Not quite local but close enough and big enough to warrant a mention, the ever wonderful, ever family friendly Wytchwood Festival takes place this weekend. Located at The Cheltenham racecourse and very much in the same vein as the other big regional event WOMAD, this festival is the perfect antidote to the crass commercialisation and overt hipsterism of many of the big music gatherings around these days. Mixing stalwart acts such as The Wonder Stuff and world music icons like Ladysmith Black Mambazo with the best of the newer breed -Lucy Rose, Ghostpoet and Demob Happy – Wytchwood is a great weekend out for all the family with only the appropriate amount of beards and check shirts to be seen.
The perfect warm up to that event can be found around Old Town tonight. The big name that all on trend types will be dropping (excuse the industry speak) is Coco and The Butterfields who can be found at The Arts Centre. These Canterbury buskers mix raggle-taggle folk, accessible pop and hip-hop beat boxing into wonderful genre-hopping fusions. Forget Mumford and The Whale and all that overly earnest fashion-folk, this is where the genres real future lies.
The Beehive plays host to The Walker-Broad Band, a duo who have blended their passion for folk, blues and jazz into a wonderfully emotive sound that is as at home in a late night lounge bar as it is an old school back-street boozer as The Beehive.
Something a bit special is happening at The Victoria as The Cadbury Sisters (pictured) return to Songs of Praise, this time with a new musical direction. Without losing those amazing harmonies that they are renowned for, musically they have moved into a less roots, more commercial place, the result is a fantastic, otherworldly dream-pop sound. Fellow musical soundscapers, Wasuremono, also add some ethereal vibes and opening the night is the brilliant George Wilding who seems to channel an acoustic, Bowie meets Nick Drake sort of sound.
Friday sees the mercurial Alan Clayson and The Argonauts return to the scene of former musical crimes, The Beehive. Operating on rocks lunatic fringe, Clayson and his band deliver a baroque ‘n’ roll experience, one that is difficult to put into words, so I won’t even try, just go along, be amazed and think of your own superlatives. The Castle will be rocking to the sounds of The Teddy White Band, a ridiculously soulful blend of vintage R’N’B, blues, beat and boogie with a unique blend of vocal harmonies and an effortlessly cool delivery.
It’s Bands and Burlesque night at The Victoria so expect sensuality, costumes, humour and tease plus music from Rockabilly Rumble, making the night a wonderful cultural clash along the lines of The Kit Kat Club meets the late, great Johnny Burnette.
At the Rolleston The Pistol Slapper Blues Band play tribute to the music of Rory Gallagher. Those in the know will have picked up the reference in the bands name, but whether you did or not expect a night of electric blues, which bounces from the barnstorming to the bewitching to the just plain beautiful at the flick of a wrist.
Saturday also has its fair share of covers and tributes. Catch the music of Led Zeppelin at The Victoria with Black Dogz, and The Chaos Brothers will be using the twin weapons of punk and rock covers and bawdy humour to entertain and insult The Rolleston in equal measure. Psychobilly, punk and ska can be found at The Woodlands Edge courtesy of The Corsairs but original music fans also have a couple of great options. Either you can head down to The Queens Tap to catch Reginald Road, whose music is woven from threads of punk, ska, rock and reggae or catch some rock at The Castle with The Damned and The Dirty and Zero Return; two bands that really kick some arse and cut the mustard.
We end our trawl through the musical diary at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday for the welcome return of Sue Hart and her charming and witty folky-Americana creations.