So here I am once more, (extra points if you can guess which debut album starts with those lines) writing the intro to the last but one column of the year and a time to look back before moving forward towards the empty canvas that is 2015. As I repeatedly mention putting on live music these days is an increasingly difficult activity. The certainty of people willing to pay to see a band or turn up in sufficient numbers is something slowly being eroded by free access to music via downloads, streaming, TV, not to mention all the financial demands that a night out requires. So with that in mind I want to thank everyone still doing their best to keep live music on the Swindon map. To the venues, the bands, the engineers and most of all the punters who have turned up, supported and especially if you have bought merchandise and helped keep the bands fed and watered.
So where does it go next? Who knows, but as long as you all keep doing what you have done we keep the spirit alive and who knows next year might be when it all turns around. That’s something to aim for anyway. So for now I will leave you with the round up of gigs and knees-ups to take you through to Christmas in …well if not style, certainly with a smile on your face.
Starting in the usual place, the first of those party activities comes in the guise of Songs of Praise End of Year Shindig at The Victoria. For this final show they have lined up a whole pack of familiar musicians who have been an integral part of the Swindon musical story and reassembled them into new bands for this one off show. You won’t know quite what you are getting but you can guarantee that it will be totally unique and top quality.
More familiar territory is being explored at The Beehive with the cool swing and R’n’B vibes of The Teddy White Band, possibly the best thing to come out of Swindon since Diana Dors.
The party music really kicks in on Friday and what better way to celebrate than with the punked out Celtic folk of Missin’ Rosie (pictured) who are on crowd thrilling duties at The Rolleston. More exotic but no less rumbustious (good word) folk music can be found at The Beehive with the Balkan inspired Model Folk. The puntastic S-Hit 5 have their annual seasonal do at Riffs Bar and at The Victoria you can catch Oasish and Stereotonics paying tribute to…well, it shouldn’t require much imagination to work that out.
If you want something cool to take you into the early hours then slip on your dancing trousers and party away to Afrobeat, Funk, Hip-Hop and much more at Level 3 with DJ Mosco’s Christmas party night. Dress code is white.
Another stalwart event of the season talks place at The Victoria on Saturday as The 12 Bands of Christmas sees a dozen local original bands forego their usual genres and compete to perform the most unusual, out of character or downright silliest covers they can think of. Previous years have seen the Blowbacks turning Cliff Richard’s Devil Woman into a feedback-drenched tribute to Sonic Youth. Matt Kilford abandoning his usual restrained approach and screaming, “Lick my legs!” when covering PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’, and Si Hall somehow matching the stratospheric range of La Roux. You have been warned.
Another chance to throw caution to the wind and party like a loon is The Bassett Bulldogs FC gig, not only open to all and sundry but also featuring the talents of avant-garde, indie-popsters, Nudybronque, the solid rock riffs of Edenfalls and the social commentary of troubadour Worried About Mike. Other options are rhythm ‘n’ booze mayhem at The Castle with The Hamsters From Hell, a tribute to classic rock with Shepherds Pie at The Rolleston and function band Paradox at The Swiss Chalet.
More familiar sounds on Sunday with The PreFab Four recalling The Beatles at The Swiss Chalet and Interlight playing classic songs from across the decades at The Victoria. But if you really want to party there is no better way to celebrate than with the punked out Celtic folk of Missin’ Rosie…hang on didn’t we do this already. Anyway they are at The Beehive.
Anyway, what every you chose to do this week, keep flying the flag of live music and have a great run up to Christmas.