So, now I have learnt, take chances. And as for the cost, max up the credit card too and treat it like Christmas - spend now and pay it off over a while. To go to 10 events is still cheaper than a weekend away, or one trip down to a show in London, or a ticket to Latitude or Glastonbury. And you don't have all the travelling to do either. The Festival aren't paying me to say all this but each year I am amazed at how many people say that they have missed the Festival or haven't got round to booking. It is a bit of effort working out what to go to, it's true, but we are so lucky having it brought to us here.
Anyway, that's me off my soapbox, I am going to try and make it easier for you to choose and book as I have had a good study of the brochure and I have booked a load of things, most of which I am not certain of. And I started with Snarky Puppy last night, at Open. I was distinctly unsure as it seemed a bit jazz-like when I listened to a YouTube clip and I don't much like jazz, (well, it's those screechy saxophones that do my head in) but also it did have some nice big band kind of fusion sounds, so I went anyway. Well, it was just brilliant.
The setting at Open was atmospheric with the light effects playing around the architecture of the highly decorative roof. Open isn't always right as a venue but it was perfect for this - intimate enough for us to get right up close and big enough to get a good vibe going generally. We went right down the front - and the sound was so well managed that we could be there comfortably without being blasted, right up next to the musicians - an all-male lineup this time, brass section on the left, two full drum kits (all kinds of drums) at the back, two keyboards, synthesiser and of course guitars.
They went straight into the first three numbers, and immediately got the audience warmed up (sadly I had missed the support act who may have done their job well too). They watched each other closely, the play was complex, they laughed and smiled and obviously were enjoying themselves immensely, impressing even their own band members with solo spots. For me, the drummers had it with some absolutely amazing breaks as they played together and amalgamated their rhythms. At one point it was as though three bands were playing on stage all at the same time, each holding their own piece of music, a bit like a 'round' or harmony part. It could have been a cacophony of the worst kind but it wasn't, it was more like a very, very rich and complex musical feat that also sounded good. The keyboard battle that was part of the encore was incredible too, as well as showing the band's humour and ability to work off each other.
It was jazz enough, funk enough, rock enough, fusion enough and exuberant enough to really carry the evening, like a contemporary Big Band. By the end, I felt as though I knew them all, they were friendly accessible and cool but not too cool for school - and they seemed to love Norwich - well we were nice to them!
And I was told that for people who liked Snarky Puppy (or who missed them) then the Riot Jazz Band gig on Tuesday 20 in the Spiegeltent will be another one to catch, book here