Not many musicians deserve elevation to celebrity status. In fact celebrity is a word so devalued by its application to reality TV chancers and inflated pop dross egos that we need a new label for the likes of David Bowie. Maybe Icon is a better fit. 25 of the most influential albums of all time, film and theatre roles and untold creative innovations; he embodied art, androgyny, contradiction, mystery, elegance and eloquence and even his death and final musical statement seem like a work of art.
What better person then to be used as a force for good and tonight’s Bowie For Aleppo show does just that. Acts, including George Wilding, Canute’s Plastic Army and Rob Beckinsale, will be covering his seminal songs, there are DJ’s, karaoke and even an art auction, all raising money to help alleviate the suffering of the young caught in the maelstrom that rages through Aleppo. That is tonight at The Victoria.
And good deeds don’t stop there. At Level III on Friday, South West Hardcore returns after a long absence with a show full to the brim with thunderous energy and euphoric dynamics. Local legends Roads To Nowhere top the bill with NYC punk referencing At The Helm reforming just for this event. Opening the show and launching their new ep are Erase The Rat. The show is to help support the local food bank network and punters are asked to bring some tinned or non-perishable foods…and remember there are options besides baked beans.
Those with a taste for a nostalgic, white knuckle ride through the formative years of punk should look no further than The Castle as The Useless Eaters descend on the venue, full sonic filth and fury to remind us that punk went way beyond The Sex Pistols, ranging from UK art schools to The Lower East Side’s edgy street scene and beyond.
Perhaps diametrically opposed to the previous option, at The Swiss Chalet acoustic versions of Bon Jovi can be had courtesy of Wrong Jovi, stadium level anthems rendered down to a more chilled delivery.
Ahead of their forthcoming North American tour, Desert Mountain Tribe head to The Victoria to warm up their musical muscles. These pan-European rockers revel in dark, hazy psychedelia strapped on to visceral garage rock, a bit like the sound of Wolf Alice getting stoned with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Imagine that!
And if after that you want more barricade kicking, unique music in your life, -Saturday. The Locomotive. Port Erin. Okay, I’ll give you a bit more to work with. Port Erin’s unique feature is their ability to weave a path through a variety of broad genres; space-rock, jazz, avant-garde, funk, psychedelia, ambient, progressive and more besides, and deliver it with energy, fun, dexterity and an infectious love for music.
At The Swiss Chalet, Big Brass Ska does pretty much what it says on the tin, all the two-tone and ska classics delivered in all their glory by a 10 piece including a fantastic horn section to give the songs that authentic sound.
At The Victoria, Rorke’s Drift are all about the rock swagger and a bag full of well-loved rock tunes and Danger Mouse cover the bases both chronologically and stylistically at The Moonrakers. Penfold will be at The Castle for a night of indie covers, hi-jinx and shenanigans and proving why they are one of the most popular bands on the circuit.
Sunday is the day of unrest at The Victoria as a collection of bands deliver brutal and uncompromising assaults on the senses. It is metal but at its most extreme, most intense, most devastating. Osiah head the bill with Harbinger, Diabolus and Depravity joining the fray.
Finally Wednesday sees the return of a big name to Swindon. The Dan Reed Network made their name mixing hard rock, funk and soul around the pre-grunge Pacific North West of America and they bring those enticing elements to Level III in aid of Fatboy’s Cancer Charity.
Meanwhile at The Victoria whilst the karaoke of Wacky Wednesday happens up stairs, below is a great collection of bands. Black Sheep Apprentice, fresh out of the recording studio, explore the dark and intense corners of a punk ethos Americana whilst Awakening Savannah and My Social Decline wander through more alt-rock musical pastures.