The bounty is plentiful this March across the Cambridge Music scene.
We start down Chesterton Road where a packed billing at The Portland Arms includes some of the finest emerging acts and some well loved names. Our first Porty pick for March is a Bristol outfit who are equal parts formidable and entirely thrilling. Politically charged and furious, Idles release their debut LP this month and play Cambridge in support of its release on the 6th. Their frantic assault on the senses is best experienced live, file this under ‘do not miss’.
The Amazons are one of the most hotly-tipped artists in the country right now having being nominated in the prestigious BBC Sound of 2017 poll as well as being tipped by MTV Brand New and Apple Music among others. The band will also be heading out on a massive UK tour as they prepare to release their debut album later this year. Catch them at The Portland on the 14th, expect raw and riffy rowdy rock’n’roll.
Having toured the world as frontman of Idlewild, acclaimed songwriter Roddy Woomble recently toured UK in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his critically acclaimed solo album, ‘My Secret Is My Silence’. This month sees Woomble release its much anticipated follow up, ‘The Impossible Song & Other Songs’. Expect a tender and epic, enormous yet touching evening when Womble plays on the 13th.
Wolverhampton’s finest Scott Mathews is in town on the 9th. Ivor Novello-winner Scott has garnered serious critical acclaim across his ten-year career – taking time to nurture his craft along the way. Always deliberate in his actions- witnessed in the time he originally spent as a guitarist, before becoming the singer songwriter behind the ground-breaking debut album ‘Passing Stranger’. Subsequently, Robert Plant came onboard for a guest contribution on Scott’s follow-up album, ‘Elsewhere’, and Scott has also performed on a number of international sell-out tours with respected artists such as Bert Jansch, Robert Plant, Foo Fighters and Rufus Wainwright.
Our final Portland tip for this month is Tim Kasher on the 30th. Tim Kasher, with his bands Cursive and The Good Life or as a solo artist, has continuously pushed musical boundaries over his career, which has produced 17 LPs and EPs over 20 years. Kasher’s forthcoming third solo album No Resolution (which will also be the first release from 15 Passenger, the new label founded and run by Cursive) is delivering what is arguably his most ambitious and intrepid work to date.
One not to miss at The Corner House this month is Cambridge’s legendary classic rock and metal night, the Church of Noise, which is hosting a one off charity fundraising night in March at the city’s Cornerhouse venue, to raise money for the ‘Campaign Against Living Miserably’ (CALM). The night, which has been running for over 13 years, is part gig and part club night aimed at fans of classic rock and metal. Running until 2am, the night also features a live set from acclaimed Cambridgeshire metal covers band Lower Than Bones who have amassed a huge following locally with their exploisve live sets that cover the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer, Soundgarden, Machine Head, Anthrax, System Of A Down, Alice In Chains alongside original material.
A mega month over at the Cambridge Junction features the seminal Goldfrapp bringing their strident strands of underground electronica, sensual melody and metal machine pop on the 21st.
Benjamin Francis-Leftwich returned last year after a five year absence, he brings his hushed and hymnal modern folk to the Junction on the 14th. Best known as the guitarist for LAU, his latest solo release is a triumph that confirms Kris Drever’s place among the best of the best, in engaging and intimate folk, he plays the J2 on the 7th. The same venue hosts Damien O’Kane on the 20th, expect magnificent re-imagining of traditional folk. Stornaway’s farewell tour plays the Junction on the 9th. With a sound recalling the mid-naughties golden age of indie, The Sherlocks play the J2 on the 9th,
Our must not miss show at the Cambridge Junction comes courtesy of boundary pushing pop purveyors Glass Animals on the 13th, their recent ‘How To Be A Human Being’ album is a rare combination of intelligence, charm, song craft and beat-making.
We close with a mention to the huge hometown show for Mallory Knox. The Cambridge five-piece have previously released three Radio 1 A-Listed singles, sold out London’s 3,700-capacity Roundhouse, played the main stages at Reading & Leeds and Download and reached #16 on the UK Album Chart with their last album ‘Asymmetry’. With a new album due this year, the band play their biggest Cambridge show at the Corn Exchange on the 26th.