Some nice little global offerings start the musical week, firstly at The Beehive, a venue whose size belies its importance to the worldwide, underground touring community. Within its art and literary decked walls I have witnessed Nashville Americana, Australian tribal rave, New Zealand anti-folk, Scandiwegian jazz-folk dark, indie rock from Germany, Californian acid-pop and everything in between. Tonight you can catch 2-piece musical hobos, Hymn For Her, itinerant stateside wanderers who mix backwoods country blues with desert rock psychedelia into what they describe as “Hell’s Angels meets The Amish.”
Also on tour from distant shores, Canada in this case, you can find Maybelleen (pictured) playing this week’s Songs of Praise show at The Victoria. Again a two-piece but this time trading in dance grooves and sunny, psyched out pop vibes; cultish, cool and catchy as hell. They are supporting a band making all the right moves at the moment, Yves, a band whose blend of radio friendly, infectious and slick indie riffs and effortless melodies will surely see them go far.
And there’s one more connection to our colonial cousins to be found at The Locomotive on Friday, with Matthew Edwards and The Unfortunates. The titular main man forged his early career as singer with San Francisco’s The Music Lovers but now has versions of his current musical vehicle on both sides of the Atlantic. Best described as melancholic art-pop they blend underground, post-punk detachment with indie outsider appeal and no shortage of subtly crafted underground classics.
Sheer Music have built a solid reputation for bringing big name, quality bands to Swindon and one of the bands closely associated with them is Gnarwolves who they have brought back to Level 3. This bands mission seems to be to take pop-punk into the modern age, a task that they perform with ease; it’s loud, gritty, confident and wonderfully energised. Completing a wonderfully eclectic bill is the space-prog meets screamo of Crows An Wra, the heavy shoegaze of local heroes Rain and the pop-slop (their words, not mine) of Broadbay.
Two more helpings of rootsy fusions are also on the menu. The Missing Persians play The Beehive – wonderful lyrical dexterity is combined with a British-Americana country-folk rock groove whilst Blue Dog at The Rolleston tick many of the same boxes.
Incendiary, southern rock, blistering British blues revival and riff driven rock is on the cards at The Castle with The Lewis Creaven Band, everything from Stevie Ray to Jimi and back again and at The Victoria the ultimate good time party band Toxic play a set which knows no generic or chronological boundaries, all you need to remember is to wear your boogie shoes.
Riffs Bar join the fray on Saturday with the folk-punk machinations of Mick O’Toole a band who follow in the grand traditions of many iconic celtic folk-punk bands but whose own gene pool finds them pitched somewhere musically east of The Pogues and lyrically west of The Wurzels. Cider swilling, punk fuelled mayhem and you’re going to love it. Joining them are Hung Like Hanratty and other special guests.
Black Slate is rightfully acknowledged as one of the pioneers of the British Roots Rock Reggae sound and you can catch them at The Victoria where they are joined by The Erin Bardwell Collective and The Nomarks. Anyone with the remotest interest in the roots reggae and ska scene past and present needs to get to this show. At The Castle The Killertones will also be delivering ska, two-tone and Trojan reggae sounds.
Las Pistolas bring a swathe of rockabilly and early country rock influences to The Rolleston, whilst at The Locomotive local retro rock ‘n’ roll hoodlums, The Roughnecks, also sample some glorious past influences to make their music.
Classic rock and metal is to be found at The Swiss Chalet courtesy of Broken Image and fans of The Stereophonics will want to be at Level 3 to catch The Phonics pay tribute to the welsh wizards.
And finally ending as we normally do at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday you can find Jack Moore returning to the scene of past musical victories with his eloquent and elegant acoustic original creations and subtle musical makeovers.