As I sit down to write this I do so with the generally feeling that the music world has changed, the landscape will never be the same again and something really special has been lost. I’m sure people have been saying something similar with the passing of Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran right through to Elvis, Phil Lynott, Joe Strummer and Ian Dury. But there always seemed to be someone to follow in their footsteps. With the recent passing of Lemmy and David Bowie, it makes me wonder, as these giant figures from a golden age of rock and pop are called to the great gig in the sky, who will take their place. Who will stimulate, educate and encourage fledgling musicians, who will make an emerging youth see the world differently, who will make art for art’s sake?
Maybe the answer can be found at The Victoria tonight as a swathe of younger, original bands take to the stage. Heading the night is Reading alt-rockers Elasea who make music where dark, edgy and euphoric sounds are the order of the day. Local outfit Misfires ad atmospheric indie to the bill and opening the night are Sea Mammal a dissonant wail of swirling trashy art-rock who will be like nothing you have seen before. (Unless you have seen them before, and even then…)
At the Beehive you can find The Roughnecks, a band who blend the sounds of the early days of rock’n’roll, rockabilly and rhythm and blues into a nostalgic trip of iconic sounds.
Rock is well represented on Friday. Over at Riffs Bar, one of the most popular original rock bands on the circuit, A Way With Words, can be found. This is a band that walks a clever path between originality and commerciality, rock drive and accessible melody and seem to be on a trajectory that will end in stadium shows and big tour supports. All the way from the flatlands of Lincolnshire, Years Young bring a more angular dynamic and the night opens with As The Sun Sleeps.
Going up against that a collection of harder edged music at The Victoria. This metal showcase is topped and tailed by The Cold Harbour and From Dusk Until Dawn, both stalwarts of the local scene but the addition of ChuggaBoom (pictured) is what makes it such a unique draw. Lyrically tongue in cheek, musically brutal and with a penchant for Justin Bieber covers, they are a band you need to catch.
At The Rolleston you will find Ragged Union a blend of roots, country-rock and bluesy vibes, original songs built from familiar building blocks and by turn sweet, soulful, sassy and sleazy. Nice.
And talking of familiar, if you prefer to hear the fits, there are two options to consider. The first is The Hyperbolics at the Swiss Chalet who deliver rock, indie and brit-pop classics and at The Locomotive you will find party band extraordinaire, Interlight and a bewildering array of styles, genres and eras.
Saturday sees The MECA join the party with Skabilly Rebels. The band were formed by Roddy “Radiation” Byers, once lead guitarist with The Specials and now mixing his trademark ska sounds with rockabilly and country rock and roll sounds. The perfect support is provided by local skankers The Erin Bardwell Collective and The Nomarks. The other original option for the night is The Horse, a wonderfully cool and sassy blend of jazz, folk and blues that runs between the chilled and the upbeat who will be making The Locomotive feel like a backstreet cabaret club for just one night. Blimey, that’ll confuse them.
As is usual for Saturday there is a great selection of cover bands for you to choose from. Rockers will be heading to The Rolleston for Shepherds Pie and a salvo of iconic rock and metal tunes and fans of Northern Soul, power pop and the odd punk tune will find Peloton ticking all the right boxes at The Victoria. Other options include Get Carter at The Swiss Chalet, Penfold at The Woodlands Edge and Station Road at The Queens Tap.
Acoustic music comes along on Sunday with the aptly named Juicyacoustic, a duo delivering dexterous musicianship and familiar tunes who can be found at The Castle and rounding the week off is Leon Daye at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday who’s songs are reminiscent of the likes of Del Amitri, Squeeze and Crowded House which is no mean comparison if you ask me.