Sunday, 26 April 2015

Nelson Expects 'Addison's Uncle' to Do Their Duty





It is always a pleasure to wander around Norwich Cathedral, and as the Spring brings the bulbs into bloom and the trees into blossom, the grounds positively bask in the April sunshine. Nelson looks down (with his good eye) and is surely very proud of this, his county, and Norwich, our Fine City.

And there is such a lot of which to be proud, not least our thriving and vibrant music scene. One of the most popular of our local acts is fronted by a songwriter that made Norfolk his home after spending childhood holidays here with his family. Philip Pearson now fronts 'Addison's Uncle', a stampy English folk band that has gradually grown in line-up, and acquired a loyal following along the way. Their debut album, 'I'd Like to Tell a Story' was released earlier this year.

On Thursday the Cathedral Refectory, a part of the 21st century redevelopment of the site of the original Benedictine Hostry, played host to 'Addison's Uncle', whilst Lord Nelson remained outside, surveying the scene from the adjacent lawns.

Whilst the band are more usually to be found playing in venues such as the Norwich Arts Centre, or appearing in pubs and festivals where their energetic brand of folk music can be appreciated and enjoyed with full abandon, the Cathedral provided a more refined setting for an extended showcase of songs. This included favourites from the album, plus a selection of covers (songs by The Waterboys and Charlie Daniels and Jack Johnson were slipped into the setlist). There were also new songs, including California Nightmare, which is not a gothic parody of  the Mamas and Papas' 'California Dreaming', but instead a lament to the loss of homes through tidal erosion of Norfolk's coastline.

The sold-out evening was enthusiastically received by the well-behaved audience at the Refectory tables. Perhaps as a setting for a folk gig this would be viewed by some as slightly left-field, although credit is due to the organisers for seeking ways to broaden the appeal of the their evening Refectory concerts. The acoustics of the room are superb, and certainly not marred by the business of the catering staff, who admirably keep working noise levels to an absolute minimum - something some other venues could certainly learn from.

So whilst decorum was maintained, and the majority remained in their seats, even during 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia', and the inevitably rumbustious rendition of 'B1159', a few familiar faces threw caution to the wind and danced a jig between the tables. As Nelson himself would have put it, Addison's Uncle would have expected them to do their duty.