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29 October 2014

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The Shadow Project at Waterloo Park
The Shadow Project at Waterloo Park

Waterloo Park Walkabout 4

Seven local bands played at Waterloo Park for the fourth Walkabout. We sent Blast reporter Michael to laze about on the grass and, of course, to watch the bands play.

We followed the sound of a beating drum through the slightly windy paths of Waterloo Park and soon reached the open field and stage, watched by a set of three monkeys atop the pavilion.

The future looks bright for the Norwich scene

With the help of these unusual guardians and a mix of punk, rock, folk and experimental music, we hoped to keep the rain at bay for the forth Walkabout Festival in Waterloo Park.

The first band to attack the minimal crowd was Rek, a local punk-rock band with a simple guitar, bass and drum line up. Whilst they were passionate about their playing, they lacked anything past the female vocalist to make them different enough to be interesting.

However, when they did deviate with an imaginative drum intro or guitar riff, these sections really did stand out. With a little more song-writing practise, Rek could bring these exciting elements to the forefront of their playing and their fiery dynamic on stage would make them an exhilarating live band.

The sound of guitar music from the park managed to draw some more people into the grounds and the steps and grass were starting to fill up with expectant viewers.

Handclaps at midday

I’m sure all their expectations were fulfilled when Bearsuit took to the stage with their off-kilter sporadic, schizophrenic art noise and started to shake bells and make mouth noises in a way that you could've mistaken for a rain dance.

The handclaps of old favourites like Itsuko Got Married went down well and Chargr finished the set on a high of distorted guitar, twinkling keyboards and chanting vocals that seemed to capitalise on the acoustics of the outdoors.

Stars Of Aviation having fun
Stars Of Aviation having fun

Florence And The Goodgirls and the Stars Of Aviation brought some feel good folk to the day, with Florence performing their last ever gig and going out in style.

Stars Of Aviation added to the standard guitars and drums with an accordion player and some keyboards, and their sound started to veer into a side not seen very often in folk, with a slight experimental edge.

Johnny announced that they “always insist on a moat” at their gigs, referring to the one surrounding the stage, “in case anyone tries to invade.”

The banter of guitarist and vocalist Johnny and keyboardist Nathan is so deadpan that it becomes funny even when the jokes are appalling and it somehow perfectly represents the laid-back, summery atmosphere of the audience lounging on the grass.

My Visor add to their usual boy-girl line up with two extra boys to fill in on live drums and bass. What starts off as a basic garage band formula takes some unexpected and welcomed turns. Kathryn's voice makes the band sound much more like PJ Harvey than the initial Jet-type sound, which is a refreshing change to the current suffocating environment of retro garage imitators.

Seductive shadows

Sennen's mesmerising set
Sennen's mesmerising set

I'm sure The Shadow Project would be happy to simply win the award for looking the hippest, but the problem is that they also sound amazing.

I'd be very surprised if this band hadn't been listening to heavy doses of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, with their spoken word samples and slowly building compositions leading up to huge symphonic cacophonies of guitars and found sounds.

However, this is defiantly not a bad thing, as the band pulls it off with aplomb and the subtle electronics and live drumming give the performance an urgency that has everyone doing something to keep along to the pulsing beat.

While they have clearly used certain bands as a starting point, The Shadow Project has made this project uniquely their own. At a time where post-rock is getting a depressing influx of similar instrumental bands, The Shadow Project stand out as something worth listening to.

Sunset for Sennen

The final band to hit the stage as the sun starts to set was the sublime Sennen. While they tell me that they don't actually listen to a lot of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive or Ride, you can hear the influence of these infamous shoegazer bands, even if it is indirect.

Some of their wall-of-sound technique is lost in the open air as opposed to the forcing, enveloping noise of their indoor performances, but it is still possible to see that Sennen will go far, especially once their debut album Widows is released, hopefully later in the year.

The day was a definite success, and with so many of these bands just getting on their feet, the Norwich scene and the future of local promoters wombatwombat looks a lot brighter than the clouds were today.

last updated: 15/09/05
Have Your Say
Did you go to the gig? Who were your favourite band?
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Thank you all. Now for our review. In short, all bands amazing, Sennen And The Shadow Project our favorite, suited bill. Diagree to TSP forming tunes. I came out humming their songs as usual. Sennen were delightful. Everyone else were to the same extend of greatness.

You'd have to be a friend or member of Rek to say they were the best band of the day, they clearly weren't. They had the correct place on the bill to suit them (ie. first on). Bearsuit and Sennen are easily catching up with Magoo as Norwich's best ever band. Enjoyed The Shadow Project but they lack the musical ability of Sennen to craft a tune, most of their jams sound similar to what most bands do in rehearsals to warm up. Really good day though, shame the sun didn't come out.

You're right about The Shadow Project- they were absolutely amazing, a breath of fresh air in this stale indie guitar scene. Bring them back please!

The first band Rek were really exciting punk rock. Why on earth were they given such a poor slot? The next two bands were just a throwback to the shoegazing of the late '80s/early '90s. Bearsuite were particularly grating. And finally, who booked the Bufoon who was introducing the bands? He was shocking!

David Laslett
I was genuinely moved by Sennen's vocals.

Mr. Brown
Sennen were excellent, especially the drumming!

Having witnessed many live performances from many Bands on my weary persuit of the ultimate gig. The mixed bag I came across on this dreary lazy afternoon started with great promise ."Rek" first up, Wow what a outfit full on Punk/Rock outfit with "to die for" Female vocals delivered with real conviction (Clearly my favourite of the day)The next band up "Bear Suit" could learn an awful lot form "Rek" the first lesson being how to hold a tune, No I take that back maybe the first lesson should be how to write a tune.The afternoon then started to pick up the pace again but in my opinion never reached the heady heights of "Rek" By far the most proffesional of the day

Sennen were amazing, they really really made the night. I'd be really surprised if these guys don't go right to the top.

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