We need to talk about Kanye. Now I’m not saying that he is personally responsible for a decline musical creativity but he certainly is a symptom of the way the modern music industry works. If the benchmark for “creative genius” (his own words) is an autotuned, vocoder drenched, bad karaoke routine set to samples and a brief duet with Lee Nelson, then is it any wonder that truly original music is currently playing a back foot, defensive stroke? If this is what it takes to be one of the biggest, and biggest selling, acts on the planet then it makes you worry for the integrity of music in the near future. Doesn’t it?
However you could argue that the root of new musical developments comes from revolution against the mainstream. Folk music, jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, punk, hip-hop, all began as the sound track to musical (and often social) revolution, so maybe future musicologists will thank Kanye for being the catalyst for change, though not in the way the self appointed musical messiah would have hoped.
But enough of the ivory tower endof the industry, what about the grassroots? Well, we are on much safer territory at The Victoria tonight when SNDubstation break out their infectious dub, reggae, and ska and fuse them into a highly energetic live show. Support comes from Conway, a band coming from similar genre-stock, so get your dancing trousers dusted off and start the weekend in style.
The big news for Friday is the launch of a new venue. The Locomotive in Fleet Street is opening its doors once more, this time as a dedicated music venue and making sure this first night goes with a bang, Interlight, one of the best cover bands on the circuit, will be providing some choice musical cuts to get the party rolling.
The Victoria will also be providing something a bit special as The Tribe (pictured) launch their new e.p. The Rise of The Tribe. Having caught their launch gig at the end of last year I can honestly say that what they do is second to none as a live experience. A solid reggae and funk core overlaid with hip-hop and dance grooves, soulful vocals and staccato rap deliveries. Add Melbourne based rapper, Lotek, into the equation and you have a gig hipper than a bearded guy with a lumberjack shirt and fedora drinking espresso from a jam jar whilst writing a food blog.
The rest of Friday takes a more cautious creative line with Bootleg Floyd over at Riffs Bar playing songs from Animals, Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here and The Killertones providing a tribute to the best of the ska and 2-Tone genres at The Swiss Chalet. For a more genre-hopping, chronologically fluid experience you have Hyperbolics at The Castle and The Great Nothing at The Rolleston.
Saturday’s original offerings cater for the rock crowd – The Damned and The Dirty and The Starkers at The Victoria offering classic and grunge centred songs respectively and At The Rolleston, Innes Sibun’s high-octane electric blues make a welcome return. Below at Level 3 you get the best of both worlds with Transmission, a tribute to the bleak but beautiful soundscapes of Joy Division with support from nu-gazers Sahara Heights whilst Distant Echoes remind us of The Jam’s past glories at The Swiss Chalet.
The second night of The Locomotive’s opening weekend plays host to Alter Chaos who pick out the best music from the last 40 years of rock to entertain you and if something of a more Caribbean origin is to your taste then the Shocks of Mighty DJ’s at The Beehive will be just what you are looking for.
Final mentions of the week are for Ray Jones at The Castle on Sunday and at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday Jack Moore performs a frenetic acoustic set, which references everything from Gogol Bordello to Queens of The Stone Age.