It was interesting to recently read that Tesco are stocking vinyl records in some of their stores as the sales of the format rise to mid-90’s levels. Admittedly the selection is limited to mainly the high volume end of the mainstream market but it is still an interesting trend. Are people getting bored with the digital world? Do they actually want something physical to show for their money? Can we expect wax cylinders to be the next retro-experiment and perhaps the return of the Pathe newsreel on our TVs? And of course the more pertinent question is will this reversal of trends cross over into support for “real time, actual live people playing music at you” type of gigs? We can only hope.
And talking of real time, actual live, people playing music at you type gigs, here’s a few to wrap your ears around. At The Beehive tonight you can find the monthly outing for Acoustic Buzz and this weeks offerings coming in the guise of Shootin’ The Crow, old time country meets rock and roll plus effervescent pop-folk pixie Tamsin Quin. The night is opened, as always, by your host Blind River Scare.
Fans of the Loaded/lad culture phenomena that came to be known as Brit-pop should head to the Victoria on Friday (preferably draped in a Union Jack sporting a feather cut and a Fred Perry tee.) The reason? Oasish and Stereotonics will be paying tribute to two of the eras biggest names. Also revisiting past musical glories, Barrelhouse at The Rolleston will be keeping alive vintage blues classics with a hard edge groove.
If you are looking for something original then there are a couple of wonderful options, especially with the return of We Ghosts to The Beehive. This Anglo-Swedish trio trade in drifting ambience and rootsy acoustica and are definitely a band you need to catch live. The second option is a much more mercurial affair. Brainiac 5 were a sort of esoteric, Cornish punk outfit, much loved by the late John Peel, who in recent years have reformed and released a new album. If you need a local benchmark to measure them by, note that auralcandy is the support for this, an equally unclassifiable bunch once dubbed “The Blockheads meets Crazy Horse.” You have been warned.
Old time country, rockabilly, r’n’b and blues collide head on at The Rolleston on Saturday as Las Pistolas bring their high-octane twang, slap bass and swing to town. If you are looking for something truly different then how about a 9-piece ukulele band? Strong vocals, that Hawaiian vibe, unexpected covers, quirky originals, fun and mayhem courtesy of The Ukey D’Ukes at The Beehive.
After that things take a turn down more familiar routes. The Victoria plays host to Shepherds Pie, probably the biggest name on the local and regional circuit when it comes to delivering songs from the golden era of classic rock and at Riffs Bar they have their second of their Back to The 80’s Christmas parties, live music from that era, a disco, festive food, late bar and more. (Leg warmers sold separately.)
Other nostalgic trails will lead you to The Locomotive and Catch 22 who play pop and rock from all eras and The Bright Eyes who will be getting the party underway at Level 3’s 70’s themed Christmas shindig. (Not to be confused with Conor Oberst’s acclaimed indie-rockers with an extremely similar title.)
Oddly enough one of the best days for original music is Wednesday. Not only can you find the wonderful Jim Blair at this weeks The Roaring Donkey session regaling the audience with honeyed vocals and dexterous slide guitar playing but also there is also some stiff competition from two other original music shows. At The Beehive, Berlin three-piece, FlyCatFly offer music that wanders between loud and impetuous, soft and fragile but which is always honest and charming. Plummie Racket is on warm up duties.
Meanwhile The Victoria has Kris Roe, driving force behind The Ataris, currently undertaking his first solo tour in two years. Support for this comes from Raze*Rebuilt frontman Si Hall.