So there it goes, the old year done and the festive frolics over. Christmas is now just a few stray pine needles caught in the shag pile round the back of the sofa and New Years celebrations are but a blurred memory and the reason that you are out of Aspirin. Time to get on with the serious business of mucking about with music. And for the first full week back treading the boards there’s already a heady selection to chose from.
Kicking off tonight at The Victoria, Songs of Praise enters it’s tenth year with a wonderful slice of alt-rock. Polar Front rounded off a successful year by having one of their songs picked up for Vicki Pattinson’s fashion range TV advertisement. Tonight you can see just what all the fuss is about as they deliver dynamic blends of pop, R’n’B and indie. They are joined by one of my favourite discoveries of last year, Lionface, whose dark, dynamic, electronica enhanced pop-rock is a swift kick in the teeth to the mainstream.
Staying at The Victoria and a night of rock is on the cards as Ghosts of Machines launch their new e.p. Joined by Kamino, Mouri and Spiral Key, it is a night that covers a lot of bases – dystopian epics, progressive dexterity, stoner vibes and soaring crescendos are just the tip of the iceberg.
If something smoother is more you cup of Darjeeling, then you could head to The Rolleston to catch The Soul Strutters, a massively experienced soul/funk outfit who deliver a classic sound. It’s raw, powerful, groovy and most importantly, fun!
Along similar lines is Brother From Another (pictured) who can be found at The Locomotive. Playing in their acoustic duo format, this is about as chilled as it gets, smooth soul vibes and some of the most icon songs from the genre presented in their own, inimitable way.
Saturday has a distinctly rockier feel about it. Metal Gods, for example, sound like a live compilation the whole of the 1980’s Donnington Festival back catalogue, delivering iconic rock and metal from the likes of Judas Priest, Dio, Iron Maiden and of course Motorhead. They can be found at The Rolleston. At The Locomotive, The Blue Horizon offers something more roots driven and original. Heavy blues-rock boogie, razor wire guitars and an infectious groove, fans of Gallagher, Moore and Stevie Ray Vaughan should think of being nowhere else.
It all goes a bit punk and disorderly in Old Town, as 2 Sick Monkeys bring their ranting, relentless and raucous 2 piece punk art-attacks to bear on the audience at The Victoria. They are joined by the incendiary, old school, Brit-punk onslaught of 50 Shades of Punk and the night opens up with the eclectic and energetic Run Off The Static.
Taking their name from the opening line of one of The Jam’s most recognisable songs, Distant Echoes play tribute to the furious and street smart mod revival and punk sounds of a band whose political and social messages seem as relevant now as they did back in the day.
Sunday is traditionally the day of rest, so you can either play by the rules or get yourself up to The Castle for Mid Life Crisis, the ultimate party band covering all genres and all eras.
And finally we end in our usual place, Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey and the welcome return of Blind River Scare in solo mode. Sitting somewhere between the celtic folk vibes of his Welsh homeland and a more Americana vibe, Tim, for that is his given name, is a master of roots acoustica. Miss him at your peril.