19143181_1006331876069956_5134772044657416393_oWe’ve had the first snow, a lot of people have their decorations up and there is even a bottle of Amaretto on the drinks shelf but of course it isn’t really Christmas until you have watched Alan Rickman plummet from the top of the Nakatomi Plaza! And the musical offerings also reflect this transitional period, not quite swamped with office soirees where people called Brian from Human Resources take it upon themselves to enforce the fun, not quite into the realm of wall to wall cheesy Christmas songs but certainly at a point where the musical options are more about the tried and tested than the unknown and cutting edge…material wise anyway.

Of course there are always some exceptions and one is the chance to catch the last local Hip Route show of the year at The Beehive. Funky blues, pulsing and soulful grooves, dexterous slide guitar and a sassy vocal growl…what more do you need? Not much but if you feel the answer is a cool folk-pop support act then Sarah Ryan has that covered. If that isn’t your thing then Lewis Leighton will be breaking out everything from Sinead O’Connor to Green Day, Springsteen to Rhianna at The Groves Company Inn.

Original hard rock is on the menu at The Castle as Awakening Savannah blend old school classic rock with its modern alternative offspring, whilst just down the hill at The Beehive, things take a turn for the Wurst or at least for the Cevapi as The Model Folk run roughshod over European and Balkan traditional folk sounds and even take the occasional turn towards the Klezmeretic! (Just getting rid of a few pre-Brexit puns whilst I still can!)

If that all seems a bit too much normality is restored around the rest of the town via many of the stalwarts of the local scene. The Killertones will be delivering all things ska, punk and reggae with power, poise and panache in equal measure at The Swiss Chalet, whilst things get their groove on at The Groves Company Inn as The Soul Strutters lay out a stall of soul, funk and disco.

At The Queen’s Tap The Teddy White Band will be delving into some choice gems and uncut diamonds from music’s beat, rhythm and blues and boogie past and a selection of covers from all genres and eras can be found at The Victoria courtesy of Penfold and also No Middle Ground who can be found at The Swiss Chalet.

Despite my opening remarks, there is one musical event which marks the season quite wonderfully and that is the 12 Bands of Christmas at The Victoria. Now in its 12th year this annual chance to see local bands step out of their usual musical trappings and play a couple of covers totally out of keeping with their trademark sound is as popular as ever. I’m not going to list the bands as that isn’t really the point, you should just go, its as bizarre as it is brilliant, not only a great night but the stuff that dreams are made of. Sorry, not dreams, anecdotes.

At The Queen’s Tap The Hamsters From Hell continue their bluesy, boozy, rhythmic, riotous, sweaty and sweary mission to offend and entertain in equal measure via the medium of rhythm and blues, depending on just how broadminded you are, and Innes Sibun plays high octane blues rock at The Groves Company Inn after which it is all about choosing the nature of the nostalgia and which preferred musical memories you wish to revisit.

Neon brings disco, funk and pop to The Manor, Good Times do what they say on the tin with a wide range of favourites at The Blunsdon Arms as do Fizz at The Castle. Rock is on tap with Darren Hunt’s incendiary one man show at The Wheatsheaf and The Bluefinz cover the rock classics at The Windmill. Vice Verse delivers the coolest indie tunes to The Woodlands Edge and People Like Us give some well known songs an acoustic twist at The New Inn.

Sunday sees Missin’ Rosie pulling original songs out of traditional folk forms at The Beehive, Felix and The Funk getting groovesome and funky at 20 At The Kings and Lads! Lads! Lads! playing a chart friendly playlist as only they can at The Castle.