Tag Archive: aj live


1455048_10151626389261362_1814659028_nSo here we are again, at the tail end of another year and time maybe to pause and reflect on the year gone. Whilst everyone was distracted by footage of Miley “so thin and yet so thick” Cyrus twerking in the most indecorous fashion in a bid to be controversial and the circus show line up that is X Factor looking more tired and unconvincing than ever, what was actually going on in the trenches, the local musical grassroots. Well, with the 12 Bar standing boarded up like a silent epitaph to a more productive time and the MECA echoing to the sound of roller skates and baying fans of pugilism, things might seem at a low musical ebb.  Even many of the pubs have decided to bite the bullet and call time on their musical activities. Add to that promoters and even new bands seem to be thin on the ground and things might seem in a bit of a slump.

 

To take a tongue in cheek reference from that source of all knowledge, Spinal Tap, maybe the appeal of live music is not on the wane, just becoming more selective. That said, The Rolleston, Riffs Bar, The Beehive and The Victoria still manage to cater to a wide range of music fans, The Shuffle made it to its seventh year and managed to be more diverse than ever, incorporating poetry, art and dance as well as music. We also had events such as SN1 Fest, which managed to incorporate The Underground Orchestra into a wide range of local music. Plus the likes of The Stratton Stroll, Oxjam and a number of gigs now taking place at Basement 73 and things are looking pretty positive. Musically Swindon has always punched above it’s weight, maybe it is just that things have spiralled down that you can gauge how lucky we have been in the past and lets face it, in the cyclical nature of things…will be again.

 

So in the meantime, what can you do to see the old year out in style? Well, lots of things actually. Tonight, for example, is the last Songs of Praise of the year at The Victoria. Continuing with their mission (currently 7 years in) to line up the best of out of town bands alongside the cream of the local scene, tonight’s line up is indeed a bit special. Hello Lazarus (pictured) play indie music that is both heavy and melodic, intricate and driven, elegant, eloquent and inspiring.  Also if you think all Christmas covers are naff, check out their version of A Spaceman Came Travelling. Awesome! That should tick a few boxes with the musical cognoscente.  Support comes from another Bristol based outfit, Dead Royalties, who manage to fuse a Seattle sound with Brit Punk overtones and some lovely mathy interludes and opening up are local big and clever alt-rock quartet, All Ears Avow.

 

Those up for a bit of local nostalgia can catch up with the latest musical exploits of local R’n’B stalwarts Cartoon Heroes at the Beehive.

 

Despite being a little disparaging about The MECA in the intro, the big show of the week is to be found inside their hallowed walls, no less, in the shape of The Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert on Friday. For four decades the cultural life of Swindon has been documented and archived by a team who are committed to preserving a public record of our creative achievements. The music and arts scene has benefited from their work in particular, as gigs, festivals and events have been captured for posterity and are now available to view on the internet; establishing a fantastic and unique record of the musical and creative history of the town. This gig is a chance to give something back as they both showcase some great bands and raise much need funds to continue their mission.  Music comes in the form of Teddy White’s good time boogie, swing and R’n’B, the delicate soundscapes of Colour The Atlas, the effervescent Nudybroque, old school reggae and rocksteady from The Erin Bardwell Collective, AJ Live with both a full band and a very special guest and Dave Gregory’s current musical vehicle, Tin Spirits. Bobby the Persuader will be spinning additional fab and groovy waxings between bands.

 

The Victoria, meanwhile, will be reveling in the sounds of the eighties with Syntronix. Although my eighties was more about the sounds of New Model Army and The Icicle Works whilst probably wearing a “Coal not Dole” or possibly a Pendragon T-shirt, here you can expect something a lot more palatable to the mainstream ear such as Nik Kershaw and Erasure.

 

Rock fans should head out to Riffs Bar for a bit of Grohl induced action with top tribute band, The Faux Fighters.

 

Saturday sees a second chance for you to catch a bit of reggae as the regular Reggae Club Night bring you the best of sixties ska, 70’s dub, 80’s Dancehall and up to the present day at The Victoria. Bring your dancing trousers this one will be busy. The Rolleston should also be a bit of a packed affair as electric blues guitar wizard, Innes Sibun, makes a welcome return to the venue.

 

And even as we enter the cheesy disco period there are still some great live bands to be found. Sunday at The Beehive is Missin’ Rosie’s Christmas shindig…pumped up Celtic rock, traditional folk sounds and a good reason to throw your beer around and dance like a loon as any I can think of.  Monday finds Port Erin at The Victoria, a band that really does defy musical convention and seem to follow a rulebook that they have written themselves. In the support slot is The Clementine’s, a band risen from the eclectic, humourous and inventive ashes of Crash and The Bandicoots. New name, new songs and hopefully the same blatant disregard for the tried and tested way of doing things. Good to have you back.

 

And finally if you haven’t found yourself at a Cheesy Disco type event so far then Christmas Eve at the Victoria is the place to be, but if a party covers band is more your thing, The Tin Shack Band at The Rolleston is well worth checking out.

 

So there we have it, have a great Christmas, party hard and remember to drink irresponsibly if at all possible.

 

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p01c318fApparently everyone remembers where they where when Kennedy was assassinated. Similarly everyone remembers where they were when they first heard of the attack on the World Trade Centre. On a more parochial level, everyone with at least a passing interest in Swindon’s music scene remembers where they were when they heard that Dave and Anna were selling the Victoria. But after months of speculation (for a while people almost had me convinced that I had bought it!) it appears that not only is the venue in safe hands under the captaincy of Darren and Violet, but it is very much business as usual.

I’m sure I speak for pretty much all of the local music scene when I say a very big thank you to Dave and Anna for making The Victoria the success story that it is, supporting all genres of music, from local to international, original, covers and tributes (we’ll gloss over the karaoke bit!) and generally making the place one of the corner stones of the town’s music scene. On a more personal note, thank you for giving ideas such as Songs of Praise and The Swindon Shuffle a chance back when they were the mere ramblings of a drunken promoter on the back of a cigarette packet. (Not me, another rambling, drunken promoter.) See you guys at the bar sometime, there’s a few drinks on me, or you…whatever!

Right, to business. Tonight provides a wealth of acoustic acts across a couple of venues. The regular Acoustic Buzz night at The Beehive  has the world weary, heartfelt, country laments of Boss Caine, the more perky upbeatness (that is a word, I looked it up) of Jane Allison plus your regular host in the form of Blind River Scare.

Meanwhile back at the aforementioned Victoria the top bar has some very strong competition from the musical dexterity and diverse sounds of Nick Felix, Ben McDanielson, Benji Clements and Jimmy Moore.

Bit of a bluesy edge going in to Friday, firstly with Gwyn Ashton at The Beehive, a man that not only reproduces the sounds of pre-war delta blues with authenticity and attention to detail but who probably has Mississippi mud flowing through his veins instead of the usual red stuff. Jim Blair’s trademark funky blues lap guitar playing and whiskey cracked vocals can be found at The Rolleston. Coldplay fans can get their fix at The Victoria with Coolplay (I see what they did there) plus The Sleeves who will get the night started with a selection of modern indie classics.

Saturday brings a bit of a treat and it’s nice to see original, local, contemporary music being given an airing at The Old Town Bowl’s Garden Party, not that I have anything against Tight Fit and Modern Romance but …no, let’s not open that can of worms again! The line up provides another outing for the soulful acoustic groove of Benji Clements, Billyjon’s smooth balladry, see’s Jim Blair in full band mode with Hip Route, has the soaring, anthemic rock of False Gods and is topped of with AJ Live and A & T. Definitely something for everyone there.

Back indoors there is more great music to be had. At The Rolleston in a last minute substitution for Hot Flex, ex-pat, David Marx brings in his latest incarnation of The AK Poets, playing melodically explosive, high octane, rain ‘n’ napalm licks; a rock and roll band that does what it says on the tin.

That dapper chap about town, Gig Monkey has a bit of coup in bringing Bite The Buffalo (pictured) to The Victoria. Fuzzy, heavy grooved rock ‘n’ roll that immediately transports you to a smoke hazed, backstreet drinking dive in Ladbrook Grove at 3am sometime in 1968. Support comes from Tommaso Galati and his punk attitude, acoustic guitar attacks and 2 piece grunge noise merchants Boss Cloth.

Sunday brings you something a bit more suited to the day of rest. Tim Graham and Robin Grey set out again to combine their love of folk music and cycling to bring Pedalfolk back to The Central Library for a second time. If you like innovative yet unfussy acoustic music this is the place to be. It is also the place to be to experience the quiet majesty of Rumour Shed and the retro folk jangle of Mr Love and Justice.

As usual the week jumps along to Wednesday and the twin acoustic session that now vie for your beer money. At The Running Horse is Ali Finneran and Rachel Austin and the Roaring Donkey provides a second opportunity to catch the romanticism and dark lyrical undercurrents of Billyjon.