevitably led  towards an 'encore' from the band that went on to influence the likes of Ian Dury, Madness and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. What a Way to End it All, as well as its appropriateness, still remains one of those great songs from the Seventies that never achieved the massive recognition that it so richly deserved. For those present at The Waterfront, lead vocalists Bette Bright and Enrico Cadillac Jr. have managed to turn back time, and forty years later again leave us wanting more.

9/10 (but then I was, unapologetically, a big fan)