Tag Archive: andy metcalfe


imgID137127048.jpg.galleryI’m sure most people aren’t interested in my bar related wanderings but as I want to keep this blog as a sort of diary of my activities, both scribbling and non scribbling, you are going to have to put up with my ramblings.

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In many ways today can be seen as the anniversary of the birth of the rock and roll era. It was sixty years ago today that a Tennessee truck driver payed $3.98 to go into a Memphis studio and record a two track disc as a present for his mother. This may have been a footnote in the annals of music history had that truck driver not been Elvis Presley. Five years later an even more significant event occurred in Manchester, England when Nigel Twist came kicking and screaming into the world, presumably already sporting aviator shades and back combed hair. Significant as he went on to drum for The Alarm and record Sixty Eight Guns! I guess it’s all relative but in my world a much more important event, I mean Elvis Presley…what ever happened to him?

Anyway back in the modern age we seem to have a week of quality over quantity when it comes to live music options. Tonight a quite bizarre selection is on offer at The Victoria as Three Minute Tease (pictured) pay a return visit to Songs of Praise. Formed around Sacramento musical oddball Anton Barbeau and featuring a rhythm section made up of post-punk royalty in the form of Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe (former Robyn Hitchcock bandmates in The Soft Boys and The Egyptians) this band are a must see for fans of Julian Cope, Syd Barrett, XTC and psychedelic, underground, power-pop in general. Add to that the equally left field Schnauser who sound like The Bonzo Dog Band re-writing Pet Sounds and the more accessible but no less brilliant 8 Minutes Later providing the filling in this strange musical sandwich and you have something a bit special.

Also a bit special is Kent DuChaine at the The Beehive, who delivers a taste of the Delta through his authentic slide blues sound drawn from his “beat up 1934 National Steel guitar.” You can almost taste the mint julep!

On Friday, again it is The Victoria that offers something a bit special. Anyone who caught The Lovers play their stripped down set their back in April will know how great this band is, this time they are back fully amped up, no holds barred. They are a band that prove that rock can have good melody or pop can have attitude and drive, depending on which angle you look at it from. And I also managed to get through that description without resorting to the lazy journalistic fall back of pointing out that they are an all girl band. Damn!

Also on the bill are the ever popular Shudders who seem to be moving from strength to strength with their ever evolving brand of folk meets alt-country meets lo-fi pop meets…anything they can think of really. Plummie Rackett in solo mode opens up the nights proceedings.

At The Beehive, masters of the cross-generic set, Kola Koca, make a welcome return. Freely mixing styles as diverse as folk and jazz, blues and pop to drive some great social observations, kitchen sink dramas, politics and humour, this is a band that you really need to see.

After this the weekend switches away from original music but that’s not to say that there isn’t some great music to be had. (I know I do have a bit of a reputation of not favouring cover and tribute bands so much but it’s probably time to come clean that my favourite song of all time is Kirsty McColl’s 12” version of A New England – not only a cover but an extended re-mix, there I said it.) Friday is all about a range of covers from The Great Nothing at The Rolleston and on Saturday a couple of tributes might take your interest, Green Day at The Victoria and Ian Dury and The Blockheads at The Rolleston.

Original music comes back on the radar on Wednesday with Louise Latham at The Running Horse. Dealing in heartfelt and painfully honest lyrics, driven by wonderfully understated piano, and for this gig accompanied by her sister on guitar, if you are fans of the likes of Sarah MacLachlan, Tori Amos or the more sweeping end of The Indigo Girls, then this is for you. The Beehive are at the other end of the musical scale with Loonaloop and their genre hopping, cosmic electronica.

Final mention is for the show at The Victoria which sees Old Colors bringing back their cinematic folk pop to brighten up your mid-week slump support comes in the form of the ambient pop of The Sea,The Sea and the gentle balladry of Billyjon.

Library - 151The local alternative music scene has been thrown into uproar over the news that a fledgling rock band completed an interview with not one member mentioning This Is Spinal Tap – a feat not achieved since 1987 when a member of The Unreal discussed at length their succession of drummers without once making reference to the films similar sub-plot. In this weeks incident, Charlie Made-Upname from the band Slim Whippet spoke to a local magazine about his Marshall amp saying, “I often wish that the amp would go a little bit louder, but sadly ten is the maximum” After pausing, he looked up and added “Anybody fancy a brew?” The Musicians Union is investigating the case, which could lead to his expulsion. A spokesman for the band told Sounds Around Town “It was a silly mistake, a bit like when Tap got the wrong size Stonehenge!”

 

Tonight’s offerings are of a calibre that ensures such rookie errors are nowhere to be seen, especially at The Beehive where the brilliant Three Minute Tease (pictured) will be holding court. Subversive and articulate pop songs are the order of the day courtesy of main man Anton Barbeau and bone fide musical legends complete the line up in the former of Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians rhythm section, Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe. The result ,a musical landscapes peppered with the trippy vibes of an idealized hippy dreamtime, stoner pop fashioned with big harmonies, warped guitars, fantastical lyrical imagery, flower power ethics and eastern flavours. Groovy!

 

Head to The Victoria for a more chilled affair with Raurri Joseph, an integral part of the South West folk scene and a wonderful mix of traditional folk and the more pop-savvy sounds of the likes of Damien Rice and David Gray. Support comes from Jim Blair of Hiproute and Ben McDanielson. Alternatively it’s upbeat blues at The Rolleston with The Dan Sowerby Blues Band.

 

So Friday is Red Nose Day, but you don’t have to use that as an excuse to crash on the sofa and be forced to watch James Corden dancing in a tutu or suffer ditzy lower sixth prefect, Claudia Winkleman. Instead you could catch a rare outing by Broken Daylight a band blending most rock based genres but beholden to none. Also on the bill are False Gods, neatly described, as “a tasty mix of Muse and The Manics” now doesn’t that sound intriguing? That’s all at The Victoria.

 

The Furnace is providing us with something pretty special as Ashes to Angels descend from whichever plane they normally inhabit to deliver a blast of gothic meets alt-rock. Fans of Murder Dolls, Nine Inch Nails and Evanescence will find a lot to like here. Completing the line up are Dead! glam horror rockers In Dante’s Eclipse and I’m Designer. Fans of iconic local bands of the past can head up to The Beehive instead for The Big Casino and The Teddy White Band.

 

Saturday sees a new night launched at Riffs Bar. The people behind Songs of Praise are launching The Secret Chord nights, mixing local and out of town bands as they have done successfully for the seven years of their existing night. This kick off party features a collection of singer-songwriters, Plummie Racket, Si Hall, Faye Rogers and Nick Felix and all profits from these nights will be donated to Strummerville.

 

The so-called day of rest looks like the busiest of the week. Lazy Sunday Afternoon at the Arts Centre features the wonderful harmonies and myriad instrumentation: flutes, cellos, whistles, piano and guitars to name a few, of Homefires, plus the soulful voice and crafted tunes of Terry G Etherington. Pete Christie’s distinctive voice and finger style guitar graces The Beehive in the afternoon and that evening acoustic duo Dan and Adam play The Rolleston. Dan is the bassist with Britpop stalwarts Ocean Colour Scene and Adam is a founder member of CCR and Springsteen inspired, The Misers. High profile stuff indeed! Those getting their St Patrick’s vibe on might want to head along to The Sun Inn at Coate for the furious and formidable folk virtuosity of Grubby Jack.

 

Punks will have a field day at The Victoria as a newly re-launched 4ft Fingers make a triumphant return to the live scene with local ska-punksters Slagerij, Splash and Si Hall in tow.

 

And to be fair, this week I had to leave out as much as I put in so please check venue listings for other musical serving suggestions!

One of the things I love about the more serious and creative side of music (as opposed to the famous for fifteen seconds, in it for the quick buck, types) is that it’s interesting to chart the family trees and watch the complex career paths of musicians who inspire you, if you are some sort of music geek that is. Well, around nineteen eighty, this particular music geek would have been listening to a certain bunch of psychedelic punks called The Soft Boys and wouldn’t you know it, in the blink of an eye, a mere 32 years later, two of them surface to play a gig in Swindon.

Tonight at The Victoria, Three Minute Tease, featuring cult rhythm section Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe and led by Sacramento loon Anton Barbeau, will be spearheading an assault of warped space rock, trippy psychedelic pop, wit, wisdom and sheer strangeness. Jon Ouin from Stornoway is also rumoured to be amongst their ranks. Bristol’s Schnauser joins them, a band recently described to me with brilliant succinctness as “like the Wombles on Acid” and quantum rockers Super Squarecloud fire off the opening salvo…probably in 7/8 time if they get their way.

Riffs Bar meanwhile bow down to the gods of cacophony and raucousness as Twisted State of Mind, Eleros and Aethara go head to head for a place in the semi-final of Bloodstocks Battle of the Bands.

If you are looking for something a bit less loud or mind-boggling then head for The Beehive where The Acoustic Buzz session will be able to soothe you with the dulcet tones of Southern Folk, Jim Evans and Blind River Scare. If you prefer your acoustic music laced with a bit of punk vigour then The Rolleston is the place to be as ex-Tiryth guitarist Daniel James heads off down new musical paths.

On Friday, at Riffs Bar it’s a question of “who let the progs out” as The Dark Sinatra’s make a triumphant return. Summing up their music in a sound bite isn’t easy, prog it may be, but this is a groove driven, heavy prog more akin to Muse or even Rush. And when they say that sometimes Nigel Kennedy appears with them, don’t get your hopes up, although last time they did have the awesome Tallulah Rendall in rock chick mode helping out, which is much the better option in my book.

Teenage Kicks at The Furnace continues to deliver the best of the younger crop, this time The Fixed headline, with Bratpop madmen (yes I’m trying out a new generic moniker, just indulge me) Nudy Bronque, The Debuts and The John Does all filling the night with indie goodness and complicated waxed hair styles, no doubt.

Upstairs in The Rolleston is The Floydian Doors. As brilliant as they are, I have never quite got my head around being a tribute to two fairly diverse bands. I’m worried that it might be the thin end of the wedge and the next thing you know there will be posters up for The Yes Pistols or worse….The Collinsian Clash! Still at least the by-line is obvious … “From Genesis to Revolution.” Oh, come on you must have seen that one coming?

The Beehive is opting for a melting pot of blues with The Mestizo Blues Collective; all styles from the Delta to Chicago’s urban backstreets are succinctly alchemized into intelligent, quintessentially English song writing styles plus a touch of self-deprecating humour.

Saturday is the night for rock fans to indulge their various sub-generic passions. Younger fans will be heading for The Furnace as globetrotting local lads made good, The Dead Lay Waiting (pictured) return to their home patch to dish out some furious alt-metal to eager ears. They are joined by Scarred by Beauty, Frozen Affliction and Roads to Nowhere.

The Rolleston is being visited by powerhouse blues guitarist, Innes Sibun and at the Victoria, Snaggletooth and Earl Jam play tribute to Motorhead and Pearl Jam respectively.

The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive is filled by Pete Jagger, so expect the usual deft mix of folk, blues and ragtime. That evening at The Rolleston is a real cosmopolitan mix. Terhi is a native Finn, living in Chippenham and playing rock flavoured with country and calypso and the odd ballad thrown in for good measure. You almost feel like you need an up to date passport to watch that show. Support is from the Ghoulies an exotic blend of folk, rock and Hammer horror. They describe themselves thus “Jim has Delta blues roots and Daniel is a green creative soul” so expect something….turquoise?

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ImageThe next Songs of Praise show is going to be a bit special, I probably always say that, but this one really is. Not in the usual local promoter way of bigging up a local acoustic songwriter who once got short-listed for the shortlist of the bands that were being considered to be on the substitute list for the Croissant Neuf tent at Glastonbury. No, this show features some bone fide post-punk royalty.

You may be forgiven for not having heard of maverick Sacramento songster Anton Barbeau (even though he plays here about twice a year but I suspect you were all down the Rolly watching The Radioactive Zombie Mutant Bikers play their take on Iron Maiden classics) but when he rolls up on the 26th April at The Victoria he has a few big names in tow.  His rhythm section is made up of Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe both veterans of psychedelic punks The Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians. Due to the near vicinity of his home base, Jon Ouin from Stornoway will be joining the line up, a line up garnered from Berlin, Cambridge and Oxford. Musically they tip their hats to the likes of Julian Cope, early Pink Floyd, XTC and Tom Robinson. Now that’s what I call a band.

Support comes from those equally alternative popsters from Bristol, Schnauser. Sitting somewhere between The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and most of the influences listed above, they offer up an equally original and warped take on pop music.

Opening the night will be local leading lights of the Quantum Rock movement, Super Squarecloud, a bunch of jazz junkies masquerading as an indie pop band and creating music that is sort of a reined in chaos that seems on the verge of getting lost in it’s own complexities.

As usual the night will be free but due to the distances involved for the band we will be encouraging an entry by donation system on the door. Failing that, just turn up and drink loads as some of that money will filter back into the bands pocket at the end of the night.

If you are looking for something truly original, come to the Victoria, Swindon on 26th April.

Anton Barbeau random tracks

The Sound of Meat – Schnauser

Super Squarecloud

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Weirdfest

Image26th of April is one for the diary of anyone who likes their music slightly left field. The night kicks off with local oddballs and leading lights of the Quantum Rock scene, Super Squarecloud who mix demure, otherworldly vocals with strange time signatures and jazz infected indie rock.

And as the kookiness level rises Schnauser, Bristols adoptive aliens will be show casing songs from their forthcoming album. Imagine the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band jamming with XTC covering acid tripping Beatles and throwing in Beach Boys style harmonies, just because they can.

The highlight of the night is Anton Barbeau, a Sacramento spaced oddity now living in Berlin (isn’t everyone?). Ploughing the same musical furrow as the likes of Julian Cope and other British new wave pop mavericks, Barbeaus rhythm section is none other than Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe – alt-pop royalty who were members of psychedelic punks, The Soft Boys and more famously Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians.

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