Now that the clamour of the Shuffle has died down, the rattle of charity buckets has faded and the smell of spilt booze and sweat has been washed out of your favourite gig trousers, it is time to get back into the day-to-day mode of gig going. Happily, Thursday provides a couple of real crackers to let us down gently, starting with something pretty unique tonight at The Victoria.
Professor Elemental is a time-travelling, steam-punk explorer, a chap-hop performer and all round good-egg. Like his arch-rival, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, he explores the possibilities of hip-hop via the trappings of an earlier more formal age. Neo-Victorian eccentricity meets urban grooves via a boys own adventure novel and a nice cup of Darjeeling. The Real Cheesemakers bring a helping of Bonzo Dog Band-esque madness in support.
At The Beehive you can catch a slice of authentic country all the way from Austin, Texas as Chuck Hawthorn’s first European tour rolls into town. Excellent music and probably the only person ever to write his debut album while billeted in the basement of Saddam Hussein’s palace between guard duties during a war!
After that the precedent set by the previous weeks celebrations are quickly sidelined and even Friday’s collection of bands at The Victoria, Belial, Heriot and EdenFalls are playing sets that lean towards a celebration of Nu-metal covers.
The Rolleston meanwhile opts for Light Zeppelin, the chilled wing of top tribute band Whole Lotta Led. This set up explores the songs as acoustic renditions showing the songs structure and nuances, which are not always so obvious when delivered at the usual high impact trajectory.
Saturday brings hard rock and retro rock ‘n’ roll in equal measure. At the end of last year one of the true icons of heavy rock shuffle off this mortal coil and another band passed from reality to the stuff of legend and anecdote. Even this august journal had to admit that his passing created uncertainty about their forthcoming Swindon gig. I am of course talking about Lemmy and Motorhead. With the passing of such bands tribute acts take on an increased validity, even I can acknowledge that, and so one way to celebrate their music is to catch Motorheadache at The Victoria.
More hard rock and metal classics can be found at The Rolleston with Broken Image, old school rock delivered with the intensity and grit that made you fall in love with the songs in the first place.
The retro offerings come firstly with level 3’s staging of Trouble, a tribute to Elvis, an authentic look and feel to the performance and a backing band that does the music justice and makes this more than just the usual Elvis impersonators.
Secondly up at The Castle more retro-rock, old school country rock and rockabilly vibes can be found courtesy of hooligan three-piece The Roughnecks. Sounds you know and love delivered in the same raw and raucous fashion that defined them first time around.
You know all those memes that people like to post to show their Facebook friends just how much they care about grassroots music, the one that goes “every big band was a local band once.” And you know how people post “gutted to have missed it, will definitely make the next show.” And that jaded line about how you don’t go to local gigs because the standard is terrible. Well, Emp!re are back in town, on Wednesday at The Victoria, to blow all of those feeble arguments out of the water.
Emp!re are everything you want out of a melodic metal or alt-rock band, huge riffs, soaring dynamics, energy, excitement and according to none other than Kerrang magazine “the best new voice in rock.”
Joining them is tour support In Dynamics and local alt-rock stalwarts All Ears Avow. Forget your £80 O2 tickets to watch a band from 4 miles away or your mortgage sized down payment to sit in a muddy field and post about how cool you are. If you want to encounter the reality of local bands moving up into realms of national concern, it’s going to be right on your doorstep