I was fishing around in a box of vinyl albums I found in the attic that hailed from a time when people still thought that digital watches were a neat idea and I came across a load of those ghastly “ Now That’s What I Call Music…” compilation albums. It struck me that the idea of a compilation album is a weird concept, one that sees a cheek by jowl mix of musicians who would not normally bother to make eye contact if they were sitting at the same table. It also made me think about what if there was such a thing of a compilation novel. The best bits of literature presented as a complete work.
It might be set in Second World War Greece when an Italian, mandolin playing artillery captain wakes up to find that he has turned into a beetle. Mrs Bennet then decides that he is no longer a suitable husband for Little Nell and in revenge for this slight he sets fire to the library of Gormenghast castle. Heathcliff cries out “The horror, the horror” the White Whale drags Frodo under the water as he slowly comes to a stark realisation. He loved Big Brother. Have I just created a new literary concept? Hopefully not.
Anyway enough nonsense and cut to the chase. Those of you who missed out on Womad and the chance to catch Tibetan punk bands, Colombian jazz fusion out fits, Nepalese Hip-Hop crews and of course Billy Bragg (probably) can console yourselves with a couple of local festivals featuring bands with more pronounceable names.
Firstly running Friday to Sunday, Festival on The Farm takes place in the grounds of Purton House Organics and features a great mix of covers and original music, solo artists and full bands and everything from funky soul to heavy rock. Alternatively, on Saturday, The Stratton Stroll has its usual musical meander around the pubs of that area. 6 venues, twenty artists, one great day. In both cases check the website for times and line ups, there is far too many for me to detail here but rest assured there is something for everyone. I suppose festivals are a bit like compilation albums or are they boxed sets…sorry, I won’t start that again.
So, back in the regular haunts, there is still a lot of great music to be had. Two-piece neo-grunge outfit, Boss Cloth (pictured) have an e.p. launch tonight at The Victoria where they are joined by high-energy doom bass and drums outfit Skin Horse (see the connection yet?) Opening the night is Sea Mammal, a swirling, experimental duo (how about now?) from the people who brought you Babies vs. Rabies.
The other end of the spectrum is being catered for at The Beehive with Skins and Strings who play wonderful blends of table drum beats and pastoral acoustic guitar lines.
On Friday, The Victoria hosts its regular Bands and Burlesque nights with music from old school rock and rollers Josie and The Outlaw and at The Beehive it’s Teddy White Lite, (their spelling not mine, damned this creeping Americanisation of our language) all the usual best of blues, beats and boogie from yesteryear presented as an acoustic set. At The Rolleston, Lily B plays acoustic covers from Joni Mitchel to Aerosmith and from K T Tunstall to Pink.
If the idea of two, top of their game, international psychobilly bands gets your musical juices flowing then The Rolleston on Saturday is the place to be. Hailing from Hamilton New Zealand and London, respectively, The Doppelgangers and The Moonshine Stalkers both have a reputation for wild, energetic shows that fuse old time rockabilly with punk sensibilities.
Acoustic music is provided in both quantity and quality as The GW Acoustic session celebrates its first birthday. Playing the night is Ells and The Southern Wild, Charlie Ann, Jimmy Moore, The Wires, Andrew Paul Davis and Who Cares? Also on offer is a tribute to U2 at The Victoria.
Rounding the musical working week off on Wednesday is Billy Bingham at the Roaring Donkey; delicate threads of acoustic guitar over laid with heartfelt, honest lyrics, perfect music for a warm summer evening.