A musician of some note once told me that every artist that he held in any sort of esteem were either trying to be Van Morrison or Neil Young. Listening to the title track of this new release you will be under no illusion that the band are totally au fait with the Canadian stalwarts style, capturing more than a few of his chops to drive the song along. And why not? Although many people still have The Shudders pegged as a “pirate folk” band because of a couple of early tunes, they have always sounded more like an alt-country or counter-culture Americana outfit, it’s just that now they have the album to back up the fact.
If you haven’t managed to catch one of the many Green Day tribute acts which seem to be playing almost weekly around town and have a hankering for a bit of pop-punk then you should head up to the Victoria tonight for a trio of bands keeping that genre well and truly alive. The bill is headed by As The Sun Sleeps who play vibrant, groove driven, big chorus, riff filled celebratory songs, which seem a world away from the aforementioned American idiots. Thankfully. Joining them is Welsh three-piece Junior currently touring the country and who have a more subversive Blink 182 vibe plus local upstarts A Place to Call Home.
With the exception of Tibetan Jazz aficionados and fans of the burgeoning Polynesian trip-hop scene, most musical tastes will be catered for this week. Variety, as they say is the spice of life and this week’s musical offerings prove to be a particularly fine condiment of existence. There may not be too much that is venturing into uncharted waters but nostalgia trippers and comfort zoners are in for a blast of a week.
The recent deaths of high profile music stars seems to have caused a bit of a back lash on social media, cries of “not another one gone” accompanying the loss of almost every musician from a seemingly golden age of music. But all good things come to an end and instead of agonising over the creative loss we should be celebrating their influence on the world they left behind. What strikes me is that whilst everyone is drawing a line in the sand and saying “we will not see their like again” they are missing the vital part of the argument.
Oh the irony! We have spent the last month mourning the loss of singular and creative musical types, lauded for ignoring the rules and forging ahead on their own terms, creating new and exciting music along the way. After my usual wander through the websites and listings of local venues, I have to report that I can find very little in the way of the new and the original being offered up in live form this week. I know I bang on about uniqueness more often than is good for my blood pressure and I know I may be in the minority and whilst comfort zones and nostalgia trips are fine you just need to take them to their logical conclusion to see a stunted and bleak future for music. Just my opinion, take it or leave.
As I sit down to write this I do so with the generally feeling that the music world has changed, the landscape will never be the same again and something really special has been lost. I’m sure people have been saying something similar with the passing of Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran right through to Elvis, Phil Lynott, Joe Strummer and Ian Dury. But there always seemed to be someone to follow in their footsteps. With the recent passing of Lemmy and David Bowie, it makes me wonder, as these giant figures from a golden age of rock and pop are called to the great gig in the sky, who will take their place. Who will stimulate, educate and encourage fledgling musicians, who will make an emerging youth see the world differently, who will make art for art’s sake?