So, last week there may not have been too many gigs going on, but this week, you can’t move for tripping over some earnest young chap thrashing a guitar, a laid back blues dude grooving the night away or a band of frantic folkies jigging and reeling their hearts out. And what has caused this tsunami of live music that wil play havoc with my carefully scrutinised word count? It’s only the first of the season’s indoor local festivals. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Riffstock! Running from Friday to Sunday the “Biggest Little Music Festival in the West” at Riffs Bar (the clue is in the name) will be raising money for three very worthy causes. Over the course of the weekend you can experience music as diverse as the, in your face punk, drum and bass of 2 Sick Monkeys, the long awaited return of pirate fixated alt-folkies, The Shudders, effervescent, fired up pop from Nudybronque, the warped, musical terrorism of Mr Hello and His Honesty Club, The Fixed, Emily and the Dogs ( a real must see), Guitar Stools and Cigarettes, Vynal Matt and so much more. For the full story go to their website or Facebook event page.
And as if that wasn’t enough, there is still plenty to choose from musically back in the less rural venues. Dance music for the 21st century will be on the menu tonight as the Zetan Spore mothership descends on The Beehive for a night of psy-trance, hard dance grooves and alien beats.
More conventional music can be found at The Rolleston in the form of Sam Eden, a singer-songwriter whose style occasionally borders on the likes of Brian Kennedy and David Gray but who mainly creates unique and delicate musical structures from intricate playing and brilliant vocal deliveries.
At the Victoria, there is a showcase for Bath College’s HNC music students, featuring the insanity of Maribou Stalk, the soul power of Tallis and The Pride, the hi-octane loops and sax of Mossyband, the voodoo tunes of Dr Elephonte and much more besides.
Friday is built around a triumvirate of great gigs…. err, that means three for you non-classical scholars. The Furnace sees a rare hometown outing for the southern groove, biker metal of Eye For An Eye. Expect industrial strength riffs, thunderous beats, growling vocal attacks, hair, beards, blood, sweat and beers. If young bands need a lesson in how to put on a rock show…let this band be your guide.
At The 12 Bar, Out of Towner’s is a night showcasing, as it says, out of area bands headlining with the contradictory Doll Rats – powerful yet ethereal, raw but delicate, raucous and enigmatic. Sounds pretty good to me. Other visiting acts are Peyote who sound like the Jim Jones Revue writing the sound track for a David Lynch road movie and the one I’m looking forward to, The Peasant Kings, historically aware and with one or two old school Celtic rock ghosts looming large over their music.
Talk in Code has undergone a major change in the last year or so. They are no longer the band that your dad might listen to, now their new dance fuelled vibe means they are more the CD that your sharp-dressed, musically savvy, cool older brother refuses to lend you. However you can catch them at their CD launch show at The Victoria. Three Letter Agency and Oli Hill support.
Creatures of the night will find something to raise a rare smile at The Furnace on Saturday as Sarah Jezebel Deva rocks into town. Best known as long-serving backing singer in Cradle of Filth, she has also graced such bands as Mortiis, Therion and The Kovenant. Expect well-executed, dynamic, dark, sweeping, symphonic metal.
At the opposite end of the musical spectrum, The Warsaw Village Band will treat the Old Town Bowl to music that is both ancient and hauntingly pagan in its folksy form yet as driven and trancey as any modern “dance” music. More roots music, though this time of a delta-blues nature with helpings of country, swamp-blues, jazz, soul and folk, can be found at The Rolleston in the form of Gwyn Ashton.
My tip for Sunday is catch the afternoon session at The Beehive courtesy of the blues grooves, jazz vibes, soulfulness and sheer energy of The Fraser Tilley Trio…(yes they are a four piece but lets not get into all that again) and end up at The Rolleston that evening for the acoustic delights of Ben Fletcher. Well, you don’t have to but it’s just a thought.