I often get the feeling that I am the protagonist in the latest Dan Brown novel. But this time instead of being a Harvard Symbologist searching for the meaning of the Holy Grail or trying to save priests from an Illuminate plot, it is set in a west country railway town and I am on a break-neck, historic quest, unravelling clues and wrestling gig information from a shadowy cult made up of venue owners and promoters who have also sent an albino sound engineer to thwart my efforts. Still if Dan Brown’s clichéd style holds true I will probably get paired up with a young, European stunner as the “will they, won’t they” love interest, so things aren’t so bad.
But safe guarding the descendant of Christ is one thing, I’m just trying to put together an accurate and informative gig guide and it really shouldn’t be this difficult. I would have thought that in these fiscally tricky times, venues and promoters would be putting even more effort into trying to draw punters into their shows, but if an expert gig goer (and if experience is measured in hours spent leaning on a bar, pint in hand watching local bands then I am pretty top of my game) like myself can’t root out the relevant information from websites and (anti-) social networking sites, then what hope has the casual enquirer. Come on folks, work with me here or don’t moan when the door count to your gig only just scrapes double figures. Help me to help you before more venues go out of business or stop promoting music.
Anyway, with the information I have been able to wrestle from elusive, mystic guardians at gunpoint, here are some things to do over the coming week.
The Victoria has a bit of a treat for you tonight as those splendid chaps at Sheer Music bring Brighton band of the moment, Verses, to the stage. Intelligent, hook driven, dynamic rock music is on the menu and if you like what you hear you can be amongst one of the first to pick up their debut album, Feel It Faster. Support comes from the no less talented Take the Seven and local bands All Ears Avow and Somewhat Snakes.
Those looking for something all together more rootsy might find what they are looking for at The Beehive as Christopher Rees weaves soulful folk around spectral blues and ends up with a wonderfully unique sound.
If metal tributes are your thing, then there is only one place to be on Friday, The Victoria. The Big Four Tribute Band go further than similar acts, four times further in fact, as they replicate the music of Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica. Consisting of members of UK metallers, Betrayal, and with five years behind them in this guise, you know that they will be more than capable of pulling off such a feat.
Meanwhile, music biographer, musician and leader of his own personal band of Argonauts, Alan Clayson (pictured) will be fronting a show at The Beehive that pretty much defies description, so all I will say is go along, watch and make your own mind up about this truly original performer. The Arts Centre has The Ben Waters Band, energetic boogie piano at it’s finest taking in rock, jive and ska, not only one of Jools Holland’s top ten piano players but trivia fans might like to know that Ben is also PJ Harvey’s cousin.
Saturday plays host to mainly covers and tributes, the music of Pink Floyd can be heard at The Victoria whilst 1000 Planets play a mix of rock, industrial and goth covers plus originals in a similar vein from this years release Pay The Price. Rock, pop and indie covers can be found at The Swiss Chalet courtesy of Switch and original music comes from the often shambolic, always entertaining Hamsters From Hell at The Castle. If you like the idea of mixing great food with sublime music then the dulcet and exotic tones of Skins and Strings will provide the perfect musical backdrop at Asiana in Old Town.
The penultimate mention is for Shaun Buswell’s show on Tuesday. After setting himself the challenge to meet, write for, rehearse and gig with an orchestra of total strangers, he is now taking a Dave Gorman style presentation of the whole project to The Edinburgh Festival and you can catch a preview at The Victoria. Finally on Wednesday, stalwart jazzmen and all round good eggs, Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz play The Roaring Donkey.