One thing about writing this column is that people don’t seem to have any fear of voicing an opinion as to how I could do it a lot better. But criticism is healthy and it has been pointed out to be that I do tend to favour the music that appeals to my own tastes rather than cover a wider spectrum of formats. So, heading into a new year seemed the natural place to bring a new modus operandi to the gig guide and like Trump, Brexit and Teresa May give the majority what they asked for, irrespective of my own personal preferences. So here is to a new, more inclusive guide to music venues and all their activities, subject, of course, to me being able to find said information online.
And change is the order of the day as we begin at The Victoria tonight. With the first Thursday of the month no longer being filled by Songs of Praise, a brave and radical new approach on the part of the venue brings you Games Night. It is a night that promises to pitch X-Box, PS4, Megadrive, N64 and more against each other on the venues big screen, to decide once and for all which is the best. (In case you are wondering, no, I have no idea what I have just written.)
If something with more of a cardio-vascular aspect is to your tastes then why not head to The MECA on Friday for their family roller disco. All ages catered for all, all you have to do is buckle up and boogie like it’s 1978.
Up at The Victoria and the one original music offering of the week also brings one of my favourite finds of last year. I have always struggled to find a suitable label for Martyrials and as you know, us journalists love our pigeon-holing, so Paisley Punktronica is my best stab at things, hopefully offering a sense of their mercurial neo-psychedelic, synth-punk. Support comes from electro-retro soundscapers Siblings of Us and the thunderous rock of The Unguarded kicks things off.
Built For Comfort continue on their quest to educate the masses in the delights of old school R’n’B, a musical ménage a trois between the cultural blues-prints of Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans. Catch them at The Rolleston.
At The Swiss Chalet you will find Bleep Machines mining a musically retrospective seam from an altogether different era. Revelling in all things 80’s synth-pop, they bring you a night of hi-octane dance tunes from the era of Day-Glo and leg warmers from the obvious selections of the likes of Duran Duran and Erasure to the more dubious choices such as Rick Astley.
Penfold start the new year as they mean to go on with the ultimate set of classic floor fillers and party tunes at The Queens Tap.
Saturday has a bit of an alcohol theme going on. Firstly at The Victoria, you can catch Hooch a band, according to their webpage “consisting of some of the town’s greatest musicians playing all the best 90’s music, “ so prepare for everything from Pulp to Supergrass, Dodgy and of course Oasis.
Second option, W.A.M better known as When Alcohol Matters to their friends, will be laying out a stall of punk and ska tunes at The Swiss Chalet, expect a boisterous show, some colourful language and a non-stop riotous party vibe. Drink, groove and be merry.
And finally we end where we began, back at The Victoria on Wednesday for their long established karaoke session that goes under the ominous name of Wacky Wednesday.