This image: The Wholls
Jordan Worland, from local music website Slate the Disco, selects his must-see gigs in Cambridge during March
March in Cambridge sees a mix of old favourites returning, new talent making first trips, the return of the annual band competition and the first of this year’s indoor festivals taking place.
We start at The Portland Arms where the heats for this year’s Cambridge band competition are set to be hosted every Saturday. Taking place over consecutive Saturdays, the winners will progress to the final, which is taking place in April.
Our Portland tips kick off on the 13th with The Wholls (pictured), whose live shows have garnered them an electrifying reputation. Following that on the 15th is Tom Lumley, a local indie singer-songwriter who has been tipped for success. Supporting Lumley is the charming and rowdy sound of The Scruff. Yves, meanwhile, use the raw energy of old school rock ’n’ roll and cut it up with infectious guitar driven melodies – catch them on the 19th. Yazmin Lacey’s classy sound is two-parts golden era jazz and one-part British urban. 2017 was a stealer year for her and her gig on the 21st is not to be missed.
Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble is our top pick at The Portland this month with his performance on the 25th. Roddy will be hitting the road with a full live band as he tours his thoughtful recent solo album The Deluder. He’ll be playing tracks from the record, plus favourites from his back catalogue which currently features over 12 top 40 singles and eight acclaimed albums notched up as a solo artist and frontman of Scottish indie-rockers Idlewild. On the 26th, there is dream-pop/indie-electronica courtesy of Iceland’s Vök.
“Expect indie rock from back when indie meant
Husker Du, Teenage Fanclub or The Lemonheads"
Our top March recommendation goes down at the Corn Exchange on the 13th when Scottish indie-pop greats Belle and Sebastian return. The band have just completed the release of a trilogy of new EPs, all brimming with tracks that prove they’ve not lost their knack for charming indie pop.
Our Corner House tip for this month is on the 31st, Bedford Falls, who are back in Cambridge for the first time since 2012 and with new album, Send More Bees, out around the time of this gig. Expect indie rock from back when indie meant Hüsker Dü, Teenage Fanclub or The Lemonheads.
There’s a great treble bill at The Blue Moon on the 3rd too, when local and loveable psyche outfit Moonstrips join Wytch Pycknyck at NEWTS cassette launch party.
There is an eclectic month taking place at Cambridge Junction, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few top picks. The Handsome Family are labelled alt-country but their music is far darker than that suggests. They’re in J1 on the 21st. On the 23rd Ferocious Dog play the same space; expect folk infused with rock, reggae and Celtic vibrations. One of British folk’s mightiest combinations and big Folk Festival faves O’Hooley & Tidow are at J2 on the 20th.
Our final Cambridge Junction tip is Late Junction, a late-night jazz club featuring Vels Trio on the 31st. Vels Trio’s sound can be characterised by their heavy grooves, emotionally charged songwriting, coupled with expressive, progressive modern musicianship to create excitingly frenetic and irresistibly engaging live sound structures. Being almost indistinguishable by any sole genre, the group’s mutual loves and individual fortes across prog, electronic, jazz, funk and hip-hop have paved the collective way for their early sound.
The city wide folk festival City Roots continues into March, with big names like Ward Thomas at the Corn Exchange on the 4th but our preference is Fred’s House, Luna Falls, Matt Hammond & Cavetown and Megson at St Barnabas Church on the 1st.