It’s all a bit quite out there this week. But then, as we step over the line into the last month of the year, I guess everyone is saving themselves for a sprint finish. Think of this as the deep breath before the plunge (spot the quote and win a…well, nothing actually) the calm before the storm, the storm that will bring enforced wackiness from work colleagues, amateur drinking on a wanton scale and endless covers of Merry Xmas Everybody. Still, all is not lost just yet and there are a few cool live bands to catch before we all sell our soul to Santa.
The last regular show of the year for Songs of Praise at The Victoria takes the form of a rootsy, Americana night with local stalwarts The Shudders heading the bill. As they wander down the same paths as were trodden by the likes of The Jayhawks, Green on Red and Neil Young, they fashion some wonderful lo-fi, alt-country tunes that are full of infectious melody and rich narratives. Opening the night are two solo acts, firstly the lap and slide guitar work and funky blues of Hip Route main man Jim Blair and then Jonny Payne’s wonderful blend of blues, soul and gospel laced acoustica.
As is often the way of things the Beehive are offering something in a similar vein with Christopher Rees. The national music press has heaped praise on this Welshman’s six albums to date and it isn’t hard to see why as his feisty and wilful songs brim with Waitsian whiskey wisdom and are home to the same type of outsiders and lost souls.
And staying at The Beehive for Friday, roots music of a completely different vibe can be found in the guise of The Model Folk (pictured). Inspiration comes from Balkan folk traditions; shrieking clarinet and thundering bass lines clash with wheezing harmonium and more as they fire off musical salvos telling tales of steam, soviet farming machinery, 1930s drag queens, circuses and tea. Think Gogol Bordello meets back of a transit van, cider-festival folk-punk… or something. I dunno.
Other musical options come from a more familiar back catalogue of songs. Catch 22 are at The Victoria, laying out a musical stall that ranges from 50’s rock and roll to the big hits and floor fillers of more recent times and everything in between. Other options come with a contemporary rock offering from The Monkey Dolls at The Swiss Chalet, from Ash to The Clash and from Weezer to Wheatus, whilst at The Castle, The Killertones will be fulfilling all of your ska and two-tone musical needs.
Old School R’n’B, blues and rock are on the cards for Saturday. The more serious end of things can be found at The Rolleston as Jamie Thyer brings his Worried Men to the venue to deliver some incendiary guitar that invokes the likes of Thorogood, Gary Moore and even Wilko Johnson whilst using similar references but with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, The Hamsters From Hell conjure up some boozy blues and riotous rhythms at The Wroughton Club.
At The Swiss Chalet, Friday Feeling can be found creating the ultimate musical party with a mix of styles, genres and eras whilst at The Victoria, Syntronix bring you all the synth-pop you could need and not just the obvious stuff, between the better known ABC and Duran Duran they also squeeze in the likes of Talk Talk and Kraftwerk!
And finally we end where we began…sort of. On Wednesday at The Rolleston you can catch The Shudders again…only this time in suitably stripped back and chilled out fashion. It may be the same band but it is a whole different show.