It’s been a while since this town has been able to wax lyrical about one of its own making good on the national musical stage. Obviously XTC spring to mind and Gilbert O’Sullivan for those with long enough memories and some of you might recall Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto who has gone on to work with the great and good of America’s alternative scene. But it is not by any means an easy or particularly long list to compile. But, if pushed to predict a future addition to such a list I would probably nominate the man you can be found at The Victoria tonight.
Gaz Brookfield earned his stripes playing around Swindon before relocating to Bristol and heading down a solo career that has found him sharing stages with New Model Army, The Levellers and Frank Turner, perhaps the most cogent reference point for what he does. He will be accompanied by regular musical co-conspirators Ben Wain and Nick Parker and the three will play in various combinations, mixing and matching their individual talents and styles. Local support comes in the shape of George Wilding.
Friday brings a plethora of rock options for those of such a persuasion. At The Victoria you can find a couple of bands who have managed to successfully couple the aggression and delivery of metal with the technical aspects and fluidity of more progressive forms. Headliners Reign of Fury lean more to the former and openers Spiral Key the latter but I highly recommend both bands.
For those who prefer to stick with what they know, Alter Chaos, are back on the circuit with a slightly re-jigged line up but still delivering all of the popular rock tunes that you know and love. Similarly if you are after some Led Zeppelin with a twist, catch Light Zeppelin at The Rolleston, acoustic renditions of all those iconic tracks.
Old school rock ’n’ roll, beat and boogie is on the cards at The Locomotive with The Teddy White Band, soulful musical delving’s into a simpler musical era but one of the tightest and most groovesome bands on the circuit. (And yes, groovesome is a word despite what my spellchecker tells me.)
A more cross genre and eclectic musical program can be found at The Woodlands Edge courtesy of those most effervescent chaps, Interlight.
Saturday is packed with options so hang on, I’m going in. Incendiary, electric blues doesn’t get much better than The Worried Men, think Moore, Thorogood, Gallagher and get down the Rolleston for a night of guitar virtuosity second to none. At The Castle you will find The Shudders launching their latest album. Having finally shaken off their perceived pirate-folkiness and fully embraced a quintessentially British alt-Americana sound, if such a thing is possible: great vocal harmonies, well crafted tunes and the spirit of Neil Young running through the centre of the music. Sounds good to me.
One of the most interesting bands on the circuit today can be found at The Locomotive, Los and The Deadlines (pictured), a mercurial blend of pop, indie and psychedelia threaded together in unexpected ways and just so damn danceable, possibly the ultimate definition of weird and wonderful. Add to that the hefty punk Americana deliveries of Raze*Rebuild to open the night and you have something a bit special.
In the music you know and love category you have the following to chose from. These Smiths will be paying tribute to Mozzer and the chaps at Level 3, Shepherds Pie will be lying waste to all and sundry with iconic metal and classic rock at The Swiss Chalet and by contrast a decade of synth-pop can be celebrated at The Ferndale Club with 80’s revivalists, Syntronix.
And the week plays out in a more acoustic nature with Barney Newman’s roots folk-blues to be found at The Beehive’s Sunday afternoon session, which you could combine with a visit to The Castle and a tribute to Johnny Cash later that evening.
The final mention is for the return of Sue Hart and her henchman, The Mildly Disgruntled Man, playing accessible folk and country style originals at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.