Despite current perceptions, a lot of cool bands do play Swindon, many from the national circuit and many have at least written a footnote in the annals of music history. Tonight, a full blown cult supergroup hits town, a band whose past exploits have not only shaped my record collection but have provided some fabulous live experiences too, yet I suspect most people have never heard of them. Who? The Peckham Cowboys, (pictured) that’s who.
With a history that stretches back through such bands as The Quireboys, Mott The Hoople, Cheap ‘n’ Nasty and Primal Scream they certainly have an impressive CV, but if your mental image of a supergroup is Journey or worse. …Asia, then you are in for a shock. Looking like The Stones had open a used car lot in Dagenham and sounding like a dark and sleazy, musical anti-Christ to The Faces angelic clatter, this is a band you really need to catch and you can do so at Level 3 tonight.
Songs of Praise at The Victoria sees the welcome return of Alex Rainsford in full band mode. Blending driving folk sounds with pop aware rock dynamics; think George Ezra meets Catfish and The Bottlemen, and a sound that delivers soaring crescendos as easily as it does hushed atmospherics. Support comes from Charlie Bath with a little help from some friends and opening the night is the brilliant Polar Front.
Funky blues and slide guitar eloquence is on the cards at The Beehive on Thursday and already I’m thinking if that is just day one it is going to be one hell of a week for music.
And Friday provides no let up. Staying at The Beehive, Bruise are back in town. This unique duo enhance the pop savvy and sassiness of The Eurythmics and the sensibilities of Joni Mitchell and will be unlike anyone you have seen before. And talking of uniqueness, just up the hill you can find Black Cat playing at The Castle, a band I have yet to find adequate words to describe…let’s just say it will be an experience.
The bigger venues are on the map with The MECA hosting a show to raise money and awareness for Threshold Housing Link under the banner of Hope For The Homeless with The Corsairs, Mid Life Crisis, Over Complicated, Lucy Fur and Homer collectively playing covers from all genres and all eras. The other big stage comes with The Oasis providing the location for UB40 and their pop-reggae back catalogue of pop-reggae hits.
Other options are funk and soul classics reworked in their own inimitable style by The Heist at The Locomotive, Who’s Next reliving the glory days of Acton’s finest, The Who, at The Victoria and Vice Versa delivering indie classics from across the years at Rolleston. Level 3 plays the rock card again, this time with a double package tribute to a couple of giants of classic rock with Whitesnake UK and The Scopyons.
Saturday has a fairly eclectic mix on offer. At The Victoria The Erin Bardwell Collective become the pick-up band for the dub master himself, Dennis Bovell. An ex-member of reggae giants Matumbi and a renowned producer, here Dennis returns to the rocksteady and reggae that are never far from his heart.
At The Locomotive and after nearly a 20-year break, Monkfish are back together. A mercurial blend of gothic-Americana – think an early Fields of the Nephilim jamming Johnny Cash songs. Weird? A bit but certainly like nothing else in town this week. Support comes from Oscillator in solo mode.
The Castle has the madness and mayhem of The Chaos Brothers, punk and garage rock classics put through the blender and at The Rolleston the sweet harmonies and perfectly pitched popular songbook that is Juicy Acoustic offer a sweet polar opposite.
This week also sees the start of the new season of Lazy Sunday Afternoon sessions at The Central Library where your hosts, Mr Love and Justice are joined by the gypsy jazz, klezmer, folk fusions of Whiskey Moon Face and the hazy pastoral folk of Rivers of England.
Final mentions go to Space…yes, the actual 60’s referencing post-punk sampling, Britpoppers Space who play The Victoria on Wednesday and at the same time just around the corner you can catch the raw, folk-rooted, punk tinged acoustica of B-Sydes and the gentler vibes of Heartwork at The Roaring Donkey.
That’s quite a week.