The Waterfront, Norwich November 10, 2023
by Paul Hammerton
The warm-up tonight comes from local outfit Bag Of Cans, and taking to the stage at 7.15pm in front of a sparse crowd could be a sign of a lacklustre performance to come.
However, they rise to the challenge admirably. Frontman George Baker is a star in the making, alternating vocals with top-notch trumpet playing, all while clad in a garishly-coloured kaftan.
And the whole band provide an entertaining start to the evening, both in sound and vision. Topics range from the joys of a Colchester lido to the horrors of a cocaine-addled milkman.
They’re definitely worth seeking out on the local scene.
It seems a long time since The View were last in Norwich. After bursting onto the scene in 2007 with Mercury-nominated album Hats Off To The Busker, they graced the LCR stage several times before slowly fading from the limelight – at least when it came to playing away from their native Scotland – and then having a five-year hiatus.
But now they’re back, and despite recent well documented tension between frontman Kyle Falconer and bassist Kieren Webster, there seems to be real chemistry within the band as they launch onto the stage.
The years have treated Falconer well as he retains his boyish enthusiasm, while Webster reveals a good voice when he takes over on lead vocals.
There is some banter between songs, but this is rapid-fire indie rock at its best.
Tracks from new release Exorcism Of Youth are interspersed with a good number of familiar favourites from their debut album.
The new material really holds up well and goes down well. A new favourite is Allergic To Mornings, with a mass singalong by a crowd seemingly in full agreement with the song’s sentiments.
A strength of The View has always been the way that ballads naturally sit between their more raucous tracks. The quavery guitar intro to The Don sends shivers down the back of the neck while Face For The Radio is performed by a laid-back Falconer sitting on the drum riser.
With the early Friday night Waterfront curfew there’s no time for an encore, but they end on a high with a rapid fire set of high-energy favourites including Superstar Tradesmen, which is another highlight of the night.
The blend of old and new material should convince enough of those here tonight that The View are back, and that larger venues beckon again.