Essex/Suffolk: Roadshow with a difference for poets and musicians

These Are End Times. Photo: Ian Barnard

These Are End Times. Photo: Ian Barnard - Credit: Archant

Sunday sees the start of a five-day roadshow in which poets and musicians will perform in deconsecrated churches across Suffolk and Essex.

Robin Alderton

Robin Alderton - Credit: Archant

Organised by James Sarek and Mistley-based rock band Dingus Khan with the cooperation of the Churches Conservation Trust, the opening night is being hosted by the partially restored St Mary-at-the-Quay Church, Foundation Street, Ipswich.

Mick Squalor

Mick Squalor - Credit: Archant

It’s being curated by Ipswich-based Antigen Records and features three artists affiliated with the label – Robin Alderton, Mick Squalor and These Are End Times.

“The idea is to take artists out of familiar venues and challenge them to create an unamplified performance using the acoustic properties of the churches. We also want to give people the chance to explore new, or in this case old, environments for experiencing music,” says Antigen’s Jason Whittaker.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved with the arts in Ipswich, with projects such as Ipswich Recreate promoting the local creative economy and Raise the Roof looking at innovative ways to use utilise underused buildings.

“But this is a totally independent, grass-roots undertaking; James and Dingus Khan just got on with it. We’ve worked with them in the past and we were flattered to be asked to hold the launch night in Ipswich.”

The programme starts with a sound work by Colchester-based artist Alderton; best known as one third of the avant-garde folk trio Dead Rat Orchestra. He has presented work at the University of the Arts Gallery in London and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford as well as collaborating with the Britten Sinfonia and presenting a performance for the British Forum of Ethnomusicology’s annual conference.

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Squalor, also known as Ben Brown, the over-excitable frontman of local indie rock giants Dingus Khan, is already gaining a reputation for his eccentric solo show and his ability to hold a crowd using only unamplified voice and acoustic guitar. He will be playing selections from his new solo CD, Live at the Battle Royale.

Headlining are These Are End Times. Live shows from this Ipswich-based septet have been few and far between of late while the band has concentrated on writing and recording its second album, Humanity Arrives Hand in Hand with Trouble, scheduled for release next year.

They specialise in meticulously constructed, multi-layered post-rock instrumentals with the traditional two guitar line-up accompanied by trumpet, violin and field recordings. They are renowned for the thunderous impact of their live set, which has graced the Lake Stage at Latitude Festival in 2011 and the Spill Arts Festival in 2012.

This will be a rare chance to hear the band as a semi-acoustic six-piece as they reinterpret songs from their repertoire with violin, accordion and toy instruments including a melodica and a Stylophone and only minimal amplification provided by battery-powered Pignose amps.

No tickets are available in advance with entry by voluntary donation. It runs from 7.30pm-10.30pm.

Squalor, Aryn Clark and Jonathan Marriott play Holy Trinity Church, Halstead, Essex, on Monday, October 28; Nathaniel Robin Mann, The Medlars and Tess Gardener visit the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Little Bromley, Essex, on Tuesday, October 29; Sef, Josh Sandifer, JustSomeGuy and The Rev Dr Ian Prolix? play St Martin’s Church, Colchester, Wednesday, October 30 and Dingus Khan, Sealionwoman and Bear visit Colchester Arts Centre on Thursday, October 31.

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