Before the year plunges into the more predictable waters of Christmas parties, reindeer head gear and those seasonal matching tie and sock combo’s that prove just how wacky you really are, the year still has a few musical treats in store. Three of them can be found in town this week.
The first, tonight at The Victoria, where the fantastic Johnny Foreigner can be found treading the boards. 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. After ten years thwarting expectation there is a reason why they rightly regarded as one of the leading lights of the indie scene. Support comes from local re-inventers of the indie sound, Misfires and the wonderfully name purveyors of twisted pop-punk, Cupcake Diaz and the Felt Tip Pens.
The word cool is over used these days but you will find it in spades at The Beehive., because when Hip Route lay out their stall of infectious, funky-grooved, slide-blues you will experience the true meaning of the word.
A second helping of top line acts can be found at Level III tomorrow. Top of the heap is All Ears Avow, a band who have grown from more technical roots into a 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.
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.
More familiar musical environments are offered by The Brit Pop Boys at The Victoria, a band specializing in the Cool Britannia era of the nineties whilst over at The Castle Felix and the Funk will be providing all your funk, soul, disco, dance and pop requirements. A selection of 90’s tunes can also be found at The Swiss Chalet, courtesy of Hooch.
Saturday provides the third slice of higher profile shows as Sam Green and The Midnight Heist 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.
At the Queens Tap you will find those boozy bluesters The Hamsters From Hell, a contradiction of great music and purile lyrics but always a raucous night out and The Lewis Creavan Band will be delivering incendiary, electric blues with slightly more finesse and style at The Castle.
The Rolleston opts for classic rock covers from the excellent Riff Raff, the expected Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash are included but the likes of Bowie and even Chic offer something outside the usual limitations.
Stalwart party band Echo can be found at The Swiss Chalet doing what they do best, all the hits to sing along and dance too, songs you know, songs you’d forgotten and even songs that you’d forgotten that you’d forgotten.
The first of two musical options for Sunday afternoon comes with the end of an era….six months is an era, right? Sadly the Renegade Sessions at Baila Coffee and Vinyl are coming to an end but quite rightly are going out with a bang. Billy Shinbone (pictured) is the musical alter-ego of Flipron front man Jesse; folk, rock, blues and psychedelia all find their way into his brilliant songs and are the perfect way to put that run of gigs to bed.
Meanwhile in at St Michaels Church, Highworth there is a fundraising gig for Music Alive, a brilliant, local music therapy and social organization. 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.
And there is just room to briefly mention that on Wednesday at The Rolleston you will find Kinasis main man Tom Harris in solo mode. Blimey, quite a week.