Tag Archive: babe ruth


John-PeelIt isn’t too much of an exaggeration to say that John Peel shaped contemporary music broadcasting in a way that few others ever did. Through radical programing, a truly eclectic musical taste and by championing bands that would otherwise have remained unknown, he single-handed created the template for music radio, as we know it today. The reason I mention this is that Saturday marks 10 years since his passing and I for one salute you sir. You were a lighthouse in an ocean of music mediocrity. More of that later in the article.

 

And having mentioned the great man, tonight has a suitable eclectic and musically left of centre feel to it. At Riffs Bar, Lifesigns will be reminding us that progressive rock isn’t the indulgent and retro minded genre that some would have us believe. Quintessentially English soundscapes are constructed from the usual prog. pallet but brought bang up to date with slices of melodic rock and pop and a very accessible nature.

 

Songs of Praise at The Victoria is by way of an album launch this time, as Port Erin unveil their latest release, Floating Above the City. Taking the experimental, space rock elements of their earlier days and mixing it with the ambient, jazz infused vibes of more recent days has produced an album that is both imaginative and exploratory yet tuneful and, dare I say it, commercially viable. Support comes from the sonorous and somnolent acoustic dreamscapes of Andrew Burke.

 

The Beehive is the place to be to catch the mercurial mix of underground pop, psychedelia, wit and wisdom of Anton Barbeau.

 

Acoustic music is high on the menu for Friday. Child of Imber is a duo that mixes delicate acoustica, soaring vocals and thoughtful lyrics and they can be found at Riffs Bar for the regular acoustic session. For a high-energy take on the genre then you should definitely catch Sam Green and The Midnight Heist at The Victoria. Theirs is a blend of blues from the Old South and the more pastoral sounds of an English folk dance and the result is the best freewheeling, roots-rock party you have ever been to. Support comes from psych-pop trio Emperor Yes and the twin guitar dexterity of Bren Haze.

 

Rock fans also have a lot to shout about. If original music is your preference then Level 3 is the place to be as A Way With Words, DIRTE, In Bloom and Over to You offer a heady mix of alt-rock, punk, metal and grunge, a theme that will be continued by the Reboot club night that follows it. Meanwhile upstairs at The Rolleston, Metalhead will be playing classic rock and metal covers through the ages.

 

As mentioned in the introduction, Saturday marks the 10 year passing of Our Lord John Peel and in his honour The Victoria have a night dedicated to the man himself with suitably challenging and offbeat acts. There will be fast, furious punk with sweary between song humour delivered in machine gun salvos from 2 Sick Monkeys. The (Legendary?) Chaos Brothers will provide abrasive punk and sleaze rock in the style in which it was originally intended. Coasters are all about the contemporary sound of acoustic music with a punk end drive and Ian Doeser does what he does best, abusing guitar and audience in equal measure. I think John would find it all rather amusing.

 

But there is another famous John in town as well. John Coghlan is best known as being the drummer with Status Quo and he brings his current band to Riffs Bar. But this is no tribute band but a set that mixes the bands big numbers, lost classics and songs never performed before played in the style of the 70’s heyday by the man who was the bands engine room. If anyone is entitled to reappraise those songs I reckon he is.

 

There is also a bit of a blast from the past at The Rolleston with The Wirebirds. Although predominantly a blues band they add in rock, west coast psychedelia and even more contemporary sounds and add to that the remarkable vocals of one time Babe Ruth vocalist, Jenny Haan, and you have something pretty special.

 

Final mentions go to Bob Bowles who plies his trademark blues at The Beehive on Sunday and a rare outing for The Chalice Folk Band who can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

Laid low by a mystery bug over the weekend I found myself lifeless, crashed on the sofa and in my less than lucid state, watching Britain’s Got Pop Factor, or whatever the current re-hashing of Opportunity Knocks is called. Whilst the acts themselves left little impression, I seem to have picked up one of the most annoying habits of the modern TV age……The Unnecessary Dramatic Pause. You know, when they pause for no reason before delivering their verdict, to heighten the tension and/or lengthen the show. I have been trying to shake it off but will apologise in advance if it creeps into this weeks run down. Right……on with the column. (Sorry.)

Tonight at The Victoria is a show for all the fans of upbeat and intricate indie with the return to Songs of Praise of Bristol’s Hello Lazarus. Merging pop-punk, indie and math elements, they are seen by many as a worthy successor to Biffy Clyro and with support from Russian Blue, which contains ex-members of Sailors, and Lucy T it’s sure to be a night of great music. For those after something funky, bluesy, laidback and groovy, then Hiproute are just the band you are looking for and they can be found down at The Beehive.

One band that I have been meaning to catch for ages  is……(tension, tension, tension) …..False Gods, so I shall probably be making my way up to The Victoria again on Friday. False Gods exist in a swirling generic whirlpool fed in equal measure by torrents of punk, indie, rock and grunge, the fact that they have more than a hint of early Manics about them is just an added bonus. Support comes from the euphoric dance fuelled rock aficionados, Atari Pilot and the eclectic Oscillator.

For the big, and slightly risqué, rock show, then it’s over to Riffs Bar for New York’s infamous Lord Bishop Rocks. If groove driven, funked out, sleazy and suggestive, rock and roll is your sort of thing then arrange an audience with the big man.

More sedate sounds wait for you at The Beehive. If you remember Ross Darby from his occasional solo shows some years ago, you may be interested to know that he is now out and about with a full line up. The Fallows are a great sounding band that manages to fuse quintessential English folk, Celtic fringe vim and Appalachian vigour. Nice. Meanwhile at The Arts Centre, Buddy Whittington will be putting on a show of contemporary blues and showing why he was named as one of Guitarist Magazines top 100 unsung heroes.

Saturday has much on offer in the way of original music.  At The 12 Bar, The Racket continues to spread their beautiful cacophony, imagine grunge mugging Britpop in a back alley, whilst Madchester holds its coat. (Don’t worry; I don’t really know what that means either). Something truly unique takes place out at Riffs Bar as Jenny Haan and Dave Pushon play chilled and re-interpreted versions of songs by the band that made them famous in the seventies, Babe Ruth.

Great guitar work is two-fold; you can either go for white-hot blues from Lewis Creavan at The Rolleston or folk legend Martin Simpson at The Arts Centre. Nostalgia trippers and alt-scene freaks will be heading down to The Furnace for a tribute to it’s former days as the infamous Level 3 and a chance to recapture their youth, or more simply put, hip music and hip dancing probably resulting in hip replacements. I can hear the opening bars of a certain Soul Asylum song even as I type. Is this going to be a winner…… a million percent yes!

The big gig for Sunday is rapper Example at The Oasis and at the time of writing this, tickets are still available.

As usual Baker Street has the Jazz fans interests at heart, this Tuesday with The Alexander Hawkins Quartet whose improvisational leader manages to evoke past masters such as Theolonius Monk as easily as he beats a path into a jazz future horizon.

On Wednesday, A&T Live bring their eclectic funky, brassy, hip-rock, jazzbeat sounds to The Victoria but the one I’m excited about takes place at The Running Horse. Up from the south coast are two songwriter guitarists I got acquainted with last year. Amongst Nick Tann’s (pictured) vast and versatile vocal range, elements of Colin Verncombe, Chris Difford and many others are hinted at, whilst The Real Raj has a hushed majesty that immediately conjures thoughts of John Martyn.

Is this a great week for music?……it’s a yes from me.