davesharpIt’s always nice to start the column with a bit of a bang, especially when the bang in question relates to a local lad made good. Tonight Gaz Brookfield returns to The Victoria, this time without the full band but with trusty sidekick Jake Martin in tow. A sort of folk-punk Robin to his acoustic guitar wielding Batman. Expect all usual mix of wit and wisdom, riotousness and reflection from both chaps and probably a bit of mixing and matching along the way. Opening the show is an acoustic set from Raze*Rebuild who prove that even their skyscaping and glorious songs can be stripped back into sleeker and more considered forms if the need arises.

The Beehive also has old friends returning to them, in their case Built For Comfort, a band who will transport you to a back street blues bar in an alternate America where Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans exist in close proximity and whose signature sounds they play perfect tribute to.


The big draw for Friday is found at The Rolleston in the guise of Mr Dave Sharp (pictured). Having built his reputation with The Alarm as part of the soaring and searing “big music” movement he now trades in a mixture of rock, folk and blues, delivered via both electric and acoustic guitars. He may be alone on the stage but he is famed for creating an atmosphere and energy at his live shows that full bands would be envious of.

If you think that pop-punk has gone as far as it can, head into Level III and experience Brightlight City offer up a new chapter. They may still carry the trademark groove and bounce of the genre, but as recent e.p. Our Future’s Not Dead proves they have taken it down a more cinematic and wide-screen route . Big songs, big riffs but now big dreams too. Loose Tooth revel in a more grunge infused sound and local openers Pool create dark and emotive sonic atmospheres.

Rock can also be found at The Queen’s Tap with Down and Dirty playing some cool choices as they wander through the genres less obvious sonic highways. Prog, punk and Americana as well as the more usual covers. The Missing Persians return to The Beehive with another masterclass in substance over style. They write clever, clean-limbed songs full of smart lyrics and deft musicianship, reminiscent of the more direct approach of the British R&B and folk scene of the past. At this point I will make the obligatory Nick Lowe comparison.

If pop, soul and something sweet and soothing is to your tastes then Joli Soul at The Tap and Barrel is what you might be looking for and Hooch lay out a sonic stall of 90’s indie and rock covers at The Victoria.

In keeping with the previous two nights, Saturday also has a name draw, this time with The Warriors at Level III. If Oi is remembered as the authentic sound of the 70’s streets, terraces and underground venues, then The Warriors captured that sound perfectly and today their songs echo with the same blue collar frustration and unbridled energy. The part of the perfect support band is played by Street Outlaws, Swindon’s own gang of hooligan guitar slingers.

Stop Stop brings its own personal brand of excess to The Waiting Room, think 80s glam metal, The Sunset Strip, big riffs…bigger hair, raw grooves, guitar virtuosity and a bag of killer tunes. Glam, bam, thank you mam! At The Victoria, The Guitar Legends show unsurprisingly revels in the greatest guitar hits of all time.

Rootys blues can be found in a few different styles across town. Josie and The Outlaw give it a 50’s rockabilly, rock’n’roll and country-blues twist at The Queen’s Tap, Hip Route funk it up at The Rolleston and Teddy White takes it through a carefully curated back catalogue of songs that you may not be so familiar with at The Messenger.

And finally that just leaves room to mention Six O’Clock Circus’ night of Brit-Pop and Indie Rock at The Prince of Wales in Wootton Bassett and both The Monkey Dolls and Homer who play the Tawny Owl and Tap and Barrel respectively. The former play energetic rock and indie and the latter play classic rock.