The recent deaths of high profile music stars seems to have caused a bit of a back lash on social media, cries of “not another one gone” accompanying the loss of almost every musician from a seemingly golden age of music. But all good things come to an end and instead of agonising over the creative loss we should be celebrating their influence on the world they left behind. What strikes me is that whilst everyone is drawing a line in the sand and saying “we will not see their like again” they are missing the vital part of the argument.
It is not that similarly creative and visionary thinking types are not out there, it is just that we seemed to have lost the vital elements of a nurturing support system. That system is one of small venues, independent promoters, self-funded record releases and paying to watch bands, of good music journalism, artist mystique and challenging the mainstream. Maybe it is time to draw a line under antipathy and bowing to corporate dictation. Change the system one gig at a time. Right, that’s the heavy bit over with, now for the fun.
Thursday seems a bit devoid of gigs, well on my radar at least, but on Friday at The Victoria you can catch all that is best from the rock and indie genres from recent times as Get Carter line up big tunes from the likes of Snow Patrol, Kaiser Chiefs and The Killers.
Something weird and wonderful can be found at The Locomotive with the wonderfully named Dynamite Pussy Club. An art-house, blues rock explosion that sits somewhere between The Jim Jones Revue and The Gun Club with an extra-terrestrial Elvis impersonator providing the vocals. And there is only one band deemed up to the job of supporting such a mad concept, The Doctor’s Pond, dropping similar reference points into a swamp-blues melting pot.
Blues is also to be found at The Rolleston with The Mike Hoddinott Blues Allstars, but here we are talking about a band happier to follow a more recognisable blues-rock template, purists will love it and everyone will marvel at some of the sassiest harmonica…sorry blues harp playing, on the circuit today.
Fans of ska are well catered for this weekend and your first helping can be found at The Swiss Chalet and Operation 77. Not only classic ska and Two Tone but punk and new wave, a bit of underground pop and post-punk. All boxes ticked.
A similar vibe can be found on Saturday at The Locomotive with The Killertones and their selections of raucous ska originals and standards but the real gem of authenticity is found at The Victoria. Beat Goes Bang is a band formed by original Beat drummer Everett Morton and includes Mickey Billingham who played keyboards for Dexy’s Midnight Runners and which aims to capture the sound and vibe of Birmingham’s formative ska days with songs old and new.
And if that isn’t a big enough name for you then how about one of the most iconic singers of British rock’s eighties heyday. I remember seeing Rainbow on Top of The Pops in 1980 and thinking that a member of Dr Feelgood had locked previous frontman Ronnie Dio in the dressing room and taken his place. That guy with the white sports coat, slicked back hair and mirror shades was Graham Bonnett. He brings his band to Level 3 to run through the story of his career, so expect all of the key tracks and big hits.
Meanwhile upstairs at The Rolleston, The Doors of Perception recreate those dark, psychedelic musical trips of, arguably, the late sixties most definitive west coast band, The Doors.
The Castle is the place to find the movers and shakers of the younger, local circuit, with Well Dressed Thief and Over To You offering up edgy, energetic alt-rock, get there early for this one it looks like it is going to be a busy one.
Finally on Wednesday, your usual midweek music fix at The Roaring Donkey comes with two of Wiltshire’s finest acoustic singer-songwriters, Jarid Clark and Mike Barham, star of the popular BBC 1 quiz show Pointless.