As De La Soul observed, three is a magic number. Sadly at the moment it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good thing. After reporting that the 12 Bar has closed and The Big Arts Day has been cancelled, I now have a third, and probably the most momentous, piece of bad news. As of next week the Thursday evening “Introducing” session on BBC Wiltshire radio will cease to exist. The show is to be replaced by a regional version that will cover new and original music across 5 counties from its Bristol studio, a move that can only mean that even if there is no bias, each county will have a fifth of the coverage under the new regime.
Will and Marie (plus Emily, Sam and probably a few people I never met) have done a brilliant job giving this county’s bands a foot in the door and the chance to have their music broadcast to a wider audience. It is exposure of this sort that has helped local acts, Josh Kumra and more recently Gabby Aplin make it all the way to the hallowed number one spot. So I’m sure everyone will join me in saying thank you for all your hard work, your wit and wisdom, your insight and enthusiasm and shame on the powers that be for yet another nail in the coffin of the current music scene. And, as if in mourning, original music is fairly hard to find this week. Hard but not impossible.
Tonight, psytrance tribe Zetan Spore descend on The Beehive in a riot of euphoric trance techno, strobe lights and hypnotic beats that comes across as some sort of religious devotion to the god of technology, or the last party before the end of the world. Which as we all know happens a couple of days later, so you might as well get your dancing trousers on and join in.
Friday’s big name is none other than punk survivors, Vice Squad at The Furnace. These days they walk a path that meanders between old school punk and a more metal approach but still deliver it with finesse and conviction and if you want to know the secret to staying young, well in the case of iconic front woman and one time poster girl of trash punk, Beki Bondage, it appears that the answer is to grab a guitar, a pair of sledgehammer boots and a free wheeling punk spirit and Bob is indeed your mothers brother! Support comes from Menace.
Similar nostalgic vibes can be found at The Victoria with the celebration of all things eighties that is Syntronix. Well, not all things, I bet they don’t play any New Model Army! But rest assured all the more obvious stuff will get a look in.
If you fancy a bit of fired up Celtic folk with all the whistles and bells…. well, whistles anyway, then Missin’ Rosie are at The Beehive. The Levellers on speed? A west country Flogging Molly? The Pogues rocking out? Take your pick but you get the idea. If it’s just something a bit more familiar that you are after then you might want to head over to The Swiss Chalet for some pop and rock covers from Audio Asylum.
The Furnace comes up trumps again on Saturday when Devil Sold His Soul headline. Mixing atmospheric washes, slabs of progressive metal and a singer who sounds like he has only moments left to live, it’s easy to see why this band have built up such a reputation as one to watch. TRC add some out and out hardcore into the night’s proceedings and Burials and The Argent Dawn kick it all off.
The hilariously named S-Hit 5 (see what they did there?) play everything “from The Stones to Steppenwolf” …not the widest of selections then, at Riffs Bar and if you have a hankering for some reggae then head for the Vic for the regular Reggae Club night and some early reggae, ska and rocksteady courtesy of the Queen of Music, DJ Amma.
Sunday is an all-together more chilled affair. Mr Love and Justice host their regular Lazy Sunday Afternoon show at The Arts Centre where they are joined by folk stalwarts, The Bateleurs, Swindon Scratch Choir and new young duo, The Illustrations. That evening the maestro of lap guitar playing, Jim Blair, will be treating The Rolleston to his trademark funky blues style.
And finally just to end right back where we started. If you wish to have a bit of a celebration with the BBC Introducing team and thank them for all their hard work, listen to Will’s jokes and generally get a bit squiffy, then the place and time is The Victoria on Wednesday and it will also include music from Dadaist-disco mavericks, Super Squarecloud, Middlenamekill and Henry Green.