I’m not one for hero worship, not in music at any rate. Musicians are just normal people – gifted, imaginative, talented, some times even genius but human none the less. The one exception I do make is for a man born this day in 1952 and who made his music under the name Joe Strummer. As a member of The Clash he helped defined not only what punk music could be but also what it could evolve into once the revolution had run it’s short course. As a member of The Mescaleros he mixed rockabilly, punk, ska and world music flavours to great effect but it is his humanity that I find myself drawn to. Even at the height of his fame, he epitomised the man in the street and seemed genuinely concerned about civil rights, the environment and encouraging new musical growth which still continues via his legacy, Strummerville. You can keep your musical genius; give me the flawed but charismatic anarchist any day.
Okay, I may be biased about Songs of Praise nights at The Victoria, but I will say that tonight’s show is the first of a run of gigs that is bringing in some great out of town acts, mainly because they booked every local act they know to put The Shuffle together. That said, having seen the diary, fans of original music are in for a real treat and for a short while at least Thursday is the new Saturday. Tonight for example you can catch Dirty 6 at their first Swindon show, an upbeat and infectious outfit who effortlessly weave a wide range of music genres into a tapestry of unique, swirling, danceable indie anthems. Taking the middle slot is Basingstoke quintet Flashfire (pictured)s who have recently recorded their debut album in California with Brian Wheat of Tesla. But this is no MTV rock outfit, all I will say is be sure to wear your dancing trousers you are going to need them. Opening up are new kids on the local block Sahara Heights.
Out at Riffs Bar is a musical tribute to one of the stalwarts of the folk and acoustic scene Terry Hunt who sadly passed away in June. Helping to remembering him on what would have been his 65th birthday will be Ells and The Southern Wild, Corky, Dylan Q. his regular musical partner J.C. Leonard, Sean and Daryl from Bateleurs and a headline slot from Missin’ Rosie.
Friday sees a Swindon ex-pat return to play his first ever hometown gig since leaving these shores over 30 years ago. Jittery Jack brings his brand of 50’s soaked rockabilly to The Victoria with support from home-grown rock ‘n’ roll sensations Josie and The Outlaw.
At The Rolleston the “head boy of the new blues breed” according to Classic Rock Magazine, will be channelling the feel and vibe of the likes of Robin Trower, Buddy Guy and Rory Gallagher. So catch Laurence Jones in full band mode before he is whisked off to superstardom.
Meanwhile, out at Riffs Bar the man with the iron tonsils, Steve Grimmett is having a birthday bash. Normally found fronting Grim Reaper, Steve will be fronting his other band, Soundbites and treating you all to a nice slice of classic rock covers. Support comes from far too young and far too talented metallers Twisted State of Mind.
Saturday is the day of rock…it’s official. Classic rock covers from Broken Image at the Swiss Chalet on Saturday covering everything from AC/DC and Black Sabbath to Iron Maiden and Dio whilst at The Rolleston Priest Unleashed will be covering everything from Judas Priest to…well, that’s it really. For something a bit different, but admittedly not terribly different, you can catch a tribute to The Doors at The Victoria.
On Sunday at The Rolleston you can catch The Great Nothing playing retro to contemporary rock covers. (Anyone see a theme developing here?) If you are looking for something original musically, then head for The Big Sunday Funday at Riffs Bar in conjunction with Swindon 105.5 community radio station. Along with stalls, a barbeque and lots of stuff for the kids you can catch music from Jimmy Moore, Charlie Anne Bradfield and those Latino Jazz men Gilmore and Jaz. But it’s not just original acoustic music as you get a second chance to catch Soundbites play classic rock standards and Riffs Travelling Dance Band cover the glam, funk and disco hits of yesteryear.