They say old punks never die, they just stand at the back of the gig these days but there will be plenty of opportunity to recapture some of the vim and vigour of those past times via a string of gigs at The Victoria this week. The punk wars may be long over and it seems that they didn’t change the world, X-Factor, Clarkson and tweed wearing Daily Mail readers are the evidence of the defeat, but the survivors can take a break from discussing whether Oi bands was actually punk or not or the chances of a Newtown Neurotics reunion for a short while and recapture the spirit of their formative days.
And the first spikey slice is served up at The Victoria, tonight, in the form of a night of drum and bass….. as in a string of 2 piece punk bands musically armed with just bass guitar and drums. The charge is lead by local heroes 2 Sick Monkeys who mix frenzied music with even more frenzied between song rants. Joining them are art-noise merchants, Ghost of The Avalanche,(pictured) plus Gag Reflex and Downard.
If something a bit subtler is to your tastes then a trip to The Beehive might be on the cards as they host their monthly country and Americana flavoured Acoustic Buzz night. Having caught The Rosellys as a duo earlier this year, I can tell you that the prospect of a full band show is something you don’t want to miss. Forget the rhinestone and line-dancing image of country music, this band are the real deal. The local part of the bill comes courtesy of The Incredible Disappearing Boy – imagine Wilco having grown up in the M4 corridor plus your host Tim Manning’s celtic-country fusions.
Staying at The Beehive, on Friday you can catch The Jake Meeking Trio a musically schizophrenic, emotionally charged blend of blues, jazz and alt-rock. The second helping of The Victoria’s punky pie has a more ska-punk flavour and looks a lot like Slagerij. After supporting legendary US punk pioneers Dead Kennedys on their recent UK tour, this indomitable three piece bring the party back to their home turf. Joining them are thrash pop-punksters The Splash and the hard hitting Red Light Rebels.
Shades of Blue bring blues with a hint of rock to The Rolleston, think Robben Ford, Matt Schofield, Walter Trout and the go to reference of the moment, Joe Bonamassa – dynamic blues from a tight, experienced band.
Popular covers from across all genres and eras and a total party vibe are the order of the day at The Locomotive as The Shadow Monkeys roll into town. Get your dancing trousers on; it’s going to be a ball.
Saturday sees Sahara Heights take the stage at The Locomotive with their blend of shimmering indie and shoegaze references this is certainly a band who are blazing interesting trails so make sure you catch them so you at least have the “I remember them when…” anecdotes covered for when they make it big. Opening the show is Charlie Baxter who combines dance and indie music and deftly smashes them into each other in a big neon rave explosion…apparently. Sounds interesting.
The Rhythm Bombers hit The Rolleston to deliver rockabilly, dirty blues, psychobilly and old school rock ‘n’ roll, mixing originals with iconic covers and the last punk offering from The Victoria is Straighten Out, a tribute to The Stranglers. Their place in the punk canon can be debated until the cows come home but they created music that ran from the challenging and crude to supreme pop delicacies.
The Woodlands Edge and The Swiss Chalet both opt for the cover band option with In It For The Money and Cover Junkies respectively both playing a wide range of pop and rock classics.
And finally jumping to Wednesday and The Roaring Donkey, Neil Morris plays glorious acoustic folk-punk very much in the Frank Turner vibe and he is joined by Heartwork who adopts a gentler, hazy, late night approach.