Lucy SpragganNow that the seasonal chill is setting in, the big coat has been taken out of mothballs and evenings no longer lend themselves to outdoor entertainment, thoughts naturally turn back to live gigs taking place in the warmth and hospitality of the proper music venues. And for those looking to reap the obvious rewards which come from checking out the original portion of the sonic menu, there is plenty to choose from this month.

Kicking off at The Tuppenny on the 7th, The Astral Ponies bring together a wonderful blend of Victorian music hall, Americana, psychedelia and folky tunes. But it is their quintessentially English eccentricities which mark them out from the crowd, their strange sartorial choices and their biscuit fixations. Come for the music, stay for the Viennese Whirls….and possibly cravats. And in the “if you like that you’ll love this” department ,on the 9th, The Rolleston will play host to blues, bluegrass and country infused roots delights of Lost Eleven.

Something wacky this way comes, to The Victoria on the 14th, to be precise, in the shape of Mother Vulture, a punked out, hardcore, blues fusion with an energetic stage presence to rival anything you have seen strutting its rock and roll stuff in a long time. 

The following day there are another couple of great options to consider. Fans of dub grooves and street wise lyrical moves will be heading to Level III to catch Junior Bill, especially as local support will be SN Dubstation just before the band calls it a day. But if acoustic-driven, alt rock is more your sort of thing then The Leon Daye Band will be firing off soaring and inspiring sonic salvos at The Beehive.

Lucy Spraggan (pictured) may have come to people’s attention through auditioning for, and bailing out of,  X Factor, but she was never your typical X Factor act. With similar sonic finger prints to fellow Sheffield icons Arctic Monkeys, she mixes streetwise acoustic pop with smart social narratives and she can be found at Level III on 16th.

Back up the hill at The Tuppenny is the place to find Atari Pilot on the 28th. The band returned to the musical array last year and quickly proved that they had lost none of their ability to deliver euphoric songs and eloquent, memorable lyrics. This time out they are joined by that mercurial, green-fingered, multi-instrumental who goes by the name Grasslands.

Those looking for something a bit more weighty need to check out Palm Reader, a band who mix the density of metal with a dark, ethereal beauty. The result is sort of a dream state rock music which wanders between cavernous, nightmarish sounds and gorgeous, post-rock soundscaping. Find them at The Victoria on 29th where they are joined by We Never Learned to Live and Homeland.

And with a new album just out, Tensheds returns to town, playing the Beehive, also on 29th, and I heavily recommend you catch his punk-rock-piano-blues. Think The Jim Jones Revue having a bar room jam with Tom Waits and you are about a quarter of the way there!

This article first appeared in The Swindonian