Much more about the Sloth Racket Shapeshifters tour coming soon, but for starters here’s a lovely new video by Agata Urbaniak, taken at the Brighton gig at Safehouse…
The second Sloth Racket album ‘Shapeshifters’ is available to pre-order today, with albums shipping out and full release on 12th June (on Luminous). Recorded in October 2016 at Blueprint Studios in Salford, the album is made up of four new pieces that we developed over the course of our Autumn tour. Have a listen to a preview track and order your copy in advance from the Luminous Bandcamp site.
To launch the album we’re heading out on tour at the end of June, with support from Arts Council England. The tour takes us to some new places, perhaps the most exciting of which is the first ever edition of Listen! in Cambridge. Listen! is being set up by dedicated London jazz scene supporters Carol Garrison and Graham Lee, who have relocated to Cambridge and decided to get their hands dirty setting up a new outpost for adventurous music there. As well as Cambridge we’ll be playing in Bristol and Norwich for the first time, plus returning to Leeds and Brighton to play at Wharf Chambers and Safehouse. To start things off we’ll be doing a set on the Saturday of the second LUME Festival, which presumably you’ve already got your tickets for…
Here’s the tour itinerary, with links to more info on the gigs:
24th June London: IKLECTIK (LUME Festival)
26th June Leeds: Wharf Chambers (presented by Sproggits)
27th June Bristol: The Old England (presented by Pull The Strings)
28th June Brighton: The Verdict (presented by Safehouse)
29th June Norwich: York Tavern (presented by Plink Plonk)
30th June Cambridge: Unitarian Church (presented by Listen!)
See you out there!
I’m back from a few days in Belgium and Holland with Ripsaw Catfish, on the Raw Tonk Records fifth birthday mini tour of the Lowlands. The touring party was three duos: Colin Webster and Andrew Lisle; Graham Dunning and Dirk Serries and Ripsaw Catfish. We were away for three nights, playing at Pletterij in Haarlem, De Singer in Rijkevorsel and De Ruimte in Amsterdam. Colin brought the entire Raw Tonk catalogue, which made for a formidable merch table. 23 releases! It didn’t stay looking like this for long though, as the Haarlem audience snapped up a sizeable chunk of the stock on the first night…
Each night we changed the running order: it was interesting to compare the three gigs as whole evenings, as well as each duo’s changing music. In particular, Graham and Dirk had never played together before, and it was fascinating to hear them create their music together for the first few times. I hope there will be more to come. The Pletterij date (which was reviewed by the Opduvel blog) coincided with the release of our second Ripsaw Catfish album on Raw Tonk, ‘Namazu’, so that gig became our album launch. It opened with a blasting set from Colin and Andrew:
Video and audio from these gigs are on their way: all three were recorded so I’m looking forward to listening again. Rob Braken took this photo of our set, also at Pletterij:
I can’t find any decent quality photos from our second gig, at De Singer in Rijkevorsel, but it was a lovely evening (reviewed on Peter Prong’s blog). I was struck by the great hospitality at all the gigs and the friendly audiences! At De Ruimte in Amsterdam, where Anton and I also played last year, the room is at the top of an old ‘traffic tower’, with views across the city. Despite the amount of glass, it still manages to feel really cosy:
A massive shout out to Dirk, who drove us around in a van each day from our base in Rijkevorsel (where he lives). The Simpel & Goe B&B where we stayed, incidentally, was excellent! Colin took a selfie of the gang on our way to have dinner before the gig at De Singer:
The Raw Tonk fifth birthday celebrations continue over the next couple of weeks. You can catch the Raw Tonk Festival at Hundred Years Gallery in London on 25th March (tickets), The Old Bank in Manchester on 26th March (tickets), and a Raw Tonk triple bill at Cappelens Forslag in Oslo on 2nd April.
First two photos by Dirk, last two by Colin, middle one by Rob Brakel.
This month, Colin Webster’s mighty Raw Tonk label is celebrating its fifth birthday with a burst of activity – including lots of live dates for Ripsaw Catfish! First up is the Raw Tonk Lowlands Tour this weekend. We’re heading to Haarlem, Rijkevorsel and Amsterdam as part of a cluster of three duos:
After that there’s some brief down-time before the Raw Tonk Festival hits London and Manchester. For these gigs Anton and I will be playing trio sets with Dee Byrne for the first time:
And then to top it all off, we’re heading to Oslo on the first weekend of April for a triple bill of Ripsaw Catfish, Tom Ward/Andrew Lisle and KTHXBYE at Cappelens Forslag.
Happy birthday Raw Tonk – amazing work Colin!!
It’s out there! Well, almost. The Madwort Sax Quartet album is available to pre-order from Efpi Records now:
We’re touring to celebrate the release: catch us at Jazz North East, Bridge Hotel, Newcastle (12 February); Plink Plonk, York Tavern, Norwich (1 March); A Little Bit Of Nothing, Derby (2nd March); IKLECTIK, London (5 March) and The Wonder Inn, Manchester (6 March).
Sloth Racket has a new video! Our good friend Ben Owen has made this great short film of us playing at a LUME gig at The Vortex in May this year. The piece we play is called ‘Shapeshifters’ and will appear on our second album, coming out in Summer 2017.
More videos of the band can be found on the Sloth Racket page. Also this month, some new nice words about the band have appeared online; from Dave Sumner on his latest Bird Is The Worm ‘This Is Jazz Today’ dispatch, and from Stewart Smith in his 2016 jazz/improv roundup on The Quietus. Thanks both!
After a fantastic time playing at Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival (see above video by Agata Urbaniak of us playing ‘Endgame’), Sloth Racket is heading out on the second half of our UK tour at the end of September. We’re starting with a London gig at IKLECTIK, before heading to Derby, Newcastle, Glasgow and Salford, supported by Arts Council England. We’re then sticking around in Manchester to record the band’s second album, for release next year. Here are the details:
28th September: London (IKLECTIK)
A London date to kick off the tour, with Colin Webster & Graham Dunning and Ti/om (Tim Fairhall and Tom Ward).
IKLECTIK Artlab, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG
29th September: Derby (Out Front)
Part of Corey Mwamba’s new gig series launched earlier this year.
The Blessington Carriage, 11-17 Chapel Street, Derby, DE1 3GU
2nd October: Newcastle (Jazz North East)
Jazz North East are actually responsible for this band’s formation! After our first ever performance as part of their programme at Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2015, we’re looking forward to playing for JNE in their HQ, the Bridge Hotel.
The Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ
3rd October: Glasgow (Old Hairdessers)
Sloth Racket’s first gig in Scotland! Jer Reid has organised this date for us, and he’ll be playing a set with Raymond MacDonald (sax), Catriona McKay (harp), Una MacGlone (bass) and Dougal Marwick (synths, electronics).
Old Hairdressers, 27 Renfield Lane, Glasgow, G2 6PH
5th October: Salford (Islington Mill)
Last date of the tour before we go into the studio to record in Manchester. With another band on the bill tbc.
Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, M3 5HW
See you out there!
I had a great weekend hanging out at the inaugural edition of Daniel Spicer’s Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival last year – so I’m really looking forward to playing there with Sloth Racket this weekend! We’re opening the Saturday session at 5pm. See the flyer below for the awesome line-up…
The Sloth Racket May tour was a lovely run of gigs. It was great to have the chance to develop our existing music by playing it every night, as well as trying out some new compositions of mine (plus one by Sam Andreae!). Massive thanks to all the promoters who put us on: Andrew Woodhead at Fizzle (Birmingham); Jez Matthews and team from Jazz At The Lescar (Sheffield); Laura, Bill, Dave K and all at Fusebox (Leeds); Chris, Kerstin and all at Fuse Arts (Bradford); and Dee for being our host at LUME for the Vortex album launch gig in London. I’m also extremely grateful to Arts Council England for supporting our touring activities this year: roll on the October tour! I’ve collected together a few tour photos for the blog…