Tag Archive: alex taylor


1238974_708248452536051_260016646_nAs the last of the Halloween greasepaint has been scrubbed from the costume that you need to return to the shop; the final whiff of bonfire smoke and the cordite of smoldering fireworks have been blown away on autumnal gusts and those once a year “I’m so much more pagan than thou” types have ceased posting their burning martyr updates to their fellow Buffy fans on the various anti-social networks to which they belong, we can finally put such things behind us and get on with the task at hand. Supporting live music. There are not so many opportunities to do so this week as I would like to be able to report, but it seems to be a week of quality not quantity so pick a show and get behind the live music scene.

 

The cream of the acoustic crop is in town tonight at Songs of Praise at The Victoria as local lad made good, Gaz Brookfield aided and abetted by his violining sidekick, Ben Wain,    spearhead the best of the regional and national circuit. Hard work is really paying off for Gaz and supports to the likes of The Levellers and New Model Army are finally pushing him into the spotlight of the acoustic – new folk – crusty – festival circuit…call it what you will, so catch him before he is whisked away to bigger things. Support comes from the looping acoustica and Buckley-esque tones of Alex Taylor, Joe McCorriston all the way down from Morecombe and wise words and romantic ballads from the enigmatic Stead to start things off.

 

Something a bit more rooted in rock and roll is to be found at The Beehive as Josie and The Outlaw dig up some old school grooves and rockabilly backbeats to kick the weekend off early.

 

More contemporary sounds can be found at Riffs Bar on Friday as The Secret Chord brings in some amazing bands from around the south for your delectation. Kernow’s finest, Even Nine (pictured) make a welcome return to headline the night, a slicker, more energetic band you couldn’t wish for, delivering music that is stuck between a rock and a ….well, wonderfully melodic and totally infectious place, as the saying goes. Alt-rockers A Way With Words provide the local interest and Dorset four-piece Patchwork Native kick the night off.

 

At The Rolleston, meanwhile, there will be original music blended from the building blocks of mod style lines, power-pop drive and psychedelic wigouts courtesy of The Sitting Tenants. Super!

 

Saturday night is the traditional slot for the big tributes, not normally my thing but you could do a lot worse than Still Marillion, a tribute to one of my favourite neo-prog bands from back in the day. If you want to re-live the Fish era years, that heady blend of poetics and passion, technical ability and emotive songlines, then this is the show for you. Support comes from original progressive rockers Spiral Key, so real value for money all round.

 

Riffs Bar is offering a night of Burlesque accompanied by music from Ghost Trail and at The Rolleston it’s The Worried Men. Although the event page for this show describes the band as “Chance of Rain 11C” they would be better described as the last word in fired up, white hot, electric r’n’b. Jamie Thyer leads a band that are in the same mold as The Hamsters, not as well known as the likes of Gary Moore, George Thorogood or ZZ Top, but every bit as good.

 

Sunday afternoon at The Beehive is a elemental blend of dark ballads, protest songs, slow airs, jigs and reels, courtesy of Tattie Jam who reinterpret songs from the Scottish folk tradition and give it all a fun and contemporary twist.

 

Final offering of the week is to be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday as Plummie Racket picks up his acoustic guitar to entertain with his gritty tales of urban life.

 

Just the two puns this week, must be losing my touch!

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Library - 25Isn’t science great? I was reading a report in New Made-up Scientist recently that Zoologists have discovered that the mental powers of Slipknot fans are far greater than previously imagined. In a series of experiments conducted in a research facility in Hogwash, Colorado involving dozens of Slipknot fans, bearded scientists found that many were able to count to 20, had the potential to perform simple sums and even had a basic vocabulary consisting of a handful of words such as “Slipknot” and “Rule.” Professor Dan Geek who led the team said “ This evidence of intelligence has taken us by surprise and is causing us to rethink what we know about these particular primates.” In a prepared statement Slipknot said, “This proves what we always said, our fans ain’t stupid. They know a whole bunch of stuff, y’know, like stuff and stuff like that”

Thankfully your faith in intelligent music can be restored by a visit to Riffs Bar tonight. If you thought Red Jasper had been consigned to local music mythology, you will be pleased to know that they are back out as a gigging band delivering their trade mark symphonic rock meets folk blend that puts them somewhere between classic era Jethro Tull and early Marillion and with Bristol prog stalwarts Crimson Sky supporting, this is a brilliant line up.

More rootsy sounds can be found at The Victoria with the funky lap-blues of Jim “Hiproute” Blair and the shamanistic folk and emotive bluesy vibes that make up Stone Donkey Pilots. The Beehive, meanwhile, will be grooving to the gypsy-jazz swing of Ruba Tempo.

Friday is a big night out at Riffs Bar as Beauty with a Purpose (and not a Porpoise as it said in one listing!), a longstanding and immensely important global children’s charity, have lined up a host of fund raising great acts including Ethemia, Echo, Benji Clements and Aiden Moore. Great cause. Great music.

The Beehive opts for laid back music from  Stressechoes a band described as “a triumph of heart-on-sleeve storytelling supported by beautiful, understated music” and with the simple musical lines of Juey also on the bill it will be a cracking gig. The delectable R’n’B sounds of The Teddy White Band can be found at The Royal Oak.

If you want a fuller band experience, then there are a number of options. Nudybronque play Riffs Bar as headliners for the Secret Chord’s latest show, underground, post punk, inspired pop, melody and memorable tunes, they may have evolved but they haven’t lost the glint in the eye and tongue in cheek drive that keeps them self-deprecating, grounded and a joy to watch. Also on the bill is Jim Johnston, currently operating as a two-piece but still running a great line in brittle, fractious guitar lines and dark yet bluesy undercurrents. New chaps on the block Devotion get the night underway.

Missin’ Rosie are at The Manor and The Corsairs grace the New Inn but if punk is more your thing then the Victoria tonight provides the first of two shows that should tick your musical boxes. The UK Subs now enter their eighth decade (probably not true) as leading lights of the punk scene and they bring with them the Dropkick Murphy’s inspired Criminal Mind and Proud City Fathers. The other gig in this pairing comes with Charred Hearts playing The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon show may have now relocated to The Central Library but they haven’t lost their ear for good music. This time it is the turn of the luscious Latin Jazz of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz, the romantic nature of Jess Vincent and as always hosted by Mr Love and Justice.

Other options for the day of rest come with the effortless, vibrant blues of Retramantic who play 20 at the Kings in Wood Street and the Sax fronted trad jazz of The Don Franks Duo at Baker Street.

Playing the week out, on Tuesday at Baker Street, it’s jazz from virtuoso guitarist Esmond Selwyn and the organ lead brilliance from The John-Paul Gard Trio and Wednesday at The Running Horse acoustic treats come in the shape of Pete Taylor and The Right Hooks.

Library - 99There was an interesting debate on line the other day, mainly from a promoters point of view and centred around the age old problem of getting people out to watch live music. I have written about it extensively elsewhere but it is worth just recapping on the main thrust of the arguments here. One side seemed to want to lay the blame of poor attendances at the feet of the punter in a fairly sanctimonious line that went something like “ we are putting these gigs on for you and you are not attending them, therefore you are failing as a music fan” The usual clichés, use it or lose it statements and the one-upmanship of who’s most passionate about music followed in its usual dreary inevitability.

 

I see the scenario the other way around. The public know what they want and if promoters and venues are suffering from ill attended gigs, maybe their “product” and a gig is just as much a product as Tesco sausages, just isn’t that appealing. In short maybe they are just booking the wrong bands; wrong as in over played, limited appeal or just plain boring. Last week in particular showed that if you tap into the right vibe people will respond and bands such as Young Kato, Portia Conn, Old Colours, Spyglass, SkyBurnsRed and even old faithfuls like The Hamsters from Hell played to decent crowds. It can be done, but if people aren’t turning up to your shows, maybe the answer to the problem lies closer to home than you think.

 

Right, I’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested enough and come to the conclusion that these are the gigs that you might like to go to. In the name of fairness and to avoid the usual backlash, I must point out that other gigs are available and door prices can go up as well as down.

 

Interesting proposition in the top bar of The Victoria tonight, Normally to be found performing with Toupe, Grant Sharkey is a brilliant mix of upright bass, live humour, improvised lyrics and audience participation all of which makes for a brilliant live experience.

 

Friday seems to be the night when it’s all happening, starting in Old Town and working our way down the hill it goes like this. The Arts Centre has the legendary Colin Blunstone, a name associated with bands such as Argent and The Alan Parsons Project but most famous for being a member of The Zombies and co-writing the hit She’s Not There.

 

Round the corner at The Victoria, after too long away from the scene, The Shudders (pictured) are back spearheading a cracking night. Not only do you get their lo-fi, folk-pop, Americana shennanighins, but you also have Alex Taylor who channels the ethereal acoustic vibe of the likes of Damien Rice and John Martyn, plus the funkier, rootsy acoustica of The Right Hooks.

 

By the time you get down to The Beehive, something very interesting and unexpected is afoot. Whilst certain venues at the more boisterous end of town have been hosting various X-Factor contestants, here you will find Dorka Shodeinde, who was well placed in the Hungarian version of the contest performing with her guitarist Roland Polyak, the result is something altogether more soulful and palatable. If you want to play the nostalgia card, The Rolleston plays host to The Nomarks who are keeping the sound of the late seventies two-tone/ska revival alive and kicking.

 

Although Swindon is never short of metal bands, Riffs Bar has taken the interesting slant of getting some of the top bands of the genre, namely Eye For An Eye, From Ruin and Mortdelamer to play acoustic versions of their songs. Also note that this is Mortdelamer’s last ever gig, so I think it is only fitting that all you metallers support this and give them a great send off.

 

On Saturday at the same venue you can catch John Coghlan’s Quo, touring as a warm up before the much talked about classic line up Status Quo reunion. Not normally one to tout the tribute set but as it’s Transmission, who recreate the glorious sounds of Joy Division, I can’t not give it a quick mention. That’s at The Victoria and support is a Killing Joke set from 1000 Planets. If country music is your thing then you need to be at the Arts Centre for the iconic Hank Wangford and The Lost Cowboys.

 

And finally we jump to Wednesday when you have the options of a Bluegrass jam session at Riffs Bar or some wonderful joyous and sweeping acoustic folk from Antoine Architeuthis at The Running Horse. Support comes from Alice Offley, genre-hopping pianist who is  equally at home knocking out brash pop, delicate other worldly dreamscapes and everything in between.

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