Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Blood Red Shoes/Wet Nuns - Norwich Arts Centre

The current inclement weather conditions prevented a third of Owl members from arriving at their work place today (they didn't try too hard, admittedly), so it comes as some surprise, as we arrive at the Arts Centre, to find not only both acts present and correct, but also a more than decent-sized crowd in attendance for Blood Red Shoes' pre-big-London-gig-warm-up show.  BRS, it turns out, are pretty big in East Anglia...

And an hour into their very polished, neat and tidy set, it's very difficult to see why.  They certainly put a shift in on the venue's tiny stage, and indeed prompt a couple of mini stage invasions as the show nears its climax.  But as the gig drags on, it becomes difficult to in any way fall for the songs of a band who seem to have listened to the Long Blondes a little too much when seeking inspiration.  And if you listen to that band's only album of a few years back at any time soon, you'll realise that it hasn't aged very well.  This is identikit indie of the most mediocre kind, and we're not having it.  The kids, predictably, lap it up.

So, pausing only briefly to bemoan the Arts Centre's new policy of making us pay to use their coat hangers (boo! Shame on you!), we'll turn our attention to tonight's support act.  Wet Nuns have been causing quite a stir in certain circles of late (Radio 1's indie correspondent Huw Stephens is a fan, as is Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, although a bit of Sheffield bias may be at play there), and the brand of death-blues the pair are purveying seem destined to take them to grander stages than this one.  While a duo playing any form of the blues puts one in mind of current stadium botherers the Black Keys, in truth tonight's sound is nowhere near as shiny as that being touted by the Ohio chart -toppers, with shades of Mudhoney, Black Sabbath and early Nirvana leaping out from a set of songs that are never less than diverting, and often genuinely thrilling.

And crucially, throughout the gig, Wet Nuns look as if they are having so much fun.  They laugh at each other's random between-song jokes about the snow, they roll around on the floor, they climb all over their kit, for seemingly no other reason than that it is there to be climbed on and, from beginning to riff-strewn end, they undoubtedly display a level of shambolism that would make messrs Malkmus and Dando incredibly proud.  But with songs like these, they must know that this is a formula that is winning.  This is quite a gig.  You will be hearing this band a lot in 2013.  Shit name though.


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