I was playing some of the old vinyl at the weekend, chilling out to some bygone classics and it dawned on me that Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is actually forty years old this year. Forty years! It’s amazing how you can mark off the passage of time via the release of music, especially when you are an avid collector like me. Such classic concept albums have been analyzed and studied so much that you sometimes stumble across very strange interpretations of their meaning. Although perceived wisdom has it that the album recalls the slow descent into madness of their previous frontman, Syd Barrett, one of my favourite mythologies claims that if you set the album going whilst watching The Wizard of Oz, the two seem to marry up. Still, you can probably listen to it whilst watching Holiday on the Buses and find that just as On The Run plays Stan Butler and Jack Harper are seen skipping away from Hitler moustached Inspector Blakey and shortly after Money, someone is seen paying the bus fare. And when did Holiday on The Buses premier? 1973! I might be on to something here…
Whilst you are trying to get your head around that, you might like to catch some similarly intricate, original, future classic status music at The Victoria tonight in the shape of Jen Olive. If elegant and intricate structures that seem to owe as much to mathematics as music, hypnotic picking styles and floating harmonies appeal to you then this is the place to be. Helping the night along will be the musical talents of Stu Rowe, Brendan Hamley and a brace of Emily’s (Drake and Sykes.)
More exquisite guitaring can be found at The Beehive as wandering minstrel, Robert Brown delivers songs that not only sit somewhere between the ethereality of Nick Drake and the more driven style of Jimmy Page but which also take in the cultural influences of his various travels.
By the time we get to Friday, gigs seem to have taken to heart the old adage about buses. (Though that does remind me of one of the best lines I ever saw in a music paper about judging a Bruce Springsteen look alike competition, “ You wait all day for The Boss and then three come along at once”)
At Riffs Bar it is mainly heavier music courtesy of The Secret Chord night. Headlining are Burnthru, a band that manages to mix groove with aggression, melody with mayhem and white hot guitar highs with thunderous back beats. Support comes from the Clyro-esque, alt-rock brilliance that is middlenamekill, the grunged out, trashed pop anthems of The Starkers and a mellower opening set from acoustonauts One Day Remains.
At The Arts Centre, Steve Forbert will be playing to promote his new album, Over With You, more intimate Americana that has caused his career to be likened to Gram Parsons, Warren Zevon and even Bob Dylan. Meanwhile at The Beehive The Imprints stop off on their way to Glastonbury Festival to enchant you with music built from gypsy inspired melodies underscored with dreamy dub grooves. And what is it about bands from Melbourne, Australia playing round here? You’ll see what I mean by the time the summer is out.
If solo acoustic acts are more your thing then Charlie Anne is at The Royal Oak and Ali Finneran is at The Rolleston. Tribute fans are catered for at The Victoria with The David Bowie Experience and punk and new wave covers can be found at The Wheatsheaf courtesy of Going Underground.
If you like your Reggae, then the club night at The Victoria on Saturday will feature guest DJ – MC Ranks plus their usual coverage of all things ska, reggae, rocksteady, dub and dancehall.
At The Arts Centre, the quite brilliant Sarah Gillespie (pictured)will be taking the stage, part Lucinda Williams, part PJ Harvey but always, lyrically smart, humourous and poignant, and musically a hook laden blend of gypsy jazz, folk and blues. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
On Sunday, another Glastonbury traveller drops in to The Beehive on his way back to Los Angeles. Bob Malone is a keyboard virtuoso who jumps between, blues, boogie-woogie, blue-eyed soul, classic rock and pop without managing to lose his own identity. Old school rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly is on the menu at The Sun Inn with Josie and The Outlaw.