10610718_10204028129436153_5315881325549068002_nWith a couple of major music gatherings taking place this week, we shall go once more unto the breach, without further ado.

The big one for your musical diaries is that stalwart of the local listings, Riffstock. Taking place throughout this weekend and raising money for a heap of charities and worthy causes, this iconic event has too many bands playing to list them all here, so I have just given you a taster to pique your interest but the full picture can be found on the venues website. Friday night ranges between the mercurial, progressive sounds of The Listening Device and the more direct punk machinations of 2 Sick Monkeys, with a special mention going to the anagrammatic Wes Bull a set where literally anything could happen. Saturday features a rare outing for cavernous sounding art punks, Sea Mammal, the incendiary punk-Americana of Coasters and the shimmering shoegaze referencing of Sahara Heights. Sunday is billed as the family day and perennial favourites Nudybronque, The Shudders and The AK Poets are all worth checking out.

The other major gathering is to be found at The Swiss Chalet on Sunday, who will be raising money for The Prospect Hospice via raffles and auctions, stalls and food, the musical line up features all the venues favourite cover bands and original solo players, such as Broken Image, Cover Junkies, Drew Bryant and Charlie Anne. Again get the full picture at their Facebook page.

So that’s this week’s specials board, now on to the regular menu (note to self, don’t write when you are hungry, it effects the language you use.)

This weeks main Songs of Praise show, tonight at The Victoria, is a bit of a roots music goldmine with the wonderfully named Kid Calico and The Astral Ponies(pictured) delivering a combination of lilting folk, rustic Americana and psychedelic workouts. Support comes from the ever-popular, ever-chilled, underground country vibes of Case Hardin and infectious folk-pop pixie Tamsin Quin.

Weird musical explorations are on the cards on Friday, firstly with the proggy-psychedelia, instrumental meanderings and retro references of The Automaniacs at The Beehive but also from Electric Sheep whose Zappa-esque experimentations can be found at The Rolleston. Former Ocean Colour Scene man Andy Bennett brings his solo work, which leans heavily in the direction of classic English songwriters such as Ray Davis and Paul Weller, to The Swiss Chalet. Fans of cover bands can opt for classic rock with The Ray Jones Band at The Castle or indie and rock with Vice Versa at The Victoria.

The Hamsters from Hell’s work rate moves between the positively glacial to the almost frantic, currently they seem to be in the latter mode and hence popping up at venues all over the place. If you want to catch their unique brand of R’n’B then get yourself up to The Victoria on Saturday. The Rolleston is the place to be for Rockabilly Rumble, authentic rockabilly with a twist and I have yet to decide if their cover of Echo and The Bunnymen’s finest hour, The Killing Moon, is brilliant or sacrilegious. I think it maybe both!

Elsewhere it is a scattergun of genres and era’s covered by Angel Up Front at The Woodlands Edge, Alter Chaos at The Swiss Chalet and Echo at The Castle. Not that I’m an expert on such things, but if I was going to go the tried and tested route I would head to Level 3 for Kova Me Badd who place tongues firmly in cheeks and destroy many of the favourite songs of your youth. Childhood memories will be ruined, the cause of music will be put back at least five years, and somehow it will still be brilliant.

Sunday is more of the same with The Tin Shack Band at The Rolleston and Juicy Acoustic, a duo who add loop pedal and percussion into the mix and push a few boundaries along the way, at The Castle.

The final musical call to arms comes on Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey with Ed Hanfrey Et Al. This three-piece outfit explore the traditional folk experience, blowing the dust off of timeless pieces and re-interpreting them for a modern audience.