Apparently everyone remembers where they where when Kennedy was assassinated. Similarly everyone remembers where they were when they first heard of the attack on the World Trade Centre. On a more parochial level, everyone with at least a passing interest in Swindon’s music scene remembers where they were when they heard that Dave and Anna were selling the Victoria. But after months of speculation (for a while people almost had me convinced that I had bought it!) it appears that not only is the venue in safe hands under the captaincy of Darren and Violet, but it is very much business as usual.
I’m sure I speak for pretty much all of the local music scene when I say a very big thank you to Dave and Anna for making The Victoria the success story that it is, supporting all genres of music, from local to international, original, covers and tributes (we’ll gloss over the karaoke bit!) and generally making the place one of the corner stones of the town’s music scene. On a more personal note, thank you for giving ideas such as Songs of Praise and The Swindon Shuffle a chance back when they were the mere ramblings of a drunken promoter on the back of a cigarette packet. (Not me, another rambling, drunken promoter.) See you guys at the bar sometime, there’s a few drinks on me, or you…whatever!
Right, to business. Tonight provides a wealth of acoustic acts across a couple of venues. The regular Acoustic Buzz night at The Beehive has the world weary, heartfelt, country laments of Boss Caine, the more perky upbeatness (that is a word, I looked it up) of Jane Allison plus your regular host in the form of Blind River Scare.
Meanwhile back at the aforementioned Victoria the top bar has some very strong competition from the musical dexterity and diverse sounds of Nick Felix, Ben McDanielson, Benji Clements and Jimmy Moore.
Bit of a bluesy edge going in to Friday, firstly with Gwyn Ashton at The Beehive, a man that not only reproduces the sounds of pre-war delta blues with authenticity and attention to detail but who probably has Mississippi mud flowing through his veins instead of the usual red stuff. Jim Blair’s trademark funky blues lap guitar playing and whiskey cracked vocals can be found at The Rolleston. Coldplay fans can get their fix at The Victoria with Coolplay (I see what they did there) plus The Sleeves who will get the night started with a selection of modern indie classics.
Saturday brings a bit of a treat and it’s nice to see original, local, contemporary music being given an airing at The Old Town Bowl’s Garden Party, not that I have anything against Tight Fit and Modern Romance but …no, let’s not open that can of worms again! The line up provides another outing for the soulful acoustic groove of Benji Clements, Billyjon’s smooth balladry, see’s Jim Blair in full band mode with Hip Route, has the soaring, anthemic rock of False Gods and is topped of with AJ Live and A & T. Definitely something for everyone there.
Back indoors there is more great music to be had. At The Rolleston in a last minute substitution for Hot Flex, ex-pat, David Marx brings in his latest incarnation of The AK Poets, playing melodically explosive, high octane, rain ‘n’ napalm licks; a rock and roll band that does what it says on the tin.
That dapper chap about town, Gig Monkey has a bit of coup in bringing Bite The Buffalo (pictured) to The Victoria. Fuzzy, heavy grooved rock ‘n’ roll that immediately transports you to a smoke hazed, backstreet drinking dive in Ladbrook Grove at 3am sometime in 1968. Support comes from Tommaso Galati and his punk attitude, acoustic guitar attacks and 2 piece grunge noise merchants Boss Cloth.
Sunday brings you something a bit more suited to the day of rest. Tim Graham and Robin Grey set out again to combine their love of folk music and cycling to bring Pedalfolk back to The Central Library for a second time. If you like innovative yet unfussy acoustic music this is the place to be. It is also the place to be to experience the quiet majesty of Rumour Shed and the retro folk jangle of Mr Love and Justice.
As usual the week jumps along to Wednesday and the twin acoustic session that now vie for your beer money. At The Running Horse is Ali Finneran and Rachel Austin and the Roaring Donkey provides a second opportunity to catch the romanticism and dark lyrical undercurrents of Billyjon.