When people say to me that there is no really good original music being promoted in this town it is always an occasion that makes me have to bite my lip and count to twelve (in 3/4 time just to prove a point) before questioning how hard they are actually looking for it. Some of the most interesting and therefore sadly less well supported bands, will end up taking mid week gigs just to get any exposure at all. If you limit your music gathering exploits to the weekends only, the business of running a successful venue dictates that you will only be exposed to the more obvious, more mainstream types of music. If you are more creative in search you can find some absolute gems. In the last few weeks I have seen a Californian madman playing freaky psych-pop; a Bristolian ensemble who sounded like the love child of XTC and The Bonzo Dog Band; fiddle fronted, symphonic grunge; sweeping, cinematic, indie dreamscaping and intricate math-pop from the deserts of the American South West. Not bad for a town that supposedly has nothing original to offer.
Which brings me all rather neatly to quite an interesting package of bands on at Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight. Super Squarecloud have made their name through not quite throwing away the rule book but by cutting it up and sticking it back together in strange ways to create music that is a riot of art and experimentation and a clash of the avant-garde and the techno-geek. Support comes in the guise of darkwave-psychobilly (now there’s a mix) The Pink Diamond Revue and the mad, intense, confrontational wall of sound that is Babies vs Rabies. If anyone ever tells you that this town doesn’t try to push it’s own musical limits, just remind them of this line up.
Music with a broader appeal can be found at The Beehive as new kids on the musical block, EMA Sunshine, offer up smooth and sultry alt-pop tunes.
Friday comes up trumps out at Riffs Bar in the form of bluesmen Neil Willis and Ian O’Regan who join forces to play R’n”B both old and new with a variety of guest singers and players to help mix it all up a bit. The Rolleston plays host to Stat-X who will be playing songs by the likes of Nirvana, The Foo Fighters, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Bon Jovi meanwhile fans of The Police should head up to The Victoria for a fine tribute to their music.
The Erin Bardwell Collective are your one stop shop for all things old school reggae, ska and rocksteady and on Saturday at The Royal Oak they are playing a bit of a one off special with a trawl through their back catalogue and featuring guest Recoldo Fleming from their Skankster days. Things get a bit heavier at The Victoria with a range of rock and metal covers and originals from Hot Flex and Iron Hearse.
If high octane electric blues is your thing then it doesn’t come better than Jamie Thyer’s Worried Men at The Rolleston. Seasoned guitar-slingers and one of the hardest working bands on the circuit, they not only deliver the goods musically but also work hard to ensure a lively and memorable performance.
If you want to make the most of the sunshine whilst soaking up musical vibes as well then Sunday sees the regular Lazy Sunday Afternoon show return to the bandstand in the Town Gardens. Hosted by those lovely pastoral-jangle-pop merchants, Mr Love and Justice, this time they are joined by the acoustic showcase that is FieldFare (make sure you pick up a copy of their e.p. Summer’s Dress, it’s quite brilliant,) and the soothing sounds of Ellie Ponting.
A new band that is making a bit of a name for themselves are Reginald Road and they can be found at The Sun Inn. Roots, rock rebels who put covers through the blender or offer up their own future classics, either way they are a band to catch.
Wednesday brings you some great acoustic driven music, either in the form of Kitchen Sink Dramas at The Roaring Donkey or get down to The Running Horse for the official launch party of the Swindon Shuffle with the brilliant celtic party band that is Grubby Jack (pictured) , the laidback vibes of Ethemia and the engaging and emotive sounds of Ben Maggs.