After a couple of weeks experimenting with different stylistic approaches to this column, an attempt to appease various critics, I have come to rather a startling conclusion. Irrespective of whichever criteria I use to determine its content, the old adage about pleasing all the people all of the time still holds true, so I might as well just write as I see fit, forget democracy and take whatever flak comes my way. So with that in mind here are my undemocratic musical musings and biased nominations for this week.
Those of a certain age, my sort of age in fact, will probably remember a group of spiky haired, Celtic rockers called The Alarm who exploded in a blaze of glory (see what I did there?) from North Wales in the early eighties. Well believe it or not guitarist Dave Sharp plays a free top bar gig at The Victoria tonight, having swapped fist in the air, charged anthems for a smoother blend of bluesy-folk rock. Support comes from the incomparable Rob Beckinsale.
The Rolleston continue to hit high standards with their original band bookings and tonight play host to Wires who excel in lusciously harmonious indie creations; make sure you pick up a copy of their latest e.p. Shadows whilst you are there.
Tonight also heralds the return of Minneapolis muse Courtney Yasmineh (pictured) who manages to squeeze in a visit to The Beehive between gigs in London and Amsterdam to dish out feisty rock that lies somewhere between Blondie and Sheryl Crowe and guitar brilliance comes courtesy of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Wheatsheaf. Big name options come in the shape of McFly at The Oasis and Chas (but no Dave) Hodges and His Band at the Wyvern.
Friday night sees a host of young bands at Riffs Bar headed by pop-punksters Beyond The Break, The John Does and the currently ubiquitous Sasquatch Walk (who seem to be on a short tour of Swindon postcodes over the next month). The Rolleston goes psychobilly as The Graveyard Johnnys and Cowboy and The Corpse go quiff to quiff.
The shoegazing, dream pop of Reading’s Tripwires, will be the highlight of the night at The Victoria; imagine Warpaint teaching Sonic Youth to play lullabies, The Jess Hall Band take on the role of the perfect support band and I’ll say it again, Play Shy is nothing short of a perfect pop song. A DJ set from the Young Blood guys is also on the cards.
The big noise of Saturday night is The Hoosiers at The MECA; originally describing themselves as “odd pop” they have since re-invented themselves as a more conventional electro-tinged pop band. The Furnace will be revelling in what it does best, a swift, brutal sensory overload courtesy of metal bands Romeo Must Die, My City Burning and Karrion.
Elsewhere it’s tributes to Pink Floyd at the Victoria, Ozzy at The Rolleston and punk and new wave covers at Riffs Bar with Operation 77.
If you like the idea of a Lazy Sunday afternoon with some chilled music, then head up to The Art Centre to take in the intelligent folk-pop of Mr Love and Justice. The evening may bring one more tribute experience, this time Bon Jovi at The MECA, but it also brings some great original music. Hotly tipped to be one of the next big things Billy Lockett is at Riffs Bar along with a support act so exciting, it can’t even be named on the website.
One of the most exciting gigs of the week takes place at The Victoria with the first time out for Old Colours who rise out of the ashes of Anchor and The Wolf to keep the “cinematic” banner flying. Any band described as “a bit like Laura Marling playing a house party with My Bloody Valentine rocking in the next room” has got to be worth checking out. Charlie Bath and The City Marshals will be show casing songs from the soon to be released The Good Fall e.p. and opening the night is a rare outing for chilled, folky lounge-jazz darlings, Matilda.
Tuesdays dose of jazz at Baker Street is courtesy of keyboard virtuoso Alex Steele and Wednesdays Running Horse Sessions features the wonderfully named John Shillibeer and a welcome return for Sumita Majumdar.