So we made it then? Here we are at another last round up of the year, another year older, not necessarily wiser.  According to my loosely kept records this is the two hundred and tenth column I have written suggesting and promoting live shows around town. Add to that a few additional album reviews and the like and I make that about 150,000 words fired off into the ether hopefully to catch peoples attention and get them along to gigs. This is starting to sound like a resignation letter, fear not, it isn’t (or sorry, it isn’t… depending on your view point) I was just reflecting on how much of my musing and lyrical waxing had been sent out into the big wide world. Too much? Quite possibly!

Naturally this is a quieter week in the live gig department as people are off doing the family thing, work outings, reunions with out of town friends and the like, but t

here are still a few things that I would like to draw your attention too.

The Victoria, the venue that never seems to miss the opportunity to put on a gig or throw a party, will be moving it’s regular Wacky Wednesday to Boxing Day for the usual karaoke madness with a Christmas theme. Cheesy it maybe but the alternative is watching Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas or re-runs of Miranda! That should put things into perspective.

More silliness continues to be on offer at The Victoria on Friday with the Kova Me Badd annual end of year extravaganza…and I use the word extravaganza quite wrongly. The best way to describe Kova Me Badd is as a parody of a cover band, think of all of the worst songs ever to feature on a “Now…” album, add bad jokes and worse costumes and you have a rough idea what to expect. Never have a band carried the tag “so bad it’s brilliant” so well.

Two nice slices of nostalgia are on offer the same night. At The Rolleston, The Hamsters from Hell will be unleashing their trade mark rhythm ‘n’ booze; words such as raucous, bawdy, chaotic and booze-fueled are sure to appear in any review of the show. Meanwhile The Beehive are offering up Gray Roots, a one off jam session featuring the stalwarts of the local scene, including – Pete Cousins, Brendan Hamley, Rob Beckinsale and Paul Henry.

Something a bit more of the moment can be found at The Victoria in the guise of SN Dubstation a band who blend trippy synths, skanking guitars and pulsing, infectious back beats into a cocktail of reggae, dance, ska and dub. More traditional fare comes from a rare outing to The Beehive by Simplee Simon, “a singer of these ageless times, with kitchen prose and gutter rhymes” as the quote goes.  Expect folk tunes, country ditties, sing-alongs, silliness and audience participation.

Those still looking for some tribute band action can have their thirst sated at The Rolleston with a bit of dual guitar classic metal as Powerslaves bring you the music of Iron Maiden.

If, by Sunday, you still are up for a bit of a Christmas shindig then the afternoon session at The Beehive is the place to keep the musical momentum going. Rumour Shed (pictured) will provide the chilled and majestic calm before the storm before The Shudders crank it up a few notches with their energetic fusion of indie infused country rock.

Later that evening The Victoria is hosting a John Lennon tribute night with a host of local bands paying homage to the man wrote some of pop music’s most iconic songs….and Imagine.

Finally, if you are still at a loose end what to do on New Years Eve, there are probably parties everywhere but of a musical note are Breeze at The Victoria,  Riffs Bar Winter Ball, (Black Tie dress code) featuring the Hi-Fidels, Echo and Riffs Traveling Dance Band and  Snatch It Back at The Rolleston, heavy psychedelic blues featuring the original Groundhogs drummer.

And finally on a personal note, thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this column, and comment on it (positively or otherwise) plus a very  special thanks to all the bands, venues, punters and promoters who have kept music alive in Swindon….and thus me in a job. Here’s to an even better 2014.