In ancient times people would look for favourable portents or past indications of success before making big decisions. Now I’m sure nothing as calculated as that took place in the Polar Front camp, no ancient scrolls invoked, no crystal balls employed but with advance copies of their debut e.p. available at tonight’s Victoria gig, it does seem like the perfect day for them to go public. For on this day in history, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here first saw the light of day and Led Zeppelin’s In Trough The Out Door started a long stay at the number one spot. Most of all it should be noted for the day on which Dire Straits officially disbanded in 1988. It does seem as if the Gods of Music favour this date.
Polar Front ‘s (pictured) fortunes have been on a steady rise for a while but now. Alongside ever more dynamically powerful live performances, technical endorsements and musical alignments with celebrity product ranges, they have the most important thing, a record that proves they are great songwriters. The e.p. in question, 16916, will be available in physical form ahead of the general release at The Victoria tonight as they headline this week’s Songs of Praise show. Joining them are homeplanetearth, who weave similar atmospheric patterns and Luke De-Sciscio’s delicate, spacious and hushed acoustica.
At the Beehive, Tim Manning brings his latest instalment, of The Acoustic Buzz sessions, which this week finds the homespun and soulful Americana of Elliot Hall and Rapunzel, the intricate yet accessible acoustica of Chris Webb and the celtic, country-folk blends of your good host himself.
At Level III fans of classic rock will find a lot to like. RPG, The Reece Percudani Group, find past and present members of bands such as Bonfire, Accept and Hungryheart come together to create bluesy, riff laden, melodic rock that reminds me a lot of early Whitesnake (before all the hair product and the spandex.)
And staying at Level III, Friday also throws up a few gems. Festival favourites Matilda’s Scoundrels waywardly plunder punk, sea shanty, folk and celtic tradition to create a musical barroom brawl of sounds and energy reminiscent of the likes of Flogging Molly, The Pogues and the vastly underrated and largely forgotten Greenland Whalefishers. Joining them are the fellow cider-fuelled folk’n’roll gypsy-punks The Imprints and opening up is the man who put the night together Jimmy Moore.
Upstairs at The Rolleston, Port Erin are back in town, this time armed with a new bag of songs from their soon to be released new album. Their songs define the word eclectic, taking in rock, funk, jazz, soul, psychedelia and spikey Zappa-esque musical statements. Sometimes all within one song.
Friday at The Beehive features a gathering of our colonial cousins firstly in the guise the acid-pop trippiness and psychedelic meanderings of Anton Barbeau and secondly by fellow West Coasters The Corner Laughers. Theirs is a sunshine world built on chiming and charming ukuleles, life affirmingly glorious pop, dreamscapes and childhood wonder. Not what you expect to find in the back streets of Swindon in the 21st century at all.
At The Castle you can witness the chaos and mad spectacle of two of the happening bands of the moment. Plummie Racket is back with a new musical gang, The Dicemen, so expect the same trademark swagger, the same machine-gun delivered lyricism, the great tunes and all the associated antics that you expect from these back alley, indie-punks. Support comes from the almost uncategorisable Martyrials, a collision of New York No Wave energy and incendiary indie-tronica. Best not to wear your best clothes as you will come away from this one drenched in blood, sweat and beers.
At The Victoria Muse Inc. play tribute to Devon’s finest purveyors of progressively inclined, classical tinged, electronically enhanced, art school, alt-rock.
Level III make it three great shows in a row on Saturday with Triaxis, a band who abide by old school rock and metal traditions as much as they drive it headlong into a bright future. And if that isn’t enough rock for your money also on the bill are Metaprism, Outright Resistance and Shadows of Serenity. So rock and metal from melodic to extreme and everything in between. Meanwhile upstairs at The Rolleston The Useless Eaters pay homage to the classic tunes of the punk rock era with a few unexpected selections along the way.
Fans of David Bowie will want to make their way to The Victoria for The Bowie Experience known for their perfect renditions of the glam, Berlin and New Romantic era of his career.
After that things settle down to some more across the board musical deliveries. Party hits with Champagne Charlie at The Locomotive or ferocious and unruly ska/punk from W.A.M at The Woodlands Edge.
On Sunday LadsLadsLads bring musical mayhem to The Duke of Edinburgh and Zing! bring an exclamation mark to The Tap and Barrel. Wednesday sees Bradley Cowtan playing his dexterous and poppy acoustic tunes to the denizens of The Roaring Donkey.
That’s quite a week of music if you ask me, and if you are reading this you kind of did….