It’s not often that you get the offer to time travel, well, a Delorean and a mad scientist are hard to come by these days. Okay not time travel more like nostalgia surf as a friend of mine was trying to persuade me that the idea of an 80’s retro party might be something I might like. There was then a description of how they would all be in day-glo garments, jumpsuits, shoulder pads, leg warmers and the like. I may be of the right age but that really isn’t the eighties that I lived through. Whilst the denizens of such a gathering may have a rose tinted hankering for Wang Chung’s Everybody Have Fun Tonight or Chic’s Boogie Wonderland, I spent a lot of that time in muddy fields and Student Union bars surrounded by people in donkey jackets, DM’s and Cole Not Dole T-shirts! I suspect that the DJ on the night wouldn’t take kindly to requests of Bauhaus’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead or The Specials dystopian classic, Ghost Town.
I don’t get this odd recollection of the eighties being about throw away pop and brash costume.This was a decade when The Smiths had 15 top 30 hits outgunning the quintessentially 80’s acts like Go West four times over. Bands such as ABC, Bananarama, Ultravox and Toyah all failed to hit the number one spot, a feat achieved by a quartet of socialist oiks from Hull called The Housemartins. Nostalgia isn’t what it use to be…quite literally.
Okay, enough of the past, lets bring it bang up to date with what live music you can experience this week. Tonight the Beehive have something that couldn’t be more “of the now” in the shape of Fatmagic, a band who make electronic music and mix it with the usual live instruments but also cello and violin. The result is an ever shifting sound that meanders through pop, dance and dubstep but with folky hooks and classical phrases. Now that’s how you move music on.
More traditional but equally great music can be found also in the top bar of The Victoria with Albion and their new take on timeless English folk music.
Roots driven music also features on Friday as Batelers grace the stage of The Rolleston with their joyous blend of celtic rhythms, pastoral folk and old time americana but elsewhere fans of the noisier end of the spectrum are well catered for as well. Firstly over at Riffs Bar, The Secret Chord is offering up a line up of the best noise merchants in the business. Gloriously ranty, often offensive and superbly tight 2 piece punk band, 2 Sick Monkeys is the main draw but added muscle comes in the shape of Headcount, a punk-metal collision who channel the raw and confrontational energies of the likes of Therapy? and Killing Joke. The night opens via the welcome return of GagReflex,(pictured) who have been described as “ A two headed punk rock machine – small enough to tour in a car; big enough to take your face clean off.” Charming!
Other noisesome options are 1000 Planets playing punk, goth and alt-rock covers at The Beehive and a double header tribute at The Victoria to the music of Rammstein and Metallica. Retro-pop fans will find what they are looking for at The Arts Centre as Voulez Vous relive the heady days of Abba.
Saturdays contribution to original music is best found at The Victoria with The Blue Trees and their rootsy americana with a distinctly southern feel, Jon Trowbridge and his driven yet soulful piano grooves and back on the scene after a bit of a hiatus, Marky Thatcher. Fans of classic rock and metal covers will be congregating at The Rolleston for Shepherds Pie.
Sundays offerings will take you to more formal venues. You can catch Whole Lotta Led (Led Zeppelin) at The Wyvern Theatre though culture vultures might want the more chilled experience of the saxophone and piano of Sarah Markham and Paul Turner kicking of the 20th Anniversary Season of The Swindon Recital Series at The Arts Centre.
Wednesday rounds the musical week off with a David Marx in solo mode, minus his fellow AK-Poets at The Running Horse and those latin jazz legends Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Roaring Donkey.