I find it odd that people still can’t grasp the fact that just because I’m writing a gig guide it doesn’t mean that every single band playing in town that week is going to be included. I do write another, more extensive guide for one of the local papers, one with a wider brief and even that has the usual limitations of word count as well as the difficult task of extracting the factual blood from the apathetic promotional stone. But this is not that column.
Here I get to wax lyrical about original bands, bands that need a bit more explaining and more of a promotional push. After all a band called the The Bowie Experience does pretty much what it says on the tin, original bands and new music in general often needs to be described in a bit more detail. I know original music has become deeply unfashionable but think of this as a small beacon for like minded souls, a gig guide for those with tastes similar to mine who would rather run the risk of stumbling across what might possibly be their new favourite band rather than their old record collection come to life.
Johnny Foreigner, Misfits + Cup Cake Diaz and the Felt Tip Pens @ The Victoria
Songs of Praise has been involved in bringing some fairly high profile names into Swindon over the last few months, this Thursday sees quite possibly the biggest of them all. Johnny Foreigner is many things.
Ferocious, intense, incendiary, energetic, passionate and powerful. Punk swagger might sit at the heart of what they do but their songs often seem made up of components of older Emo and pop-punk songs, but remembered wrong, reversed and compressed into anxious nodes.
Support comes from local indie stalwarts Misfires and the wonderfully named Cupcake Diaz and The Felt Tip Pens, purveyors of bubble gum punk-pop and all round good eggs.
Hip Route @ The Beehive
There can be few gig goers who haven’t experienced the wonderful funky blues of Hip Route and it is a testament to the band that they are still able to pack a local room all these years down the line. But when you have these effortless grooves, these lap-slide riffs, these songs and this stage presence it is easy to see the attraction. You want a definition of cool? This is it.
All Ears Avow, Solemn Sun and Polar Front @ Level III
Headlining this fantastic line up is All Ears Avow, a band who has grown from more technical roots into an effortlessly commercial pop-punk sound. The result is something both mesmerizingly intricate and instantly accessible. The middle slot is taken by another ever-evolving band, Solemn Sun, once an alt-country-punk outfit; they now pursue a grungy and more intense alt-rock vision.
Opening the night are local soundscaping heroes Polar Front. Their 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 (16916) that proves they are great songwriters. Watch the band, buy the record, it’s as simple as that.
auralcandy @ The Beehive
The Beehive again puts up stiff competition, this time with the mercurial and orthographically challenged auralcandy. Theirs is a strange path, one that wanders progressive musical realms and existential ideas, genre hopping amalgams and lyrical challenges. Bukowski, the Musical? Perhaps.
Sam Green and The Midnight Heist, Splat The Rat + Jack Ford @ The Victoria
A third high profile name slips across the parish boundaries on Saturday as Sam Green and The Midnight Heist (pictured) return to The Victoria. If ever the term “roots band” were applicable, it is here, as they blend the bluesy soul of the New World with the folk traditions of the Old. This is the band that Mumford and Sons think they are, sorry chaps, you don’t even come close. Local support comes from traditional folksters Splat The Rat and solo acoustic guy Jack Moore.
The Hamsters From Hell @ The Queens Tap
I know I give this pack of boozy bluesmen and raucous rhythm aces a hard time in print but it is only in jest and any publicity is good publicity right? All jokes aside these stalwarts are the perfect mash up of honest, bar band r’n’b and humourous lyrics, garage rock musical salvos laced with skits, sauce and silliness. A great night out, just don’t offer to pick up their bar tab.
Music Alive with Mr. Love and Justice and Friends @ St Michael’s Church, Highworth
Music Alive is a brilliant, local music therapy and social organization and they are holding a fundraiser for their very important and much underfunded work. Fans of the Lazy Sunday Afternoon sessions will find a lot to like as psych-folk-popsters, Mr. Love and Justice are joined by ukulele legend and vocal chantress Sarah Kelly and blues-rock meets pastoral folk stars Rivers Of England.
The Billy Shinbone Show @ Baila Coffee and Vinyl
The partnership between this venue and Renegade Brewery, which through out the year has brought some wonderful, intimate acts to, this great social and creative space is sadly coming to an end. If you are going to go out with a bang then Billy Shinbone is the perfect way. Normally found fronting the mercurial and brilliant Flipron, Jesse…for it is he…wanders a path through folk, blues, rock and psychedelia to create wonderfully nostalgic sounding but forward thinking music.