Tag Archive: adam sweet


10325159_553057161469541_2419765703768719527_nA quieter week all round, especially compared to the tsunami of gigs that I was able to report last time, but I guess with the guaranteed matches coming to an end in the World Cup, venues and promoters are no longer cashing in…I mean, celebrating our national sides efforts. In fact by tonight it could all be over. Sport in many ways is a transient thing where as music endures (blimey, that was deep) and although there isn’t masses to choose from this week, there are still a few gems to be had.

 

Something a bit special is happening over at Riffs Bar tonight, especially if you are fans of hip-hop flavoured acoustica with a funky edge as De’Vide roll into town. Those of you who are avid followers of The Voice will have already seen them competing under Jessie J’s patronage in the battle rounds and after a run of major gigs supporting the likes of JLS and Union J and fresh back from tour of Russia, this Ipswich two piece can be found right on your doorstep.

 

Get there early, as the local support slots are a bit special too. Benji Clements will be bringing soulful vocal and funky acoustic guitar work to the table and Charlie Baxter, a man normally found tearing around the stage as part of puzzle-pop band Oui Legionnaires, will be performing solo with what he describes as electro-hippity-hoppity-poppity-rock. If you say so Charlie!

 

It’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight as well (hurrah) and it will be starting later due to some sport on the telly box that people seem to be keen on (boo.) Sadly the wonderful James Warner Prophecies have pulled out of the show but there are still two great bands to be had. Headliners British Harlem remind us what great indie guitar bands should sound like, the perfect blend of drive, melody and charisma. Openers Cavalier (pictured) are an alternative rock band up from Guildford and to my mid have a touch of vintage American college rock about them, such as The Gin Blossoms and even the home grown “back of a transit van, cider festival punk” of Mega City Four. What ever it is they sound great.

 

For something a bit more rootsy, Hip Route main man Jim Blair will be entertaining The Beehive with his trademark funky, acoustic, slide guitar blues.

 

Staying at The Beehive for Friday and Port Erin are back. One of the most consistently unique, slick and entertaining bands of recent times, their blend of chilled psychedelia, jazz infused rock and slightly proggy meanderings are a must for anybody looking to hear a truly original band.

 

The acoustic session over at Riffs Bar is filled by Adam Sweet one of the best purveyors of groove laden blues on the circuit today and Leon Daye whose inspirations are taken from a myriad of sources and styles move effortlessly from folk to rock and everything in between.

 

Fans of cover bands have the choice of 50’s standards as Rockabilly Rumble relive the music of Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and the like whilst at The Rolleston is The Mike Hoddinott Blue Allstars, a collective of blues-rock players who have worked with virtually everyone in the music business who matter.

 

Rhythm ‘n’ booze legends The Hamsters From Hell at The Rolleston is the place to be on Saturday if you like the idea of punchy, punky blues rock, drunkenness, chaos and ironically some of the finest musicianship around.

 

Reggae fans will want to be at The Victoria for Urban Lions followed by The Shocks of Mighty DJ’ s Erin Bardwell and Jason Hughes spinning classic era ska, reggae and rocksteady.

 

Final options for Wednesday are acoustic troubadour Steve DeGutis who plays The Roaring Donkey but if you are a fan of the “Piano man” himself then head up to the Arts Centre and catch Elio Pace playing the Billy Joel Songbook.

1185071_656401631049473_470672266_nA New Year, a new start. Time to select a blank canvas and start sketching a fresh picture or more relevant to this column, pick up a new instrument and play a new tune. T.S. Elliot put it well when thinking of New Year and fresh starts when he so eloquently said,

 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice”

 

But then on the same subject of celebrating the start of a new year, Paris Hilton slightly less eloquently said,

 

“ I get half a million just to show up at parties. My life is, like, really really fun”

 

Which to me says something about how society is spiraling out of control.

 

So, in this quieter time of the year there is room to stop and reflect on what you want from the local music scene this year. It has been a time of belt tightening and cut backs, musical austerity if you like but that is not to say that we can’t do something about that. Austerity is about money, supporting music…or any art form is not, it’s about cutting your coat according to your cloth as they say. If you can’t get gigs in the few venues left operating, put your own on in alternative locations, play cafes, basements, churches, parks, house parties or art spaces. You might even consider hitting the streets and busking! Old School. Music must find a way.This year is going to be about thinking outside the box as the music scene takes the time it needs to get back on it’s feet. But remember, wherever the gig takes place, it still needs to be supported, so lets have none of the old excuses. If you are feed up by music being represented by a twerking twerp like Ms Cyrus, Nickleback (probably the worst Pearl Jam tribute band in the world) or anything that is the product of a TV show, from X-Factor to Glee, then get involved with grass roots music, whilst there is something still to get involved with.

 

Right, it may be a quiet week, but there are still a few choice cuts to be dined on. At The Victoria tonight, Secret Chord Records have a showcase of just some of the acts that they have handpicked to work with throughout the coming year, so the quality control has been done for you. Headline are the band who’s recent album seems to be as popular in Japan and New York as it is in Swindon, Super Squarecloud (pictured). A wonderful alchemizing of skewed pop, mathy interludes, time signatures that have more to do with quantum physics than music, the result is some of the most original sounds you will hear in ages. Support comes from Bristolians, Armchair Committee a band who combine the howling blues riffs of the Jack White school of cool with monumental stoner riffs and a impressively joyous noise. Opening the night Faye Rogers delicate folk palette is very much the calm before the storm.

 

Friday is the night for acoustic music, The Victoria has  Pirate Joe, a wonderful collection of improvisation, looping effects, comedy and multi-instrumentation. Support comes from the brilliant Jimmy Moore, the enigmatic Zackie Chan plus local stalwarts Hiproute.

 

At Riff’s Bar the first of the new Acoustic Sessions kicks off with Darren Hodge, who I can find almost no information about on the internet and Adam Sweet who plays bluesy acoustic rock.

 

For something a bit more rock and roll, now re-patriated with the land of his birth, David Marx brings his AK-Poets back to The Rolleston, a riot of raucous riffs and manic melodies…not to be missed.

 

Saturday sees the welcome return of Iron Hearse to The Victoria, a wonderful mix of kick-ass rock, doom infused anthems and old school metal. Warming up the crowd for them are Hot Flex and a bag of suitable covers.

 

 

And finally The Rolleston features one of the youngest and most talented electric bluesmen on the circuit, Laurence Jones who takes influence from legends such as Albert Collins and Tony McPhee. This is a player who is keeping the genre alive and fresh and marching into the 21st Century.

 

So there we go, welcome to 2014.

936668_10151582452128891_1408839903_nIt seems a bit of a quieter week all round, but then I have had a bit of a problem gathering information as of late. Without going into specifics, here is a radical idea for venues, promoters and bands – tell people about your event! Better still, tell people like me who can get the information out to thousands of people, In the words of Werhner von Braun, “it’s not rocket science” (pause until the sound of a wave of people googling him dies down.)

 

Tonight sees the very welcome return of an artist that Swindon has taken to it’s heart, Louise Latham. Blending an ethereal voice with emotive piano lines, the result is a wonderful dream pop soundscape and a collection of songs that already sound like classics. She is joined by the soulful acoustica of Benji Clements and Friends and the delicate and heartfelt creations of Drew Bryant. All that takes place under the Songs of Praise banner at The Victoria tonight.

 

A couple of people have told me that I need to check out The Darwin Republic, so I did, well, I tried to. Unfortunately, as if to ram home the point of my opening paragraph, at the time of submitting this article there was no information about them on the venue website and they appear to have no on-line presence, though I can’t decide if that is a clever campaign of deliberate mystique and anti-marketing or just lack of promotion. Though I can say that if you go to The Beehive tonight you will almost definitely….find them there.

 

No questions about the calibre of the band playing The Beehive on Friday though. Port Erin are one of those bands that genuinely challenge the listener to pigeon hole them, which is something I admire in a band. They manage to meander through jazz vibes, trippy funk workouts, rock drives and wrap them up in a chilled, unified groove. The Rolleston offers rockabilly in the form of The Corsairs and elsewhere it is covers and tributes all the way with Peleton playing mod, ska and soul at The Victoria and The Floydian Doors at The Castle paying tribute to…well, I’m sure you can work it out.

 

If you want to get out into the fresh air on Saturday (weather permitting) and take in some great music then the place to be is at The Old Town Bowl where The Reggae Garden brings you the best of the genre from midday. Macca B, Solo Banton and Murray Man all front their respective bands plus you can catch local rocksteady outfit, The Erin Bardwell Collective and a host of other acts.

 

The Arts Centre has a bit of a treat for you as no less than ex-Yes guitar shaman Steve Howe pays a visit. But prog fans be warned, this isn’t going to be a  note perfect rendition of Tales From Topographic Oceans, although some of the back catalogue is revisited, as the band explore jazz and country swing alongside the more expected numbers.

 

Pretty much at the opposite edge of the spectrum, dirty rhythm and blues is on offer at The Queens Tap. Looking like a cast of villains from The Sweeney and sounding like Dr Feelgood and The Blockheads fighting in a back alley, The Hamsters From Hell have become local legends for their ability to entertain and offend in equal measure. Crimes against songwriting are also being considered.

 

The rest of Saturday comes in the shape of Hypermused, a tribute to Teignmouth’s most famous alt-rock trio and at The Rolleston, Kok Rok will be setting their tongues firmly in their cheeks and performing the best of classic rock.

 

If harp driven Chicago R’n’b is your sort of thing then get down to The Beehive on Sunday for the afternoon session with Built For Comfort. (Note to younger readers – a harp is what bluesman call the harmonica and r’n’b was a sub-genre of rock and roll before it was applied to lip synching girl bands wiggling to landfill pop tunes, so don’t turn up expecting Little Mix with a classical string section.)

 

And finally on to Wednesday and the usual great offerings from the two midweek acoustic shows. The Running Horse goes blues with established local blues guitar aficionado Ian O’Regan and uber-talented new kid on the block Adam Sweet.

 

 

Meanwhile The Roaring Donkey has the wonderful Chalice, a folk band that brings the sound of the 60’s folk revival bang up to date. Imagine the Albion Band with Court and Spark era Joni Mitchell guesting and you get an idea of why you need to check this band out.