So here we are, last column of the year and for obvious reasons not a lot of original music about as venues err on the side of the festive favourites, the cheesy music and the fun time bands to accompany their Christmas parties, and that’s as it should be. But I would like to use the extra space to say a few thanks and have a look back over the year.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my efforts to try and bring worthy, interesting and breaking bands to your attention, I know it really comes down to my, often strange, personal taste but hopefully you have checked out some of them and hopefully discovered some great new music along the way.
Although it has been a difficult year, especially with the news that The Big Arts Day will be no more plus the loss of the brilliant BBC Wiltshire Introducing show, not to mention the 12 Bar closing, I still think there is a lot to be proud of regarding local music. This year musicians from this area could be found supporting The Levellers and Newton Faulkner and following in the footsteps of Josh Kumra, Gabrielle Aplin (pictured), made it to the top of the charts. The Shuffle came back bigger and better this year with more venues and bands being involved, Summer Breeze managed to attract artists of the calibre of K T Tunstall and in general there are more original bands of a higher quality than ever before just waiting to burst out of the area and start making a name for themselves.
All sounds pretty good to me but of course these successes can only happen if there is the support from the public, so remember to get out there, keep the venues in business and thereby keep the bands in work so they can entertain, develop their live skills, evolve and reach fruition. If between all the partying, boozing, food and general shennanighins there is time to catch a band, then maybe one of these will suffice.
Tonight at The Victoria is The Songs of Praise/Green Man Music Christmas show. For their 25th and final show of the year they bring together two bands synonymous with their brand name, Nudybronque and SkyBurnsRed, bands that have had a brilliant year, are hallmarked by super charged live shows and neither have any understanding of grammatical spacing in their names.
Friday’s options have a bit of a retro feel to them. If ska is your thing then head along to the Beehive for the Nomarks in all their two-tone glory, probably just the tonic(s) you are after (geddit?) to dance away all the food and drink you have consummed this week. Also with influences rooted back in an earlier time, The Corsairs play The Rolleston. Now in their twentieth year they mix up rockabilly, punk and ska to create a unique psychobilly sound.
Saturday is all about the contemporary sound of rock and roll. Having caught Natural Tendency last time they played The Rolleston, I can tell you that they are well worth turning off the TV and missing out on The Only Way is Runcorn or Jeremy Spake: The Missing Years or what ever z-list celebrity dross is being offered up in the name of mainstream entertainment. This is a band that runs emotionally charged rock headlong into ambient keyboard washes and waves of frenzied synth grooves. It’s the future sound of rock music.
Meanwhile downstairs in The Furnace, South West Hardcore present their Dolls and Gangsters party with hardcore/metal onslaughts from The Hotel Ambush and Beyond Hurt, but make sure you catch openers Firefalldown who mix compelling punk aggression with accessible skater melodies and grooves that funk up and rock out in equal measure. Whichever of those two gigs you go to stick around afterwards for the Nightshift club night – industrial, darkwave, electronica, goth and more from the usual suspects.
On Sunday, again at The Rolleston you can catch a stripped back session from retro-rockers Josie and The Outlaw and after that it is all about the mayhem and madness of New Years Eve. As my distant relative, Benjamin Franklin so wisely put it “ Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – can’t say fairer than that.
So that’s another year done, have a great time over the festivities and I’ll see you at a gig somewhere soon, I’ll be the one leaning on the bar clutching a handful of Antwerp scene experimental rock demos and trying to argue that The Icicle Works were the greatest pop band ever to anyone who will listen. Have a blast out there.