So all of the big events of the summer are over. Wimbledon is now no more than a faint whiff of barley water and Glastonbury, which now seems to host every British citizen who owns a guitar, is just a talking point around the water cooler of insurance firms the length and breadth of the Home Counties. Even the World Cup is done and dusted and Brazilians everywhere are already denying it ever took place whilst assiduously avoiding buying German produce. You have all watched the boxed set of Breaking Bad five times and it is least another month before shops start stocking up with their Christmas gift range, so what do we do now? Start going to local gigs again that’s what.
Unlike the acts at Glasto (ironic use of cringeworthy hipster slag) local gigs are good for the environment; the musical produce is locally sourced and puts money directly back into the local community. Plus you don’t risk the danger of having to watch Mumford and Sons!
What you can watch tonight, however, are three top acts at Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Headliner Theo Altieri does a neat line in indie-pop that channels a classic song writing tradition from early Beatles, through The Kinks, Paul Weller and is likely to soon be giving the Buggs and Sheerans of this world a run for their money. Support comes from The Greasy Slicks best described as the soundtrack to a Bourbon soaked bar brawl, mixing slick and raucous blues grooves, authenticity and energy in equal measure. Opening the night are The Automanics a blend of warped swamp riffs, cosmic workouts, psychedelic interludes proggy structures and much more besides.
A stalwart of the acoustic music circuit is Ron Trueman Border who delivers instantly accessible songs with lyrical resonance and dexterous musical lines. He is at The Beehive.
The talking point for a few weeks now has been the final Tides of Change show at Level 3. Over the past few years the band has developed into a cornerstone of the alt-rock scene and this show is to act as their swansong and wrap party all in one. Also helping them to go out in style are the slick and forceful tones of All Ears Avow, elegant post-rock from Liberto Wolf and pop punk from Highly Personal who take the place of the previously billed Natures. Sounds like a top night for rock fans. Meanwhile upstairs at The Rolleston, Humdinger plays rock and pop covers.
Rock is also on the menu at The Victoria, this time of the drunken pub R’n’B variety with The Hamsters from Hell. Think Dr Feelgood after four-day bender. Think Kilburn and The High Roads stuck in traffic along Fleming Way. Actually don’t think, just drink, dance, fall over and join the party.
A rival party with a nautical theme…piratical even, takes place at The Beehive with the arrival of Calico Jack to these waters. These festival favourites mix woe and wonderment, twisted tales, off kilter folk music, klezmer vibes, circus tomfoolery and general acoustic rowdiness. Not only great music but guaranteed to have you grinning from buccaneer to ear. (gedit?)
Saturday offers a couple of tributes. If you want to hear the music of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers then The Victoria is the place to be and head out to Riffs Bar if The Police are more your sort of thing. Going Underground at The Rolleston offer a range of post punk, ska and mod covers.
Winning the award for most air miles earned to get to a gig are The Very Most (pictured)who come all the way from Boise, Idaho to play The Victoria on Tuesday. A rich tapestry of post punk influences, the innocence of Belle and Sebastian and the lush Beach Boys vocal textures, this is a real must see band who probably won’t pass by this way again for a while. On tour with them is Glasgow’s The Yakuri Cable who mix synth-pop with indie guitar to wonderful effect. Opening the show is King in Mirrors who haven’t come very far at all.