Hot jazz and swing nights for the fine city of Norwich, is the proud claim of the organiser’s website, and on Saturday night a lively crowd were not disappointed.
We were welcomed with some gentle piano music from Ewan Duffus in the bar which was suitably festooned with glittery signs and a washing line pegged full of vintage undies.
First event in the main auditorium was some essential training for the rest of the evening, as guests were expertly taught how to dance the Charleston by the dapper Earl Harlem. The challenges and immediate rewards of this exercise brought everyone into the mood for the first set of the evening from the house musicians, the Moonshine Swing Seven. As well as familiar period classics from the swing era and Hollywood hits like Puttin on the Ritz they showed a deft touch with new arrangements of a diverse range of tunes that are just fine to dance to, including Baggy Trousers from Madness and my favourite of the evening, a version of Kraftwerk’s The Model.
An audience of girls and guys now fully charged with energy gave a rousing welcome to the next act, new to the Bootleg Swing evenings, the UEA Burlesque Society. Four girls gave three great performances, winning over the crowds with elegant routines that were polished and, well, rather hot. The perfect answer to that old question ‘what do they teach them at UEA these days?’ No sooner had the last feather fluttered to the stage than we had the next delight with a spirited Can-Can show from Les Belles Danseuses.
A few lasses and chaps needed a moment or two to take a breath of fresh air at this point, but the music continued without a pause as the house band came back to help us dance the night away. For the young at heart DJ Humpleskillspin kept a few jazz vinyls spinning until very late.
The informal spaces of Norwich Arts centre are the perfect setting for this evening of dressing up, dancing and enjoying great music and the joy of swing music and jazz era style. As they rightly claim, this is The Cat’s Meow of Vintage Club Nights. I’m still purring!