To quote the venerable Sir Noddy of Holder…”It’s Chriiiistmaaaas!” ‘Tis the season that conjures up so many wonderful images, clichés roasting on an open fire, TV adverts featuring useless dads, stressed mums and heart-tugging sentimentality set to a minor key rendered indie classic. It is the season that sees Barry from Human Resources on his yearly trip to the pub in his wacky matching tie and socks and his desire to show everyone else how to have a good time. But thankfully it is also a season when live music is in the ascent and very little of it is playing the seasonal card, thankfully. So with more to fit in than a (insert Christmas cliché here) it’s on with the snow….I mean show.
Wonky pop and ultra cool indie vibes are at The Victoria tonight with the long awaited return of musical oddballs Super Squarecloud, a band navigating amazingly unique musical landscapes. Spikey pop from Jemima Surrender and slick indie from Honey Trap will also be happening. At The Beehive you will find the beat, blues and R’n’B of The Teddy White Band.
If you didn’t make it to Glastonbury this year, fear not, because on Friday Glastonbury is coming to you. Head to The Locomotive and you will find a line up of Somerset’s finest with the haunted musical box that is Flipron, the Waterboys-esque songwriting of Nick Parker and the bluesy, music hall vibe of Billy Shinbone.
And talking of blues, The Rod Garfield Blues Band can be found at Level 3 playing a mix of blues and rock classics and contemporary numbers, a band I can personally recommend, whilst upstairs at The Rolleston, fans of Birmingham’s Dark Lord can revisit the glory days of his solo work with The Wizards of Oz. Rod can also be found at the Rolleston lunchtime session on Sunday.
Other options include 1000 Planets playing a mix of originals and covers with a gothic, punk and new-wave vibe at The Beehive and at The Castle, funk, soul, pop and disco are on the cards with Felix and The Funk, time to break out some moves and groove the night away. And if you are looking for a full on Christmas party, The Bassett Bulldogs are having their annual bash at Riffs Bar, everybody welcome and music from The Novatones, All Ears Avow and The Harlers.
On Saturday one of the stalwarts of the local musical fixtures can be found at The Victoria. 12 Bands of Christmas is that one time of the year when bands normally found at the heart of the original scene chose a couple of the most cheesy, silly, unexpected, crass, classic and out of character tunes to cover. There is no space to list everyone involved but just go along and enjoy this version of the original music community’s works outing, it never disappoints. Riffs are also in the party mood with their final instalment of their 80’s Christmas Party’s; live music and records spun from that much maligned era, festive food, fun and frolics.
There is plenty of non-seasonal music still to be found with The Heist, one of the finest soul, funk and pop bands I have encountered in a long time, at The Rolleston, Peleton revisiting the Northern Soul groove at The Swiss Chalet, retro vibes a plenty with Josie and The Outlaw at The Castle and Kitchen Sink Dramas barbed social commentary and protest songs at The Locomotive.
Lazy Sunday Afternoon returns to The Central Library with the always-excellent Rosellys (pictured), British Americana at it’s finest. Joining them are the wonderfully named Yirdbards who make music that feels like the very embodiment of the English landscape plus your resident hosts Mr Love and Justice.
Later that same day you can bounce around to folk-rockers Missin’ Rosie at The Beehive, take a magical musical tour with The Prefab Four at the Swiss Chalet or enjoy party covers with Mid Life Crisis at The Castle.
Finally on Tuesday at The Beehive, Kid Calico and The Astral Ponies have their Christmas Ordinary. Named in their typically understated English fashion, musically this will be anything but ordinary as old school music hall meets psychedelia and quirky folk is subverted by underground Americana. Also on the bill is the brilliant Incredible Disappearing Boy. Biscuits not included.
So there you go, and I managed to get through describing this Christmas cracker of a musical week without resorting to cliché. Damn it!