Live: EMF / The Dirt

Epic Studios, Norwich February 16, 2024

by Olivia Keer

The night opens with a dynamic performance from husband-and-wife duo The Dirt.

Hailing from Manchester, their act is full of punchy vocals paired with funky and addictive guitar loops.

It’s addictive stuff from The Dirt (Picture: Olivia Keer)
It’s addictive stuff from The Dirt (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Lead singer Jack Horner (aka Leon The Pig Farmer) is animated, dancing and jumping around as their songs ring around Epic.

It’s a set filled with sonic psych punk tracks, with elements of percussion and heavy electronics.

The duo give a dynamic performance (Picture: Olivia Keer)
The duo give a dynamic performance (Picture: Olivia Keer)

And while his wife Sachiko Wakizaka focuses on her guitar, Jack chats away to the audience as if we’re all old mates.

Opening with Children, EMF’s set is immediately off to a dynamic and energetic start, and there’s much leaping around the stage.

There’s old and new from EMF (Picture: Olivia Keer)
There’s old and new from EMF (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Norwich is the penultimate stop on this The Beauty And The Chaos tour, and it’s not just the crowd who are full of anticipation – the band reckon it’ll be the “best gig of the tour”.

There’s plenty of joking around, with singer James Atkin kissing guitarist Ian Dench on the head. Taking the piss out of the crowd, Atkin asks us how many fingers we have, before quickly retracting it and saying he hopes he hasn’t upset the Norfolk crowd.

Ian Dench gets a smacker on the head (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Ian Dench gets a smacker on the head (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Sister Sandanista – the only song tonight from 2022’s Go Go Sapiens, and a tune that’s on its way to becoming an EMF classic – is followed by Atkin asking “What’s next?”

He answers himself, too – it’s “the greatest song ever written”. And so they launch into The Day The Music Died, which boasts groovy and irresistible beats and is one of nearly half a dozen tracks tonight from The Beauty And The Chaos.

EMF make a couple of cover songs their own (Picture: Olivia Keer)
EMF make a couple of cover songs their own (Picture: Olivia Keer)

The set is broken up by an insight into what an EMF rehearsal looks like, with an unplanned jam session, before they burst into the 90s singalong dance-rock anthem that is synonymous with the band. Unbelievable is a song that it’s impossible not to groove to.

They throw in a couple of covers, with the first being a funky twist on Neil Diamond’s I’m A Believer.

The alt-rockers are still going strong (Picture: Olivia Keer)
The alt-rockers are still going strong (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Depeche Mode’s I Just Can’t Get Enough, meanwhile, electrifies the place.

The night concludes with the eponymous track EMF, with the band relishing their final moments on stage.

EMF: Full of energy (Picture: Olivia Keer)
EMF: Full of energy (Picture: Olivia Keer)

From the 90s to the mid-20s, they are still going strong and bringing heaps of energy to their performances.

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