12049112_10153218800902075_4286407036404387466_nI’ve been noticing something recently regarding a strange relationship between the ages of musicians and their audience. In the cover and tribute world the ages of both are largely across the spectrum, as you would imagine but with original bands it is a different story. Whilst a great deal of new, original music is made by people under 30, the age of the audience is much higher. It seems that original, grassroots music is no longer an attraction to formative gig-goers, preferring rather to spend a weeks wages on bands that have already broken, are playing venues the size of a small planet and that the media says it is okay to like. Far be it from me to tell people what gigs to go to (although that is sort of my brief, I guess) but it is a worrying trend. Once us oldies have taken to our retirement homes to discuss the glory days of Sonic Youth and reassess the influence of The Fall, who will be ensuring that this vital breeding ground remains a viable first rung of the ladder? It’s a sobering thought.

For now though we remain spoilt for choice, so enjoy it whilst it lasts. Fans of acoustic acts have two options tonight. Jenna Witts (pictured) has a CV most musicians would be kill for, from Nerina Pallot, Show of Hands and Elkie Brookes to that Lakeman chap who is all the rage and if you head to The Beehive you can hear why via songs that are eminently memorable and a voice mature beyond her tender years.

Songs of Praise at The Victoria sees the welcome return of Phil Cooper, this time with a band in tow. The ex-Haiku front man has been compared to Neil Finn and Glen Tilbrook and with the slick song writing of Jamie R Hawkins and the mercurial George Wilding joining this seated, intimate gig it is certainly one to get excited about.

Friday offers up wealth of opportunity with Felix and The Funk bringing you contemporary and classic soul, funk and dance at The Victoria, Peloton covering the mod, soul, reggae and new wave standards at The Locomotive and Boy Le Monti bring the sounds of early ska and rocksteady to The Rolleston.

At Level 3 you can catch Elton and The Rocket Band perform the best of Elton John’s musical canon. People who worked closely with the man over the years say that this is as close as you can get to the real thing so why not have a night singing along to the likes of Daniel, Yellow Brick Road and that one about Tony Danza.

If The Who is more your thing then catch Johnny Warner Magic Bus at Commonweal School for a charity fundraiser and some fantastic music.

And if none of that takes your ear then head to The Beehive for Bill Smarme and The Bizness, old school rock’n’roll reworked for comedic affect; great band, dodgy lyrics…but it is all part of the charm

And talking of charm, if you haven’t seen Vienna Ditto before head to The Locomotive on Saturday for a wonderful blend of Tarantino-esque soundtracks, voodoo blues and gospel harmonies delivered by a jazz chantress and a mad professor. Intrigued? You should be. Support comes from Cursor Major, a wonderful retro-pop; oddball indie machine that proves that kookiness is next to godliness.

Elsewhere things are of a more familiar nature with a grunge double bill tribute to Nirvana and Pearl Jam at The Victoria, classic r’n’b from The Back Water Blues Band at The Rolleston and party covers from Penfold at Riffs Bar.

That just leaves two solo players to mention in despatches. Firstly, Jim Reynolds, old school blues, ragtime, folk and music hall acoustic brilliance at The Beehive on Sunday plus the more driven blues stylings of Ian O’Regan at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.