Tag Archive: august list (the)


13269298_1175762365815736_8729034887665700384_nI occasionally wander through the on-line pages of the NME just to check out anything new and intriguing (obviously I don’t pick up the print version anymore just in case someone sees me…the shame of it!) I knew things were bad, but I didn’t realise just how bad. In their top stories I learned that Barbara Streisand has asked Apple to correct Siri’s pronunciation of her name, Justin Bieber has been miming at his gigs and Arctic Monkeys are still not recording a new album. ( What…no Antony Burgess Arts Journalism Award nominations?) Remember the days when you could read a 10,000 word Clash expose or a witty character assassination of the latest new-wave darlings by the likes of Charles Shaar Murray. Even Paul Morley’s dense diatribes would be a welcome break from these lower sixth form warbling’s. Does an unchallenging music scene result in boring reportage? Discuss.

Continue reading

10931136_1155734541119731_7383953523398435447_n

10628059_765161323523366_7975140535020360117_nIt was quite a busy week for checking out music, but it also revealed just how difficult it is to find a receptive audience. Saturday found me at The Victoria for a “two birds, one stone” type of approach. As a tribute to the late Ian “Jock” Kerr who was not only to be found on either side of the bar there but who was also a great musician and supporter of local music, there was a bill of bands which like the man himself ranged from the genially boisterous to the just plain silly. I had enough time to catch the first two bands, British Harlem turning in a cool as you like and fashionably of the moment set of instant modish indie classics and The Racket following with their trashed Brit-Pop ways. Sadly I could stick around for the tribute band parody that is Kova Me Badd as it was time to head next door to Longs Bar for the debut outing for The Tribe.

 

I must admit, it isn’t a place I really venture into, the odd lunchtime snack maybe, but I’m certainly not really part of their target demographic, but that said, apart from it being busy as hell and taking ages to get served, it works pretty well as a live music venue. The Tribe are a collection of already established musicians who mix reggae vibes and hip-hop beats into a brilliantly accessible dance groove and you can tell by the performance that they are all masters of what they do. Not only a brilliant delivery but the music seems to cater for the whole dance scene with elements of pop, rap and even the odd disco back beat finding it’s way into this heady mix.

 

And so going from a couple of nights that were wonderfully supported to the flip side of the musical coin. Wednesday night at The Roaring Donkey is becoming a slow building acoustic session, but geography and its mid-week time slot means that it is still a very hit and miss affair especially when it vies for punters with The Victoria’s Wacky Wednesday Karaoke, still horses for courses, as they say. This week’s artist was David Marx, normally found fronting AK-Poets but here in solo mode. David’s charm is a combination of his on stage banter with the audience, his ability to turn out memorable original tunes and the literary eloquence of his words and subject matter. As people and places as diverse as Caravaggio, Times Square, Augusto Sandino and Sarajevo are brought to life the mix of elegance and old school rock and roll provide two interesting extremes from which the songs are crafted. Sadly the audience for this numbered only a handful and this wasn’t helped by the fact that the second set was marred by a new intake of drinkers who found it necessary to shout over the music and even play back what appeared to be their friends doing karaoke on their phones. Not good.

 

The next day was the regular Songs of Praise show, a night that I have a vested interest in, but I will try to stay objective. Bringing original and largely unknown bands into town on a Thursday night can often be a hard sell, but I think deep down people want something more than an Iron Maiden tribute band every weekend or the usual acoustic circuit players that seem to be the easy option a lot of promoters take. First up was Cook and The Case, a London quartet who sort of defy description. With an amazing dynamic that takes the songs from pin-drop atmospheres to wailing walls of guitar sound they seem to channel Damien Rice as it does Bright Eyes heavier moments. If Paper Rose isn’t the most heartbreakingly romantic song you have ever heard (check it out before reading further – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hTK2IkSprM) then there is something wrong with you. If it had the aforementioned Rice’s name on it then it would have been a Rom-Com sound track being downloaded in its millions. And 15 people watched it being performed live, upfront and personal.

 

The middle slot was taken by local band Kitchen Sink Dramas, lyrical poignancy and social comment put to music and by now we are down to ten punters. By the time headliners The August List(pictured) took the stage the remaining 6 people just pulled their chairs across the front of the room and were treated to a very personal performance. This Oxford two-piece delivered a rousing set of old-time Americana; stompy Appalachian folk and back porch country tunes and did it with grace, humour and panache. It is a testament to how good they were that out of the small remaining audience 50% bought albums.

 

I know it isn’t always convenient to support midweek music but one day, soon, you will be looking for some new, exciting and original music to go and see and you will realise that it doesn’t actually bother coming to Swindon anymore. A sobering thought.

 

originally published at Swindon Link

 

 

 

 

10628059_765161323523366_7975140535020360117_nI was going to do my usual introduction based on musings and procrastination but I have even decided to put that off until another time and just as well looking at how much there is to fit in this week. Okay, lets do this.
Starting, as I usually do, with Songs of Praise at The Victoria, tonight you can catch lo-fi, roots duo The August List (pictured). Variously described as “backwards country” and “porch folk” this is a band that invoke the bleak, gothic, southern soundscape of The Handsome Family and the bucolic folk/rock of The Decemberists.  The local talent is supplied by Kitchen Sink Dramas, the musical vehicle for Steve Leigh’s hard-hitting, thought-provoking, incisive, romantic and humorous lyrical outpourings. Also on the bill are Cook and The Case a band who whether crafting gossamer thin musical atmospherics or soaring post-rock deliveries still have the ability to break your heart.
 
Meanwhile down the hill at The Beehive, the regular Acoustic Buzz night hits its 25th show in style. Hometown Show provides old time Appalachian bluegrass and Joe Kelly contributes harmonica soaked country folk. Shoot The Duke play sweet folk-pop and your host, as always, is Tim Manning from Blind River Scare with his wonderful country/folk blends.
 
The big noise for Friday takes place at Level 3 as those wonderful folks at The Reggae Garden have put together a great night. Dubwiser are a dub, hip-hop, reggae collective who mix their quirky English heritage with Jamaican influences that suggest Syd Barrett meeting The Specials in a parallel dimension. Also appearing are The Tribe, a funk, reggae, dance act drawn from familiar faces on the scene and having witnessed their debut show at Longs Bar last week cannot recommend them highly enough.
At Riffs Bar Josh Wolfsohn launches his new e.p. Dirty Concrete aided and abetted by Over To You, Break Glass To Open and Sammy Sangha and there is a second chance to catch Kitchen Sink dramas at The Beehive.
The Victoria is the scene of The Monkey Dolls 3rd Charity Bash, raising money for Uplands School and The Alzheimer’s Society. Joined by The Cover Addicts and Albatross Landing it is a night of all your favourite songs from the whole of the rock and pop history book and a worthy cause to boot.
Fans of tribute bands have the options of the music of Steely Dan at The Rolleston on Friday and on Saturday can either relive The Who at The Victoria with Who’s Next or catch Bootleg Floyd at Riffs Bar. At The Swiss Chalet, Syntronix will be tapping into the synth pop end of the eighties, so set your shoulder pads to stun, slip on a pair of legwarmers and dance the night away to the sounds of Gary Numan, Ultravox, OMD and the like.
For the full comedy/music experience then head to Level 3 for the strange world of Kova Me Badd.  More a surreal parody of a covers band than a serious attempt at the genre they will be either the best or worst band you see this year depending on how you judge such things and foregoing the usual cover band selections brace yourself for a night of murdered boy band tunes (that’s the tunes being murdered not the…well, you know,) cheesy rock and nothing less than the wholesale destruction of music as we know it. Still, could be worse.
Original music does show its face here and there. The Worried Men play incendiary rhythm and blues, mixing standards and originals at The Rolleston. If you are a fan of the likes of ZZ Top and The Hamsters then this is the band that completes the unholy electric blues-rock trinity.
But before all of that kicks off you can catch a more sedate afternoon at VuDu with music from Tom Stark and Shaun Barry but more importantly great coffee and cake on hand as well.
More acoustic offerings to end on. The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive is the place to find the delicate blend of blues, ragtime, music hall and folk traditions; intricacy and intimacy in the style of Nick Drake and John Martyn. And finally at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday features the jazz tinged folk of Nick Tann who will be playing a totally unplugged set of soaring, expressive vocals, heart on sleeve poeticism and pin drop atmospherics.