Tag Archive: adepto futui


Library - 97There was an interesting debate online the other day that centred around the age old problem of punters not supporting gigs, the same “use it or lose it” clichés being thrown around as well as the usual one-upmanship of how some people want to be seen as being  more passionate about music than others. One thrust of the argument tried to lay the blame squarely on the punter along the lines of “we are putting these gigs on and you are not attending, it’s your bad” (as they say in US teen comedies.) However, this if we build it they should come argument is, in my opinion, all arse about face (as they say in UK radio farming dramas.) Even in financially tough times, if you put on a gig that is attractive enough to the punter, then people will turn up. The point I think that was being missed by the opposing camp was that a lot has changed since they were young, finger on the pulse, gig goers. People don’t access their music in the same way anymore; there are so many free alternatives available in the comfort of your own home to actually going out to a gig. Music is all over the TV, sites like Spotify gives you free access to a lot of music, the internet allows cottage industry bands to get their music directly to the punter (hence the demise of HMV, who, to be fair, must have seen it coming) maybe attending live gigs just isn’t that important to a lot of people as it was ten or twenty years ago. Maybe it’s as simple as the people moaning about no one attending the gigs they are putting on, are simply billing the wrong bands! Does Tesco attack the man in the street for buying Sainsbury’s products? No they do some research and try to create a more appealing product.

So what happens if you put the right bands on? Well quite a lot. My own night, Songs of Praise had a pretty good turn out considering the weather and the post Christmas financial crash that most people are feeling. Original music on a Thursday night is always tricky round here so to get 30-40 people in was very pleasing. Rock music might seem to have been done to death but there are still some great bands putting a different edge on things. Openers Adepto Futui (pictured), now  playing in a classic three piece formation managed to mix self-deprecating between song banter with some blistering raw electric blues that would sit quite happily alongside your Jon Spenser Blues Explosion collection. Up all the way from Cardiff, Spyglass played a polished set of alt-rock that married the density of grunge with some aggressive classic rock grooves and headliners SkyBurnsRed did their usual line of effortless rock, classical sweeps, dark and atmospheric songs and funky leggings.

The following night The Furnace also proved that if you do it right, then people will take notice. I got into a bit of bother a while ago when I suggested that the venues break with its old associations is both painful for some and totally necessary. In fact what I said exactly was:

I’m glad to see that The Furnace is getting its act together again. More gigs seem to be taking place and more diversity within those bookings is most welcome. Gradually shaking off its creatures of the night association has not been easy on the DJ’s and promoters who have been driving the change, but hopefully those Buffy The Vampire Slayer fixated, pretend pagan, narrow minded, goth-metalers who bemoan the loss of their lair, but who in reality never supported in particularly great numbers anyway, will now be relegated to the chat rooms and forums where they can ritually curse the new direction and bitch about the old days viewed through blood-tinted spectacles.

 

A barrage of abuse followed mainly from people trying to defend their rose-tinted image of Level 3. You don’t have to tell me about those days, I was there. A lot! Yes it was great, yes it was busy but the important word if WAS. If you want to re-capture those days you have to re-create it with the tools available and that’s what tonight was all about. The new tools in this case lay largely on the pop side of indie. Two local openers set the scene, Salute The Magpie who channel the spirit of The Smiths via more recent Indie sounds such as The Maccabees, and the wonderful cinematic folk- pop blends of indie soundscapers, Old Colours played to the biggest crowd of the whole night. The headline acts have just come to the end of a national tour and even though they are not the biggest names to have passed through the venue since the change of management, they still managed to keep a reasonable amount of the crowd after the local interest had left the stage. Pop used to be a dirty word but Portia Conn and her band play the sort of pop that easily dispels the generic travesties of the past, auto-tuners and clichéd dance routines. Instead we are reminded that pop can produce soulful and fresh music played with style by wonderfully charismatic live bands. Whoddathoughtit?

Young Kato splice rock and pop and create the best of both worlds with the attack, attitude and drive of the former and the fun and melody of the latter. And although the crowd had dwindled somewhat by then, those that remained were there to have a good time and bounced along to their effervescent tunes, in fact it was a capsule moment of what had been taking place all night as the gig had attracted a slew of hip popsters and cool indie kids out to have a good time. A sea of funky hats, ironic knitwear, skinny jeans and future-retro styles flitted about the room, a splash of fun and colour where not so long ago you would only have seen an ocean of black. It also became the focal point for a gathering of the great and good of Swindon and muso spotting from bands old and new became the order of the day. In my i-spy book of ligging and name checking, I managed to tick off a couple of  The 211, a Youngblood, an Off Chancer and even got extra points for a good chat with the boy racer himself, Chip Daddy.

To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park “Music finds a way” Even in these difficult times, the audience is out there. There was a time when maverick promoters could afford to run the line, I’m giving them what they didn’t know they wanted, fine when there is an excess of disposable income and people turn out in larger numbers. For now it’s all about giving the punter what he wants and understanding that if people aren’t turning up to shows that you are putting on, the answer to the problem might lie closer to home than you realise.

Library - 91Had Good King Wenceslas looked out of my window, far from seeing snow that was deep and crisp and even, he would have seen un-gritted roads and snow sculptures that either look like something out of a Tim Burton movie or designs that are too unsavoury to be discussed here. And looking at the snow it got me thinking that unlike the cheesy results when Christmas is used as the subject of a song, the topic of snow has generated some wonderful results. Underground classics such as Driven Like The Snow by obtuse grumps The Sisters of Mercy, the hauntingly beautiful Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave (although the underlying message is about something far darker of course) and in typical humour Frank Zappa’s, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow.

 

Well hopefully the snow related chaos that has caused so many gig cancellations over the last week are behind us, especially as one of the bands playing Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight are coming all the way up from Cardiff. Spyglass mix up heavy alt-rock grooves with a melodic grunge density and will be playing the support slot to SkyBurnsRed, a band who incorporate classical grandeur, raw, dark and emotive rock, sensuous violin and an aggressive delivery. Also taking their chosen genre to new heights is opener Adepto Futui, a band that captures the feeling, vibe and voice of traditional blues but who manage to twist it into interesting, Byzantine heavy and original shapes.

 

Meanwhile down at The Beehive an interesting local proposition is taking place. Having grown out of the Lazy Sunday Afternoon Sessions at the Art Centre, Fieldfare is the combined acoustic guitar and vocal arrangements of local stalwarts, Steve Cox, Paul Griffiths and Tim Sawyer reworking each other’s songs.

 

There are a few big shows at The Furnace this week; the first comes in the form of Cheltenham’s Young Kato on Friday. Pop may be a dirty word these days but along with LAB label mate Portia Conn, they will be proving that there is a lot more to the genre than dance routines and auto-tuners. Pop beats, warm atmospherics and infectious melodies collide with confident guitar-work to re-establish the credibility of the genre. Also on the bill Old Colours continue to ply their trade of fragile, cinematic, otherworldly indie creations and Salute the Magpie open the show. If something more raw, lewd and beardy is to your taste then check out The Hamsters From Hell in The Rolleston next door.

 

Back at The Beehive and another Cheltenham band, Stressecho indulge the venue with a wonderful angst-folk set, beautiful, understated music to accompany poignant and open story telling.

 

More big noises at The Furnace on Saturday, this time taking a much more aggressive format with hard edged pop-punk from south coast trio, Hold The Fight and local, upbeat, post-hardcore champions When Words Fail. Back upstairs in The Rolleston there is a bit of a paradox. Metal Gods claim to “try and bring something fresh to the scene” which is obviously commendable but then state that they play classic rock covers from the 80’s/90’s. Not sure what to make of that, still that’s not to say it won’t be a good night out for those still proudly holding on to their patched denim jackets and Let It Rain tour shirts.

 

 

Riffs Bar play the acoustic card and have a collection of acts both local and otherwise  playing in a very stripped down fashion, including the 50’s rock and roll vibe of Josie and The Outlaw, the wonderful harmonies and intricate guitar blends of Ethemia and the joyous and upbeat creations of The Real Raj.

 

Missin’ Rosie seem determined to invoke the wrath of the folk police (they do exist, I checked with the Home Office) by taking folk music and rocking it up to a point where those people who denounced Dylan for going electric in ’66 would be jumping off of tall buildings. Catch their mix of standards and originals at The Sun Inn on Sunday.

 

And so we end in our usual mid week oasis of music and two options. If you haven’t had enough of the loud and shouty, then Teenage Kicks at The Furnace has a Headbanger Special on Wednesday with music and neck ache courtesy of Twisted State of Mind, Dissolute, Wreckoning and Stands To Reason.  A more mellow listening experience can be had at The Running Horse with the wonderful Rosellys whose British-American ranges from acoustic country to stomping bluegrass, from gentle balladry to barn dance hoedowns. Not what you expect from the M4 corridor on a chilly midweek evening.

 

Library - 89

Review by Joy Bells

Let the battle continue…

Day 2 of the shuffle! Saturday and Apollo’s polished up the chariot. The sun is officially out! Yesterday’s lesson learnt I slip on my Converse and cadge a lift on the Triumph Bonneville, courtesy of Mr Mick. Yesterday’s early evening soda drinking jamboree has left me hang over free and that’s good as I anticipate a busy day fitting in shedloads of talent at 4 different venues. My shuffle will see me doing more hopping than a cockney vacation to Kent!

The Rolleston is my first stop and Doeser, Swindon’s punk age prototype pits his raw vocals against Mike Nee’s sleaze blues harmonica. This is half of ‘Hamsters from Hell’ – with the staying power of Stonehenge they’re part of Swindon’s musical archaeology. Billy Jon follows; all rich vocals, unbuckled charm charting thoughts mined in moments of clarity and thrills spilt in bright guitar flashes of light. The benches outside begin to empty as Shufflers forego the sunshine for this acoustic set and shoppers gripping Sainsbury’s carrier bags pop their heads round the door to see what the fuss is about. Fresh faced Faye Rogers takes over, engaging and vulnerable her clean, lilting voice has a Bjork like ebb and flow wrapped up with pretty guitar melodies. Here’s a really promising talent…and what a cracking pair of red Doc Martens. But I need a pick me up and the thought of Starbucks and The Bateleurs playing at Rise Records in Swindon’s Brunel Plaza prompts us to head into town.

Caffeine quaffing we arrive at Rise as Buswell play their last few numbers. Reduced to 7 or 8 members there’s still a disparate musical dialogue delivering unyielding country/folk vibes less Mumford and Sons and more Buswell (as in Shaun) and friends. There are musicians from Anchor and the wolf, Missing Rosie, The Shudders and God knows how many other bands, which reminds me why the Swindon music scene is worth its weight in grand piano’s! Ego isn’t as important as creating music; from sound engineers to bass guitarists, roles overlap like tectonic plates holding this musical world together.

A sizeable crowd have gathered outside the shop and Brunel ‘security’ informs management that they need the people watching to move inside. There’s a great atmosphere and when The Bateleurs start playing at the back of the shop, sure enough a few people decide they’ll throw their lot in with the devil and shuffle (see what I did there) uncertainly in.

Having missed the silky folk smoked rock of The Bateleurs last night I soon start tapping my feet and nodding my head. I love Sean Amor’s voice, like gravel in a thick milkshake and the fiddle, plaintive and restrained. What a wicked way to buy your books and CDs.At the end it was hard to drag ourselves away and in an attempt to maintain our stamina we force feed ourselves pasties from Greggs while discussing ‘endurance between venue’ tactics for the night ahead. But as Steve Martin says, ‘Talking about music is like dancing about architecture’ – so we made our way back to The Rolleston for the real thing.

Adepto Futui were just setting up and they did not disappoint. This is a 4 man funky, hunky package tied up with groovy, twangy strings, with keyboard notes flying like bullets through cymbals crashing like Atlantic waves in a storm. Believe me, that’s a very good thing. West Coast Americana bubbling under the grill of the Swindon Town shuffle. Don’t mind if I do…They’re quickly followed by the technically excellent Blowbacks. I’ve seen them before and will see them again. They’re melodic, articulate with a dash of Blur-ish Britpop rock and cool as cucumbers to boot. Eight or nine songs later and they’re making way for the next band.

The musical tapas continues in the form of Nudybronque. Mike Sheehan sounds like Morrissey (if Morrissey ate meat and liked people) and the rhythms and beats are bouncier than Jordan’s breasts, but they also entertain with on stage wrestling, drum kit demolition, infectious smiles and songs about real life…’she says she’s pregnant’. The drum kit is quickly reassembled for Super SquareCloud, all innovative melodica, percussion driven, keyboard frisson, guitar risen from the dead and octave changing vocals pared at times into ethereal bars of flighty lyrical fancy. Super SquareCloud need some absorption, but osmosis is my middle name!

A few songs from the end we stand outside wondering if we can get to 12 Bar in time for Plummie Racket’s acoustic set with Dan. Fortunately Alan Holmes of Holmes Music appears. He’s checking the equipment on a quick trip out from The SOLAM festival at Riffs and offers us a lift. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, or anywhere else come to think of it, we hop in his van and are at 12 Bar before you could say ‘The Black Hats Rock!’

There’s only a couple of people in the venue, so Frankie and I pull our chairs to the very front and treat it like our own personal show. Affably sweary and constantly updating his repertoire with songs he writes a few hours before going on stage, he and Dan perform like they’re engaging with a Glastonbury crowd. As the first song ends I’m surprised by the clapping and hooting behind me. The venue has filled up and the rest of his set is met with loud and good humoured appreciation.

Farewells done we leave and pop into the Chinese take away on Faringdon Road for a bag of chips. Shuffling is no good for your health; I’m going to have to run every day next week to combat one day’s pastry and potato combo. We hear a horn beep and look up to see Mr Holmes four-way flashing on the road side. He’s fast becoming our taxi service and whisks us up to The Beehive. The pub is heaving. People aren’t standing outside to enjoy the balmy evening they simply can’t get in. Melodious tendrils of delicate harmony filter through the cheery babble. Matilda are in full swing.  (with Becky called away Matilda actually became Emily Sykes and friends instead – Ed) By the time we actually push through to the back they’ve finished and Emily and the Dogs are setting up.

I’ve been meaning to check out this band for ages, everyone’s talking about them and from the moment they begin I know why. The guitars and drum fit like well-crafted jigsaw pieces around the most emotionally weighted voice, all Dion Washington washed with Winehouse; there’s depth and resonance, jagged edged pain and joyous melody. It’s all here, soul, jazz and folksy charm playing beautifully together and sharing musical jewels.

It’s been a long day and we nip out to Fratello’s on Victoria Road for a pick me up coffee. On the way we’re startled by a badger running hell for leather down a back ally. An animal contingent of music lovers must have heard that Emily and the Dogs are live at the Hive and want to play!  We bump into Plummie (again) on the way back and he’s still promising Racket badges. At the Beehive the 3 man acoustic collective Mr Love and Justice are filling the place with easy listening folksy nostalgia, all long served musicians highly respected on the Swindon music scene. What a great way to wrap up the night.

But it doesn’t end there. Talking politics with Steve Cox of Mr L and J, playing darts and winning – that combination of alcohol and live music again and making a detour on the way home to say ‘Happy Anniversary’ to Dave and Anna who were partying up at The Victoria all added to The Shuffle experience. One more day to go…can I do it? Is the Pope Catholic?

The first two big local festivals of the summer may have come and gone, both to great success I might add, but that doesn’t mean that things are going to quieten down just yet. Far from it as there is still a lot of brilliant music to check out over the next seven days.

 

Kicking off tonight in our usual starting point and it’s time for another intriguing line up from Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Continuing their theme of acquiring great out of town acts, tonight headliners I’m Designer are something pretty different. Mixing up semi-stoner riffs, swamp rock sleaze and a punky garage vibe, these guys make an amazing sound. If that wasn’t enough, down from Derbyshire to add to the onslaught are The James Warner Prophecies, a band whose blend of eclectic pop-metal with all the trimmings I cannot recommend enough. Local bands are represented by the raw, raucous, cranked up blues of Adepto Futui –  and it’s all free.

 

If you drew a Venn Diagram that included Nick Drake, Jimmy Page and Davy Graham, it would be hard to imagine many people who would form the group where all three intersect. Robert Brown is one such person and his exotic blend of chilled rock meets acoustic folk can be experienced at The Beehive tonight.

 

On Friday, the two biggest venues in town go head to head. The Oasis has pulled off a bit of a coup by securing Biffy Clyro who use this as a warm up gig for a string of summer festival appearances. This Scottish three piece blend slightly progy-alt-rock with post-hardcore drive, if you can get tickets for this, do so, I guarantee that it will be your gig of the year. “Mon The Biff” as their fans are given to chanting. The MECA are appealing to a totally different audience by hosting an 80’s themed roller disco, so truly something for everyone there.

 

Falling in between these two extreme parameters are a host of other great gigs. At Riffs Bar, for instance, the younger bands get their chance to shine, headed by the slightly angular, slightly staccato indie vibes of The Fixed as well as one of my favourite bands of recent times, The Street Orphans.

 

Something a bit more laid back comes in the form of a three-piece Kangaroo Moon at The Beehive.  Trancey, dancey, chilled, joyous and richly melodic, this is the perfect sound track for these gentle summer evenings. At The Victoria a brilliant line up has been assembled as a teaser for The Field View Festival, the local music event success story of recent times. It is headlined by ska-reggae-skank party band, The 360 and also featuring a welcome return to Swindon for the awesome Motherload, but I recommend that you get there early enough to catch the opening acts as well. Sam Green was last seen at The Victoria playing a tribute to Robert Johnson at The Dead at 27 show but is back playing his own set that ranges from heart on the sleeve folk to punk barn dance stomps. Weatherstorms is the brilliant new musical vehicle for ex-Old School Tie’s Cameron brothers and I can tell you from experience that this is a band that you need to experience.

 

The Furnace is playing host to a band being hailed as the start of a grunge revival, Fighting With Wire. Successors to the likes of Silverchair or Pearl Jam rather than Nirvana and occasional straying into the same territory as Mr Grohl’s current concern these guys put on an awesome live show both visually and sonically. Support comes from the self-proclaimed spearhead of post-music, Mr Hello and His Honesty Club plus The Starkers and Oxygen Thief. (You can tell something about a line up when someone as great as Oxygen Thief is merely the opening act!)

 

Also highlighting the coming SOLAM festival as well as raising money for a recent fire at the hosting Roves Farm site, The 12 Bar has an all-dayer including Bateleurs, new band Albion, SkyBurnsRed, Missin’ Rosie, The Vooz and Aural Candy.

 

Following in the footsteps of American bluegrass and country influenced bands such as The Lovell Sisters, Larkin Poe and even The Dixie Chicks, you may be surprised to learn that the Toy Hearts who play The Arts Centre are not from Austin, Nashville or somewhere in The Appalachians, but are actually from Birmingham, England such is the authenticity of their luscious sound.

 

Before I run out of space, a few quick mentions go to Gaz Brookfield who is the Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive and Swiss band November 7 at The Victoria. If a mix of old school metal riffs with dark gothic overtones is your cup of Darjeeling, then you know where to be.

 

 

The next Songs of Praise show (7th June)  is a strange blend of fired up, raw delta blues, Derbyshires finest pop-metal three-piece and the weird and exotic Salisbury soundscapers who seemly are trying to re-define sound itself. It’s all free, (though we do appreciate a few coins in the hat to help top up the bands expenses) it’s all original, so why not pop down and check out why Songs of Praise is becoming the only place to be to experience the best emerging bands. And if you can’t make the show please be kind enough to share the event with your FB buddies. Thank you.

Facebook event, links and details here

There were elements of both curiosity and familiarity that drew me to the gig that night, that and the fact that it was the only real option for quality live music in a town obsessed with tired classic rock cover bands and forty-somethings who still believe punk never died. Curiosity came in the desire to check out ex-Old School Tie front man, James Cameron’s new band, the familiarity in the safe knowledge that headliners The Icarus Youth always deliver.

One unexpected dose of familiarity came as opening band Adepto Futui, who I must confess I though was going to be a solo artist, took the stage and a recognisable face loomed large amongst their ranks. Many years ago I used to watch an acoustic blues duo called Apple (if memory serves) and it was none other than guitarist Shed Judd (owner of the best white ‘fro since Jeff Lynn) who was strapping on an electric six string and preparing to lead his band through their debut gig, and what a gig it was too. Rocked out blues is a pretty hit or miss affair. Mostly it is the last bastion of mulletted, rock rhythm guitarists who mistakenly believe that just because the two genres share the same musical alphabet they can easily mutate from one to the other. Wrong! Blues is an attitude, a feeling, and a voice – not something you can assemble like the colours on a Rubik’s Cube. Adepto Futui, however, fired through a set of songs that not only did them proud, but that would stand up to scrutiny from the drinking dens of the Mississippi Delta to the smoky clubs of Chicago and everywhere in between.

One of the main selling points, having taken for granted the quality the songs, was that the band was top of its game. Too many bands are happy to be a beat and a lead guitar but here were a band of musical equals, tight rhythms and cascading piano holding their own allowing the guitar to do it’s job from blistering riffs, staccato jabs or to drop out altogether. When you have a band that is that on the groove, it just works. Local “blues” pretenders take note!

I get the feeling that if James Cameron could clone himself he would be able to just form a band by himself and take all the musical roles, such is his musical dexterity and command of technology but that would be a lonely and indulgent existence and as Weatherstorms ran through their set, it’s clear that making music with like minded individuals is the right vehicle for him. There were touches of the euphoric sound that flavoured his previous band but here was something more chilled but no less as impressive. Switching between keyboards, acoustic guitar and vocals and aided and abetted by only drums and vocals, he still showed his ability to blend delicate soundscapes that build into massive pieces of sonic architecture and then drop back into quiet, hushed atmospheres. Curiosity satisfied, this is a band I will be seeing many more times.

The local connection of the headline band comes from the much hailed Kulucci March, a band that seemed to arrived fully formed on the local scene, made massive waves and then disappeared as abruptly as they had arrived. It did seem inevitable that some of those musicians would rise again, and The Icarus Youth is proof of that. Mixing big harmony indie, rock drives and subtle urban attitudes, their “Indie Rock and Rhyme” as they describe it reflects everything that is cool and contemporary. Guitars play intricate lines but stay just the right side of the mathy bandwagon, preferring to wander between melodic hooks and big rock power chords whilst the bass lines add weight and occasionally unexpected funkiness to the proceedings. Across the top of the music, straight vocal deliveries mutate into quirky rap and then get driven to their logical conclusion as everyone piles into to create big close harmony choruses. As I said, The Icarus Youth encapsulate everything that seems so now, in their music, image and attitude: utterly listenable, eminently watchable and a fascinating prospect who seem to have a bright future ahead of them.