I occasionally wander through the on-line pages of the NME just to check out anything new and intriguing (obviously I don’t pick up the print version anymore just in case someone sees me…the shame of it!) I knew things were bad, but I didn’t realise just how bad. In their top stories I learned that Barbara Streisand has asked Apple to correct Siri’s pronunciation of her name, Justin Bieber has been miming at his gigs and Arctic Monkeys are still not recording a new album. ( What…no Antony Burgess Arts Journalism Award nominations?) Remember the days when you could read a 10,000 word Clash expose or a witty character assassination of the latest new-wave darlings by the likes of Charles Shaar Murray. Even Paul Morley’s dense diatribes would be a welcome break from these lower sixth form warbling’s. Does an unchallenging music scene result in boring reportage? Discuss.
Tonight at The Victoria David Oliver and George Lewis Todd offer acoustic sets from the gentler side of the genre. The former is playing his debut album Inbetween The Rain in its entirety. Opening the show in quite contrasting fashion are Horizon with a sound more honed by driven, indie dynamics and big, radio friendly melodies.
And just two doors down, Baila Coffee and Vinyl have the first offering in their regular weekend of music. The idea of a multi-instrumental, roots outfit playing in such a small and perfectly formed venue might seem a bit of a challenge, but when that band is backwards country, porch folk duo, The August List, then it all makes sense. Emily Jane Sheppard will be opening the show with her usual, impressively crisp vocals and dexterous guitar work.
At Beehive, Outlaw and The Boogieman, bring their hoodlum beat, boogie and retro blues out for a night on the town, don your dancing trousers and join them for a bit of a shindig why don’t you?
Covers are the order of the day on Friday. Toxic at The Victoria, Interlight at The Queens Tap and, Sound and The Sirens at The Rolleston all offer a range of classic rock and pop which covers all styles and all decades from contemporary music.
WILF at The Swiss Chalet offer something a bit more niche with a range of grunge and alt-rock covers from iconic acts such as Nirvana and Queens of The Stone Age to the less well known. If there are any other bands in the area covering The Screaming Trees I can’t think of them.
And talking of The Swiss Chalet, on Saturday they are holding an all day fundraiser for the family of Michael Doyle. Michael sadly lost his life whilst on holiday in Bulgaria and the resulting medical bills have left his family under a huge financial strain. In a wonderfully altruistic coming together of the community the event will feature live bands and solo acts and all manner of stalls, children’s activities, food and other exciting things to do. Great music, a fantastic day out and all for the most worthy of causes.
Classic rock and metal stalwarts Shepherd’s Pie bring the full force of their shock and awe show to The Victoria. As my detractors are keen to point out, I’m not the biggest fan of cover bands but I must say, if you are, it doesn’t get much better than these guys. Not a mere by numbers tribute to the golden age of the genre but a complete smack in the face from your old vinyl collection…and that is going to smart a bit in the morning.
Other tributes come in the form of The Sex Pissed Dolls; punk, pout and pure anarchy at Level 3 and The Britpop Boys throwing around 90’s Mancunian swagger, cagoule-cool cuts and art-school counter-culture at The Castle.
As it is the bank holiday, Sunday has more than the usual selection. The Victoria opts for classic rock and metal covers again with Metalhead and Fist Full of Foozy to help Sausagefest get underway and at The Rolleston there is a second chance to see the ultimate party band Toxic.
Baila Coffee and Vinyl afternoon session is Canadian singer-songwriter Elea Calvet (pictured) who seems to channel the rawness of P J Harvey and the subversiveness of Patti Smith…or maybe the other way around. Oli Norman opens the show.
And finally at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday you can catch songstress Kirsty Clinch weave emotional messages out of country, folk and pop melodies.