Music > Live Reviews

Odd Box presents Lake Combover and more..

Norwich Arts Centre

by David


Odd Box presents Lake Combover and more..


Local promoter Georgie Cox has developed an enviable reputation over the last two years for her Odd Box Norwich events, firstly at The Blueberry in Cowgate and latterly at The Murderers in Timber Hill. She seems to have a knack of putting together line-ups that combine established room-fillers with exciting debuting or emerging acts. Her finger-on-the-pulse access to the city's music scene ensures that every night is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Tonight, at Norwich Arts Centre, she ratcheted things up a notch or three with a spectacular five-act event which totally justified the modest advance ticket price. So much so that I decided to take a bullet for the cause, forego most of Outline's post-Christmas party at The Rumsey Wells, and take myself along so as not to miss a thing.

The main stage opened with the exciting and delightful Violet Kicks. Bringing a psych and retro-pop vibe to the table, this four-piece band bring together Jessie on vocals, Matt on guitar, Melissa on keyboards and Conor on drums. It is only their third gig, but already they seem to know instinctively how to bring out the best in each other. Jessie has amazing stage confidence, and a great line in arm theatre. She is equally at home in front of a microphone, or singing whilst crouched sitting on the stage. Vocally she reminds of Siouxsie, Lene Lovich and, dare I say it, Brett Anderson. In fact, Matt's guitar work adds a very Suede-like feel to some of the numbers, and Senses Distorted oddly enough features prominent vocal references to Electricity. More, more, more!

Back in the newly-named Adnams Mission Hall Bar (so much more 'artisanal and craft' than simply the Café-Bar) Jay Ducker (formerly of Suffolk pastoral act Cove Hithe) woos us with tracks from his recently-released Country Sober album, as well as a gentle cover of Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark. The beautifully introspective New To Me is probably my favourite number of the whole evening. Cove Hithe may be sadly missed, but if Jay can continue to write songs like these he can stay in Norwich as long as he likes.

I first saw and heard Leaone back in March of last year when he opened for Emmy the Great here at Norwich Arts Centre. I immediately fell hook, line and sinker in love with his deep and rich voice, echoes of Scott Walker, Yves Duteil and even Johnny Cash. Young Green Eyes and Goldtooth reveal a highly stylised homage to 1970's Paris, Monte Carlo and playboy Grand Prix drivers à la James Hunt. Tonight a three piece band lend excellent support and faithfully reproduce the recorded sound, and once a minor problem with Leaone's earpiece is sorted we are treated to a spellbinding set. I am eagerly awaiting his first EP release.

A few years ago Joy Torette (aka Kellie 'The Eagle' Siddall) was a familiar and regular face on the Norwich music scene, although I had not seen her perform live since being at a wonderful Sargasso Trio gig at Take 5 back in 2012. Tonight, in the bar, she sings over a mixture of samples, trip-hop beats and vocal loops, delivering intelligent and sometimes melancholic vocals to atmospheric effect. The simplicity is at times beguiling, whilst at others the tempo builds to invite an almost tropical vibe. Welcome back.

Our final act is the eagerly-anticipated public debut of Jason Baldock's new project Lake Combover. Born out of the ashes of local favourites Rope Store, and featuring Jack Ted, Conor Etteridge and Matt Osborne, this is probably Jason's loudest and fullest manifestation of his distinctive wall-of-sound style, taking us back in some ways to the days of The Secret Hairdresser, his early band from Bury St Edmunds. A couple of tracks have already been released as singles, so the familiarity of Eleven Things and the enigmatic I Know Where You Are (But I Don't Know Where You've Gone) provide the backbone to tonight's set. The quirky instrumental tongue-in-cheek tribute to Justin Bieber was probably a little self-indulgent for my taste, but overall it was a welcome return of  Mr Jason to the live arena, climaxing with some exhuberant drumming and guitar work on the closing number, Taurus.

So, big ups and thanks to Georgie, Odd Box and all five acts tonight. For the advance ticket price of a mere five squid this had to be one of the best value nights out in Norwich for ages. Now to get myself back to that Outline party and cash in my free drinks voucher.

Live ReviewNorwich Arts CenteJay DuckerViolet KicksOdd BoxLeaoneLake Combover