Some weeks the town’s available gigging options are subject to quality over quantity, other times there seems to be a lot going on but little new being added to the gigging canon, so it is great to see that this week we seem to have the best of both worlds, a selection that is both diverse and in great numbers.
And let’s start somewhere different for a change. Tonight the Queens Tap are playing host The Beat Holes, an Italian trio who take the songs of The Beatles (see what they did there?) and render them into punk rock classics from an alternate history. Imagine Lennon and McCartney being gene spliced with Strummer and Jones and you get an idea of what to expect.
At The Beehive, Walker Broad bring along their wonderful blends of folk, blues and jazz; light, accessible tunes which seem to fit perfectly with the lighter, warmer spring evenings.
Whilst up The Victoria, things get a bit more experimental. White Lilac have been quickly building up a name for themselves with their ethereal, cinematic, post punk soundscapes so this is also the perfect bill to see the return of the delicate, dreamy, shoegaze of Wasuremono. Opening the night is Neverlnd (formerly Balloon Ascents) an intelligent mix of glistening pop hooks, lush harmonies and electro-beats.
Friday sees a massive name grace the stage at Level 3 as Diamond Head (pictured) roll into town. They shot to fame as leading lights of the NWOBHM scene in the early eighties and although their haven’t wandered too far from the path, neither are they wholly reliant on their own history, having managed to move with the times more than enough to stay relevant.
More rock can be found at The Locomotive, this time from the younger end of the spectrum with Post 12 and their exuberant punk-pop and Loralie who mix grunge and alt-rock with some wonderfully atmospheric moments.
At The Victoria you will find Pyrates, a sort of cos-play rendition of folk and sea-shanties, Irish jigs and drinking songs plus The Sweetchunks Band who are a bizarre combination of The Bonzo Dog Band and Zappa playing folk music, if you can imagine such a thing.
Saturday is St George’s, when us English commemorate the story of a Turkish knight slaying a mythical dragon by drinking German beer and singing a song called Jerusalem. Other only slightly more logical ways of celebrating are to head to Riffs Bar for a fancy dress night with 80’s electro-pop classics from Binomial, watch the Brit-Pop Boys play at Level 3 (the clue is very much in the name) or take in darts, dinner and Dj’s at The Beehive.
Rewire The Time Machine are a band whose visits to Swindon have become hotly anticipated by many; desert rock vibes mixed with punchy, infectious riffs, it’s complex and byzantine yet melodic and groove laden – a real winner. Supporting them at The Locomotive is Bristol duo Brockley Forest, who blend many of the same elements.
Destination Anywhere have a bit of a treat in store at The Victoria in the guise of Big Boss Man, a fantastic cross genre carve up, a hip, heavy Hammond driven hybrid of pop, 60’s r’n’b, Latin, soul and funk and much favoured of Mark Lamarr, Craig Charles and The Mighty Boosch.
More familiar sounds come courtesy of Jimmy Lee’s Ragged Company and their folk, blues and country rock at The Rolleston and at The Swiss Chalet The Cover Up play music by Oasis, The Stereophonics and everything in between. And if you missed the chance to see The Beat Holes earlier in the week you can find them at The Woodlands Edge.
Sunday sees the ultimate party band hit The Castle. The Emiglios are the alter ego of The Beat Holes (we might have mentioned them) but in this guise they invite you to use them as the perfect live jukebox/karaoke band – request songs, join in, have a ball, simple as that. But before that something a bit more chilled can be found at The Beehive’s afternoon session with Jim Reynolds majestically subtle folk and blues creations.
Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey you will find Alison Hustwitt whose songs tap into the styles of the 60’s folk revivalists as much as the folk club sessions of today.