Obviously I am writing this in advance of the US election result but I’m sure by now there has been a tsunami of debate, opinion and analysis not to mention disappointment/anger/relief (delete as applicable) banded around. One man who has a fantastic way of taking political themes, wrapping them up in bundles of thought provoking satire and delivering them as song-bites can be found at Baila Coffee and Vinyl.
Having set himself the task of making 40 records over 20 years, armed only with his trusty upright bass, Grant Sharkey (pictured) brings a bag of social commentary, wit, wisdom, his eighth album and his secret bread recipe to Swindon. It is very likely he will have an opinion or two about the presidential election too. Support comes from the always-excellent Emily Jane Sheppard.
A bit of a treat can be found at The Victoria in the shape of Josh Kumra. I remember watching this guy back in the day to small crowds in back rooms of local pubs and like everyone else thinking, how come his voice is 40 years older than he is. His stock has certainly risen since then helped in no small way by a co-written chart topper so it is good to see him back on home turf.
And if neither of those options appeals, Mr Love and Justice will be bringing their mercurial brilliance to The Beehive. I say mercurial, as their latest album was a wonderfully textured affair mixing west coast psychedelic pop, bark covered English folksiness and melodic Anglicana. (Is Anglicana even a thing?)
Friday brings a real treat for those who like their rock subversive, aggressive and offbeat. Anyone who remembers the likes of Dinosaur Jr. Pavement or Death Cab For Cutie will find a lot to like at Level III as The Spills lay out a stall of squalling solos, dissonant noise-rock, thick back beats and raw bass lines. It comes as no surprise to find this show being part of the Sheer Music canon; you know just how good their taste is.
But, as is often the way, stiff competition comes from The MECA who have bagged the musical services of punk icons Sham69. Unlike the art-school punk bands who dominated the first wave, Sham 69 had a voice and a sound that resonated of football terrace chants and street politics. As incendiary and energised as ever, the classic 1977 line up can be found on a bill enhanced by Charred Hearts and Subculture.
Other original selections can be found at The Beehive with The Missing Persians, swinging blues riffs and country rock grooves combine to build memorable foot tapping tunes.
If you just want the hits, then you may be best served by heading up to The Victoria for Get Carter who specialize in contemporary rock, pop and indie but if you want a more rock experience then everything from The Sex Pistols to Genesis is on the cards at The Locomotive courtesy of Down and Dirty.
And talking of rock, Saturday brings the heaviest musical package The Victoria has seen in a long time. Heading the onslaught is Devil Sold His Soul a weighty art-metal leviathan, by turns bleak, beautiful and brutal and proving that even when you take music to sonic extremes it doesn’t have to sacrifice creativity and intelligence. Support comes from Belial a dark blend of deathcore and progressive metal and still finding new places to go with such established genres and opening the night is Roads To Nowhere whose intense and textured music makes for the perfect way to kick things off.
Pretty much at the other end of the spectrum, a night of R&B can be found at The Castle with singer-songwriter Shani Cherry who brings a host of performers with her. Kay Doggz, Jay Scriptz and Boy Nash join her for a night of cool vibes and smooth vocals.
And if that is your sort of thing you may have to make a hard choice, as Soul Strutters will be bringing their selection of soul, funk disco and other rare grooves to The Rolleston. The best plan is to through in a short walk and take in a bit of both.
On Sunday Shaun Buswell will be playing a rare stripped back show at Baila Coffee and Vinyl. All things being relative “stripped back” means that there will be a small collection of musicians playing with him but don’t expect the usual banks of wandering orchestral players. Support for this comes from the wonderful Luke De-Sciscio, fresh from creating a new album and still reveling in delicate and dexterous picked guitars and soaring and emotive falsetto tones which paint vocal watercolours, opaque textures and breathy atmospherics.
And finally on Wednesday at The Rolleston you can catch The Shudders. One of the most popular bands on the local circuit their melodic mesh of indie and country-rock will appeal to fans of Wilco and particularly Neil Young.