It doesn’t seem too far back that I was using words like Autumnal and talking about nights starting to draw in or even discussing various summer music festival options and describing cool music to go with warm evenings. Now in what would seem just a blink of an eye we arrive at the towns Christmas lights switch on celebrations. Where has the year gone?
Yes, tonight you can catch all of the various festivities in Wharf Green …or Woof Green as it should be known, (just trying out my tabloid journalism techniques there) as Ashleigh and her dog Pudsey will be performing and pushing the plunger to illuminate the town with lights and fireworks. Also on offer is an Aerial Hoop performance from Emily Smith, a video message from Nigel Havers plus Swindon Dance, The Brunel Elves and Heart FM presenters Ben and Kirsten. All of which starts at 6.30.
Fans of rock are going to be well catered for by The Victoria in a number of forms this weekend starting tonight with an explosive Songs of Praise line up. The St Pierre Snake Invasion (pictured) has built up quite a reputation on the regional circuit and they headline tonight in a riot of energy, sarcasm and attitude channelled through a relentless flow of garage rock and punk tirades. Also recently turning a few heads alt-rock two piece Blindman’s Bastion who channel vibrant electric blues and classic rock vibes take the middle slot. Opening the show is GagReflex who have been concisely described as a two headed punk rock machine – small enough to fit in a car; big enough to take your face clean off. Sounds ominous!
More intricate sounds can be found at The Beehive as The John Langan Band bring their tour to town. Traditional folk vibes are re-packaged as high energy, slightly unhinged and musically extravagant pieces and launched on the audience with a wilfully punk abandonment. Other acoustic sounds come from AK-Poets (unplugged,) this stripped back presentation of their music can be found at The Wheatsheaf in Old Town, all the energy, songcraft and stage presence in a slightly less in your face package. If an old school fifties rock and roll vibe is your sort of thing then head to 20 At The Kings for the first hometown show from 58 Shakes.
Friday is going to act as a bit of a conduit for musical time travel. The Victoria has Spanish 80’s metalers Stop Stop, so expect the hair to be as big as the guitar riffs and the bands look to be as glammed up and as brash as the music. Support comes from a rare appearance of the beast that is known as Vinyl Matt. If the idea of Steel Panther warms the cockles of your…err, cockles, then this is the show for you.
Electric blues standards can be found at The Rolleston courtesy of Barrelhouse. Influenced by the golden age of Chicago and early British blues scenes, they put a hard-edged spin on the genre and if their pedigree is in any doubt bear in mind that the man behind the kit is none other than former Ataraxis Vibration beat keeper Dave Growcott. More blues can be found at The Beehive, this time in the form of elegant slide playing from The Kevin Brown Trio. Also doing some retrospective referencing is London Calling who pay tribute to The Clash at Level 3.
Saturday offers the regular covers and tribute options with the music of AC/DC at The Victoria and Blondie at Riffs Bar. At The Swiss Chalet you can experience a range of covers from The Jam to The Foo Fighters with Happy Accident. Original serving suggestions come from two of the towns’ best-loved bands. The Erin Bardwell Collective play their trade mark retro edged reggae, ska and rocksteady at The Rolleston and The Hamsters From Hell inflict their raw and riotous rhythm and blues on The Queens Tap.
Last mentions come for The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday as Songs of Praise (unplugged) has the funky, rappy, poppy, soulful acoustica of A.Koustiks.