I’m not yet ready for Christmas, I admit it. Despite the fact that Christmas goods have been in the shops since early September and I started to notice the twinkling lights and decorations appearing in homes even as the sound of the last firework was still fading out. I feel no compulsion to watch Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life, the thought of writing Christmas Cards fills me with dread and Christmas jumpers (whether being worn by an ironic hipster or otherwise) still look out of place. That said, this is the week that will probably get me, and those who feel the same, in the right frame of mind as this week is all about live music parties and celebrations. So crack open the eggnog and lets go once more into the breach dear friends.
To ease you in gently there are a couple of wonderful options tonight. Firstly the regular Bands and Burlesque show at Victoria is a 1920’s flapper themed affair with electro-swing courtesy of DJ Julian Hogan. For something a bit more progressive, futuristic even, try Zetan Spore who return to The Beehive. A powerful psytrance duo, who blend full on psychedelic waves, searing guitar riffs and didgeridoo-fuelled tribal vibes into the a show that will make it’s compact and bijou environment seem like the Albert Hall.
Friday is the one that you need to save your energy for. The 12 Bands of Christmas Show has become a centrepiece of the local live music scene and this year it returns to The Victoria. Take a dozen original bands and ask them to perform two covers that take them way out of their expected sound and comfort zone, stand back and be amazed at the results which range from hilarious, moving, danceable, spellbinding or just plain weird. And it’s Friday the thirteenth…what could possibly go wrong? For me this is what performing covers is all about. Not to be missed.
Another stalwart of the local scene, Teenage Kicks is also throwing its end of year celebration out at Riffs Bar. As usual the cream of the younger crop is being showcased including Sister Morphine who sound like a cross between The Velvet Underground and Echo and the Bunnymen, The Diagonal People who neatly thread together a sort of shoegazy, lo-fi garage sound, plus the more expected sounds of TK stalwarts Who Cares? and The Fixed.
Other seasonal blowouts come in the shape of The Hamsters From Hell’s Pre-Christmas….err, inebriation (words changed to protect the innocent) at The Castle and the Roots-Rock of State of Undress (pictured) at The Beehive. The Rolleston stays true to its mission of championing classic rock covers, this time in the form of The Mythical Men, a band that occasionally features John Beck of It Bites. (Yes, he may have been part-responsible for Calling All The Heroes, but he was also gave us the album Eat Me In St Louis, which more than makes up for it.)
The original option for Saturday is to be found out at Riffs Bar, A Way With Words continue to build on their exciting live shows with another slice of heavy, melodic and infectious alt-rock. Make sure that you get there early enough to catch the gloriously slick pop-punk of Stands to Reason as well.
Elsewhere it’s heavy rock and metal at The Victoria with Shepherds Pie; goth, punk and industrial covers at The Rolleston with 1000 Planets and Dub Reggae Dj’s at The Beehive.
More mellow sounds for Sunday come in the guise of Lazy Sunday Afternoon, the regular Mr Love and Justice hosted session at The Arts Centre, this time they are joined by classical, Latin-jazz supremo’s and dedicated hat enthusiasts, Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz and the mercurial and diverse talents of Rob Beckinsale. The afternoon session at The Beehive exceeds the recommended dose of Banjo’s with the ever-popular Banjovie.
Culture Vultures and jazz aficionados need to head for Baker Street on Tuesday night for The Magnificent Seven, an effortlessly talent Latin-jazz combo who like their Western counterparts have been brought together from various backgrounds on the basis that they are quite simply the best at what they do.
And finally, Wednesday rounds us off with a choice of Billyjon and Friends at the Roaring Donkey and a bill of folk originals and rock covers at Riffs Bar with Bateleurs and Broken Image.
And there is an even bigger week to come before we have to peel a mountain of sprouts and watch the Queens Speech. Blimey!