It's exactly one week on from Good Friday, the chocolate has been eaten, the hot cross buns have been buttered and digested, and spring is well and truly in the air. There is a palpable buzz in the air following the ticket allocation for the forthcoming BBC Radio One Big Weekend in Earlham Park (soured slightly by the news that the family run café on the park has been instructed by Norwich City Council to close over the two day event - no doubt making way for the £3.50 cup of coffee from one of the 'approved' mobile traders), and the top topical question round these parts is 'Did you manage to get tickets for Swifty?'
Meanwhile, back in the real world, and those who really know their way round a Soundcloud page are gathered at Norwich Arts Centre for another evening laid on by the lovely Gravy peeps. Five acts for a fiver, three on the main stage and two in the Café/Bar - you wouldn't get a better deal at Poundland. Headlining tonight were London based trio 'Trash Kit', but before that there's Rory Hill and 'Woodland Creatures' in the bar, and 'Rad Frü' followed by 'Girl in a Thunderbolt' in the Auditorium.
It's 'Rad Frü' that kick things off with a decibel-bursting set of blues-infused numbers, the by-now familiar combination of guitar and drums giving an alternative twist on the 'Royal Blood' / 'Drenge' / 'Blood Red Shoes' formula. There are moments of Zeppelin in their delivery, and echoes of Robert Plant's vocal style to boot.
Rory Hill does his thing in the bar whilst the stage is cleared. Lots of us still remember Rory from 'The Kabeedies'. He still has his own band 'Keep Up', but tonight it's an acoustic solo set that helps to calm things back down after the energy of the previous band.
Maria Uzor is battling the worst cough I have heard in a long time, but still puts in a gallant set as singer-songwriter 'Girl in a Thunderbolt', performing tonight with a full band to give depth and a new dimension to the songs from her recent EP 'Own Your Bones'. With nothing stronger than a glass of water on stage to lubricate the throat, the voice holds out for us to savour tracks like 'Turn It Back' and 'Sayonara My Love'.
'Girl in a Thunderbolt'
Back into the bar for a bluegrass tinged set from local duo 'Woodland Creatures' - Christina and Lizzy on guitar and banjo, and lovely harmonised vocals. I saw these two at Bedford's Crypt during the Oxjam weekend organised by Robbie Powell and team last October, and they again cast their spell over a rapt audience during the interlude between the noisier things next door.
And so finally to the headliners tonight - 'Trash Kit', the post-punk trio from London town comprising Rachel Aggs (from 'Shopping') on guitar, Ros Murray ('Electrelane') on bass, and Rachel Horwood on drums. The debut album was unleashed four years ago but, with other projects occupying individual members, it took until last year for the follow-up, 'Confidence' to be released. With Aggs' distinctive guitar style - drawing from West African Highlife music (but ending up not unlike 'Foals' at times), and Horwood's drum kit that appears to include a Nigerian Ashiko, their quickfire songs covering subjects as diverse as break-ups and losing your teeth spin from one rhythm to another in the space of a few seconds. The single 'Medicine' is given an energetic showcasing, but tracks like 'Boredom' and 'Shyness' also highlight the elements of self-doubt that can plague all creative artists. As Blur so chirpily announced in the nineties, 'Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur'. Trash Kit's enthusiastic fanbase need to spread the word that 'Confidence' is also a great collection of songs.
Rachel Aggs - 'Trash Kit'