Music has long been used as the focus of events seeking to raise money and awareness for good causes. Tonight at The Victoria you can experience that altruistic nature as a whole bunch of familiar faces line up in support of Alan McGee’s brilliant Musicians Against Homelessness project. Echoing his same maverick spirit the bands playing represent the more challenging, creative and leftfield end of the spectrum. Anyone who saw Tripdress’s last outing at this very venue, probably 8 years ago, (tempus does indeed fugit) will be aware just how great their urban-boogie-blues fusion is, those who missed it should rectify that immediately…you never know when this very occasional band will be back.
Joining them are the almost uncategorisable Diagonal People a smorgasbord of Hammond organs, chiming glockenspiels, skittering drumbeats and a swirling morass of guitar and synth sounds and the wonderfully named Kid Calico and the Astral Ponies who reveal in cosmic Americana and psychedelic music hall freak-outs.
Just along from there at Baila Coffee and Vinyl you can catch the welcome return of Franc Cinelli (pictured) and his bluesy travelogues, emotive imagery and solid and confidently delivered acoustic gems. Opening that session is Dragoman, a subtle and sublime blend of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.
At The Beehive more old time Appalachian grooves and country vibes will be on offer courtesy of Open Secrets, fans of Ryan Adams, Gillian Welsh and The Band will find a lot here that they like.
Anyone familiar with Alfred Watkins seminal book will already know where a band called The Leylines sporting an album called Along the Old Straight Track heart lays. But whereas such references could suggest, unholier than thou, musically po-faced, pagan-preening, I’m relieved to tell you that they instead plough the same furrow as the likes of The Oysterband and a certain ragged-trousered Brighton crew, especially lyrically, as they raise concerns about the world around them. Melodic, breezy, accessible folk-rock at its finest at Level 3 on Friday. Also on the bill are Jenny Bracey and The Strays.
A second helping of folk can be found at The Beehive, oddly enough also from Somerset, this time with the Balkan inspired Model Folk. Think Gogol Bordello meets back of a transit van, cider-festival folk-punk…or something. I dunno!
Many bands have been cited as creating new musical forms from Elvis to Black Sabbath, from The Sex Pistols to Nirvana. In the nineties a wave of bands stormed out of the clubs and into the mainstream creating a new, alternative electronic dance scene known as Big Beat and leading the charge was The Prodigy. At The Victoria on Friday you can catch Jilted Generation pay tribute to “the Godfathers of Rave” themselves.
At The Victoria on Saturday, Plummie Racket brings his new musical gang, The Dicemen, out to spread music and mayhem in equal measures. This collection of back street indie-punks combine the attitude, swagger and stage presence of bands such as The Clash, The Jam, and The Libertines, but with song writing that stands very much on its own two feet. In an eleventh hour change to the bill, the part of Years Young will now be played by local mainstays Rocket Box and Ant Willis opens the show with a solo set.
At Riffs Bar the Faux Fighters pay tribute to Dave Grohl’s band…who I may add have just been declared the third biggest religion in the world, such is his charisma, and at Level 3 The Sex Pissed Dolls delivery punk and rock covers packed with energy and attitude.
Sunday afternoon and the place to be is back at Baila Coffee and Vinyl for Kid Kin and Moleville. The former is a clash of post-rock and synth-pop and the latter a more genteel cinematic piano led meandering.
The week goes out with just as big a bang as it came in and a wonderfully eclectic blend at The Victoria on Tuesday with indie-kids of the moment Misfires, the punk-folk-ska of Dead Pheasants, driving indie of Break Glass To Open and the alt-rock of Unguarded.
Wednesday at The Victoria and things get brutal. From Sorrow to Serenity delivery poignant socio-political comment wrapped up in uncompromising music and they are joined by the musical onslaught of Heriot and the more cinematic and technical metalcore of Ursus.
If something more considered and acoustic is more your cup of tea, then head to The Roaring Donkey for the rasping and rootsy sounds of Henry Wacey and the infectious folk-pop of Emma Shoosmith.