Tag Archive: ali finneran


the-quireboys-2016Well, we haven’t quite succumbed to the enforced jollification and festive template of the coming season quite yet so before the Christmas jumper brigade and the once a year drinkers from the office temporarily take over proceedings, here’s a few safe musical havens before the coming tinsel and singalong deluge.

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swindon105_5logo-300x186This week we have Tim Manning from Blind River Scare in session. Music from: Ali Finneran, Cavalier, Lighterthief, Blake, James Daubney, Mr Love and Justice, The Illustrations

 

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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.

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My ongoing quest for new music got me thinking the other day about just how original, original bands really are. I know I have a bit of a reputation for giving cover bands a difficult ride, so maybe it is time to look at the other side of the coin. Most of the previous decades have had their own iconic movements, the psychedelic sixties, the punk/post punk seventies, the hip-hop eighties and the rave nineties. Since then it’s been more difficult to identify any new defining movements. The last ten years or so seems to have been more about a nostalgic recycling of former glories. Ironically, retro seems to be the way forward, bands seem destined to be born of their parents record collections. Modern scenes worship at the temples to past movements, be it garage-punk, vintage soul, synth-pop or what ever, it still begs a few questions for the future of music. Where is the next musical frontier to be broken? Will pop eat itself? Does rock music end not with a bang but with a boxed set whose fourth disc you never get round to playing? Food for thought!

 

If you are going to mix up recognisable genres into interesting new musical shapes, then you should take note of James Warner Prophecies (pictured) who play The Victoria tonight.  Alchemising everything from hard rock to ska, music hall to grunge, punked up folk to out and out pop; familiar building blocks maybe but brilliant new interpretations nonetheless. They are supporting The Street Orphans who do similar sterling work re-treading the musical tires of the indie-rock vehicle. Also on the bill is Go Lazarus who fashion a neat line in atmospheric alternative rock.

 

Unapologetically playing that nostalgia card I mentioned earlier, Count Bobo and The Bullion tap into an authentic ska vibe reminiscent of The Skatelites or the legendary Prince Buster. They can be found at The Beehive.

 

Folk is on the cards over at Riffs Bar.  Albion host their monthly outing that aims to recreate the same vibe as the sixties revivalists who created the Greenwich Village scene in New York. If you are looking for somewhere to try out your songs, immerse yourself in the folk scene or just chill out and hear some good music then this is the place to be.

 

The stand out act for Friday is appearing at The Beehive and again create unique songs from recognisable building blocks. Bruise are a strange art house folk rock band with the shadow of The Eurythmics looming large over them and a hint of prog throwing wonderful spanners in the works. And that is only the half of it.

 

The Riffs Bar website announces a “ A new monthly metal night showcasing the best in original metal from around the country.” Sadly it fails to list any of the bands that are being showcased so I can’t really say too much more on that one.

 

After that originality is a bit thin on the ground though I must just mention that The Victoria is playing host to a Stone Roses tribute, not because I am necessarily enthralled with tribute acts but because even after all this time these particular Mancunian candidates remain high up in my estimation. If you don’t believe me just check out my “I am the Resurrection to replace the National Anthem” Facebook page.

 

I can’t seem to find one band for Saturday that pushes any envelopes, or even nips down the post office for a book of stamps for that matter. (Okay I know it’s not that sort of envelope…I’ve read Tom Wolfe thank you very much) So lets fast-forward to Sunday afternoon at The Beehive.

 

Peter Jagger mixes up finger picked folk, Americana and blues with some wonderfully poignant and political lyrics. His view on the whole originality thing can be summed up in his quote “ I can’t see the point of driving 200 miles to sing Losing My Religion to people who will only listen if you sing Losing my Religion.” I know what you mean sir.

 

The Art Centre on Monday has rock and roll survivors Wishbone Ash. Just to avoid confusion this is the Andy Powell fronted version of the band rather than the Martin Turner fronted band that are also currently touring. Blimey, it’s like Yes all over again.

 

And finally a mention for The Stripped Back Sessions at The Victoria on Tuesday, a mixture of music in its simplest and purest forms plus the artists themselves explaining the meanings behind and reasons for their songs. This time featuring War of Roses, Reg Meuross and Ali Finneran.

In this world of immediate musical gratification, instant single track downloads, radio banality and dumbed down, disposable pop, it’s worth remembering that not all music has to be easy access, mainstream and spoon feedable for mass consumption. In fact music often moves forward because of, rather than in spite of the likes of Schoenberg, The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Can, Cale or Zappa. And if you want a night that largely challenges the concept of music as an easy ride, that is both provoking and ultimately rewarding, then tonight’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria is the place to be.

Mortdelamer headline with a luscious mix of dark alt-rock and slightly prog-stained flights of fancy and openers IX manage to take slow burning, heavy, instrumentals and turn them into sweeping cinematic sonic architecture. But these bands seem to act as a buffer zone to contain the madness of the middle act, Mr. Hello and His Honesty Club ft. Kid Jamaica. Think Kyuss playing with The Birthday Party, Jesus Lizard jamming Black Sabbath, The Fall in a fist fight with Zappa…just don’t think about it late a night else you probably won’t sleep.

Something a bit saner can be found at The Beehive. Matt Woosey plays blues exploring all the usual themes, hardship, alcohol, women, but does so in a uniquely British fashion. The Red, White and Blues perhaps? Okay, perhaps not.

Back up the hill on Friday and a night of alt-folk, anti-folk, agit-folk…call it what you will at The Victoria.  Gaz Brookfield is the main draw playing songs from his new album “Tell It To The Beer” as well as old favourites and with Marky Thatcher on the bill as well, I’m sure there will be some of the usual end of show shennanighins. But it’s not all about the local lads as Glasgow’s Lonely Tourist throws in blends of rockabilly driven acoustica.

More singer songwriter types at The 12 Bar on Saturday courtesy of Daylight Promotions in the shape of the contemporary acoustic meets 60’s folk revival sound of Ali Finneran and Racket front man Plummie, plus acoustic duo Talking Timber and adding a somewhat eclectic quality to the night, the lush, atmospheric synth driven indie of With Felix.

If you are a fan of all things big, brash and brutal, Riffs Bar has a Heavy Metal all-dayer. A host of serenely named bands make up the bill including, Acts of Brutality, Suicide Watch, Blood of Ash and Fluffy Bunny Slippers. Okay, I made one of those up but it does definitely feature an appearance by the legendary Vynal Matt.

You can also get a good dose of quality rock music with the incendiary blues of Innes Sibun at the Rolleston. And if after that you still have the energy to party, Reboot Club Night at The Furnace is hosting a collection of Indie, New Wave and Electronica into the wee small hours.

Another does of exquisite blues at The Beehive Sunday afternoon, this time from extremely young and extremely talented Anglo-Norwegian six stringer Krissy Matthews.  The evening gives you the option of virtuosic lap guitar playing from Hip Routes Jim Blair at The Rolleston or head down the 12 Bar to be part of powerful alt-rockers, Beyond The Break’s e.p. launch.

The middle of the working week is nicely broken up with two great shows for Wednesday or Swindependance Day if you like. If you fancy something to smooth the week through it’s The Running Horse for you where Sam Eden and Dylan Qioniwasa will be laying down some wonderfully original and chilled music. For a more charged experience catch Young Blood (pictured) at The Victoria and expose yourself to some great, of the moment indie, the soaring, My Bloody Valentine-esque sonic dream sequences of Archimedes plus a band that I have already gushed far to much about recently, Old Colours.

And if you think that my columns have been getting much less controversial of late, I have been saving it all up for this, a final paragraph of home truths and no holds barred opinion…that’s if it gets passed the editors exacting standards.

This may not be the busiest week for music but it is certainly one that pound for pound (can we still say pound and not be fined by the grey suited autocrats of Brussels?) carries a lot of clout. So we will start as we mean to go on with a band all the way from Milwaukee, a city famous for good beer, a life-sized statue of The Fonz and Direct Hit! who play The Furnace tonight. Part Ramones, part Andrew WK it’s raucous punk pop at it’s finest. Who better to support such an act as our own ska-punk superheroes, Slagerij, the almost unpronounceable Priceduifkes from Belgium and intense local hardcore super group, Scythes.

 

And if you think that’s good, wait till you get a load of what’s going on further up the hill. The Victoria plays host to a band who seem to be quickly rising through the ranks and it’s easy to see why. SkyBurnsRed (alloneword!) manage to mix the majesty and sweeping grandeur of the violin with raw alt-rock guitar and complex, eastern vibed rhythms. If that isn’t enough then support comes in the guise of The Naturals, up from Bristol and sounding like a collision between My Bloody Valentine and Sigur Ros, if you can imagine such a thing and The Playmakers who also have more than a touch of the post punk guitar swagger about them and who will be a playing a lunchtime gig at Rise Records before kicking this all off.

 

Middle Earth comes to The Beehive with the story telling meets folk-prog strangeness of Ash Mandrake.

 

Pun of the week must go to Fridays Beehive booking, the legendary Alan Clayson and the Argonauts…geddit? a strange and quintisentially English mix of John Otway style R’n’B, Tom Robinson song crafting and the camp and quirk of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

 

A bit out of town but a gig so good it really deserves a mention, The Bell on The Green in Devizes has a great slice of old school rock, headed by ex-Terrorvision man Danny Lamberts current musical vehicle, Hellbound Hearts, a three piece forged of an industrial strength rhythm section and buzz saw guitars. Support comes from White Knuckle Bride, a band who I can’t recommend highly enough and Burnthru.

 

Saturday has something for every one. Back at The Victoria and Cheltenham’s finest alt-country punks Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun who sit somewhere between the agit-folk of Frank Turner and the anthemic rock of The Gaslight Anthem breeze into town. If that wasn’t enough, Support comes in the shape of the haunting and haunted, sweeping and cinematic Old Colours and new kid on the block Mike Bezzer.

 

Teenage Kicks at The Furnace will cater for the young pop-punksers in town with a cracking line up headed by Beyond The Break and Hands Down with Year of The Thief and Post 12. For the really heavy serving suggestion however, the place to be is at The 12 Bar. South West Hardcore celebrate their first anniversary of running the heaviest sounds in town and as is only fitting they have an all-dayer where you can experience Rising From Death, Lifeline and Sleepwalkers to name just a few.

 

 

For the laid back Sunday lunchtime vibes, you can either head up to The Arts Centre to catch Mr Love and Justice and their blend of retro-pop melodies, folky vibes and socially aware lyrics or The Beehive for Cole Stacey, who not only matches skilful folk arrangements with heartfelt soaring lyrics, but who also comes with Steve  “Show of Hands” Knightley‘s seal of approval. More rootsy music can be found that evening at The Rolleston with the welcome return of ex-Alarm guitarist, Dave Sharp and his brand of blue-collar bluesy Americana.

 

 

In a week of originality, the best is left to last. Detroit popsters, Johnny Headband (pictured), blend synth driven space pop jams with soaring atmospherics and alluring warped disco grooves. It’s as much about the theatricality as it is about the dancebility and if one of the guys on stage at The Victoria looks familiar it’s because he used to be in Electric 6, though for some reason has changed his name from the very reasonable Smorgasbord, to the more unlikely Keith Thompson. Hardly the stuff of rock and roll!

Sounds Around Town Link