As we start seeing that strange yellow glowing thing in the sky again and notice the rain getting slightly warmer, it is time to turn our thoughts towards the festival season and as always the first of the local crop can be found in the form of Riffstock. The annual Riff’s Bar music festival starts tomorrow with a punky night including One Chord Wonders and 2 Sick Monkeys plus genre defying sets from Wes Bull and Martyrials. Saturday takes a more eclectic approach with alt-rockers A Way With Words, metallers Fist Full of Foozy and the art-punk riot that is Sea Mammal. Sunday is a more family friendly affair with The Shudders bringing their alt-country groove and the debut outing for Mo’eep. Obviously that is just the tip of the iceberg and you should check the venue’s website for a full listing.
Back to the regular gigging diary and tonight The Victoria is hosting the final heat of the competition for a place at Bloodstock Festival. Now according to the venue website the bands taking part are Sleep Inertia, Homeland and Drip-Fed Empire, but the promoters page suggests Heriot and Homeland are fighting for the place. Whatever the line up you can guarantee that it will be a contest of aggressive beats, powerful delivery and intricate riffing.
More sedate options are also on the cards. Peter Jagger brings a James Taylor vibe to The Beehive and at Baila Coffee and Vinyl, their new Loft Sessions features London acoustic troubadour Franc Cinelli with a stripped back set from gothic-Americana merchants Monkfish and new kid on the block Oli Norman opening proceedings.
There’s plenty of rock to be had on Friday as well. Echoic are the perfect band of the moment, shimmering indie riffs crash into soaring rock muscle to produce a brilliant splicing of underground cool and easy commerciality. Add to that the melodic, expansive and dark undertones of Well Dressed Thief and you have a great show. Other rock options come with Down and Dirty at The Castle and the punk, new wave and mod celebration that is Going Underground at The Victoria. At Level 3 Magic Queen bring all the flamboyance, vocal harmony and musical precision of Queen’s glory days, whilst upstairs at The Rolleston you can catch a tribute to the original Man In Black, Johnny Cash.
Those of a more rootsy persuasion are in luck on Saturday, firstly with Hip Route and their lap slide guitar led, funky blues groove taking place at The Locomotive but also with the welcome return of Keegan McInroe at The Castle. This Texan troubadour spends as much time dishing out his trademark folky-blues around Europe as he does in his stateside home so make sure you catch him as he passes through our neck of the woods.
Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue is back at The Rolleston in all its soul injected, R’n’B glory, a taste of the likes of Dr Feelgood and Brian Seltzer can be used as a handy reference, but these accomplished players stamp their own authority over their sound. It’s punk at The Swiss Chalet with a second chance to catch One Chord Wonders and fans of The Jam should be at Level 3 for the “most authentic Jam tribute around,” Mr Clean.
The Victoria will echo to the sound of this country’s most unprofessional function band, Kova Me Badd. Wielding a bag of unexpected covers you will laugh, you will cry, you will be amazed, you will be shocked…not necessarily when you are supposed to be. It may be the greatest night of your life, but I wouldn’t put money on it. You have been warned.
The second part of the Baila Coffee and Vinyl music package can be found on Sunday, this time in the main room with the slick, acoustic pop of Phil Cooper in the afternoon, whilst later that evening all your favourite party songs come courtesy of The Bright Eyes at The Rolleston and Macca and Tiff at The Castle.
On Monday a second local show by Keegan McInroe takes place at The Rolleston, the last one before he heads off for the Irish leg of the tour and will feature a few familiar faces from the local musical pool and finally you can find the finely crafted and instantly accessible songs of Jamie R Hawkins at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.
Now that’s what I call a full week of music.