Tag Archive: bad obsession


149371_10152435420009290_5033964773938942595_nWith a record number of, mainly, original music gigs taking place this week, I am going to forego the usual meandering introduction and just jump straight in. And I’ll start at The Victoria, the main cause of such a glut of new music descending on the town. Tonight is the first night of Vic-Fest, a four-day celebration of original bands, each night curated by a different local promoter and varying in its target audience.

 

Laura Kidd aka She Makes War played for Songs of Praise as a solo act getting on for a year ago and now as part of her national tour she brings the full band show back into town. Her breathtakingly honest gloom-pop, distils a creative punk spirit and is the perfect headline for this night of alternative sounds. Tour support, Forgery Lit add a dirty, grunge blues to the night and the alt-country punk of Coasters will be lapped up by fans of such bands as The Gaslight Anthem.

 

Whether you catch Robert Brown fronting Smouldering Sons or solo, as he is tonight at The Beehive, there is so much to enjoy in the blends of Americana, blues rock and folky vibes that dance around this musical creations.

 

Friday at The Victoria and Fairview Promotions take us down a reggae path. Backbeat Soundsystem take a traditional reggae vibe, inject it with funk, dub and ska and then kick it up into a higher gear to create a bass driven party groove. Festival favourites Dub The Earth and King Solomon Band deliver fresh takes on the genre and openers The Nomarks offer a more ska based set to kick off the night.

 

Back at The Beehive and the folk ‘n’ roll of The Model Folk, a beautiful cacophony of wheezing harmonium, scratchy washboard, throbbing double bass and various acoustica, create a very different, but just as brilliant, party soundtrack. Midway between those two venues, some wonderful singer-songwriter sets can be had at The Regent courtesy of Drew Bryant and Nick Felix and if classic rock and metal standards are more your thing, then Bad Obsession at The Rolleston is the gig for you.

 

Day three at The Victoria, or Saturday as the rest of us call it, really steps things up a gear and showcases the best new bands at the harder end of rock. It’s always a pleasure to watch The Manic Shine (pictured) not just for their technical expertise and the sheer infectiousness of their songs, but also because they manage to give a lesson in stage performance than many bands would be wise to take note of. They are joined by Vault of Eagles who play a wonderfully primal brand of twisted rock that falls somewhere between The Bad Seeds and P J Harvey. Punk and metal fuse together in The Graphic’s warped art attacks (check out their video The Kid….do it now!) and local support comes from local rising stars, Ghost of Machines and stalwarts The Starkers.

 

It is quite apt that in a week that marked 15 years since we lost the lyrical genius, singer, artist, actor and madman, Ian Dury, that The Blox, a tribute to his years fronting The Blockheads, are playing at The Rolleston. Expect all the caustic wit and kitchen sink wisdom, not to mention exceptional musicianship that made the original band so…well, original.

If you are after something altogether more funky then, Funk’daMental play funk and disco classics at The Swiss Chalet and the after party tunes can be found at Level 3 as Beats and Bars mixes live acts with DJ’s to showcase the best of the current wave of hip-hop acts.

 

Sunday at The Victoria rounds off with a night of metal courtesy of Dredded Vyrus. Main act Skreamer manage to combine the grandeur and pomp of classic metal with the primal growl and speed of its current direction whilst Antoinette offer a more contemporary post-metalcore sound. Belial and Ursus open the night’s proceedings.

 

It’s blues and R’n’B (the boogie guitar sort not the lip synched, dance routine sort) all the way with Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and punk, ska and new wave covers are to be found at The Swiss Chalet with Operation ’77.

 

At The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday hosts ex-Haiku frontman Phil Cooper and his Neil Finn comparable musical earworms with a rare, short set from the mercurial Adam Crosland to kick the night off.

Advertisements

10712899_10152416753527406_7198576379845939303_nOh, it’s just a bit of fun for the kids, they say. But Halloween seems to have turned into a national holiday for people who thought that Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a documentary and who take quizzes on Facebook with titles like “How long would you survive a zombie invasion?” Also prepare yourself for a barrage of lazy journalism resorting to clichéd words such a boo-tiful and spooktacular. The tail end of the week is also an opportunity for on-line slacktavists to trot out their well-worn cliché about Guy Fawkes being the “only person to enter Parliament with honest intentions.” Yes, that’s what the world needs, more religiously motivated terrorists in the pay of shadowy organisations. That said the offshoot of all this warped celebration is that there is a lot of live music to go with it.

 

Starting at The Beehive for a change, tonight the regular Acoustic Buzz night features Lucky Strikes frontman Matthew Boulter, whose solo work has been described as ““Introspective, gentle, tinged with darkness and a sorrowful undertow.” Sounds good to me. Also on the bill are the equally brilliant Paul McClure and your regular host Tim Manning of Blind River Scare.

 

The Victoria opts for the harder rock of All Ears Avow, a band who manages to infuse alternative rock with a certain pop sensibility to produce a sound that both big and commercial. They are joined by With Ghosts, Elasea and Heriot.

 

The big Halloween show is at The Victoria on Friday with a “Bands and Burlesque” special. Not only music from suitably named, psychobilly genre benders Cowboy and The Corpse but also exotic and sensual dance routines. Jokes about pumpkins made at your own risk. If something more raucous is required for your festivities The Hamsters From Hell at Rolleston offer riotous rhythm and boozy blues for your delectation. Meanwhile downstairs at Level 3, Emily’s Pole Fitness has a very unique Halloween show for you.

 

The Acoustic Session out at Riffs Bar is taken by Rob Richings this week, with the maximum added value of it being a full band show (pictured) and at The Beehive, The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning classic ska and reggae tunes.

 

Saturday gets a bit obsessed with the tried and tested but it’s all about supply and demand and what Swindon seems to demand looks a lot like this. In a clever play on words, The Four Fighters will be paying tribute to the band fronted by the universally accepted nicest man in rock music today, Dave Grohl, and they can be found at The Victoria. Riffs Bar holds its festive bash to the indie-party sounds of covers band Penfold with everything from “The Arctic Monkey’s to The Zutons” apparently.

 

Young and dynamic classic rock is on the menu at The Rolleston with Bad Obsession and tunes that run from “Aerosmith to Zeppelin”….and does anyone else see an alphabetized marketing theme developing here? More heavy rock covers can be found at The Ashford Road Club courtesy of Shepherds Pie who declare that they play “everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top”….see, there it is again. Finally Operation 77 will be at The Swiss Chalet with a range of covers covering punk, post-punk, ska and mod genres. They didn’t offer a neat alphabetized sound bite. Level 3 has a night that is 100% Drum and Bass for those that want to carry the party on into the night.

 

Music obsessives might wish to know that during the day at the Central Community Centre there will be a Record and CD Fair so all you audiophiles (that is a real word, I checked) start saving your money.

 

A second chance to see The Hamsters From Hell comes on Sunday at The White Hart in Wroughton. One of the reasons for mentioning this is that the pub has just changed hands and it would be in every live music fans interest to support the gig and prove to the new owners that live music is worth hosting and, more importantly from a business point of view, a lucrative income for the pub. Use it or lose it as they say.

 

Last mention of the week is for D’Bize at The Beehive also on Sunday, the best of the old Irish tradition with a young beating heart, sounds like a great way to enjoy a pint and let the roast dinner slowly digest.

600x600In an effort to keep up with the mainstream side of the music industry I tentatively watched the BRITs last week. I know that I’m far from the target audience but dear me what a disaster. Firstly, how can James Corden, a man who could teach Robbie Williams a thing or two about being smug, be the best presenter available? Not only did he look so far out of his depth, his interviews came across like a petulant college kid talking to inarticulate show-offs against the background chatter of an audience too busy taking “selfies” to pay attention. And why was Ellie Goulding singing backwards…in Finnish? The most edgy thing to happen was Alex Turner dropping the microphone, a feat that twitter users seemed to find on par with Keith Moon blowing up his drum kit (and himself and Pete Townsend) at their US TV debut. How times have changed.

This was, however, balanced by the watching of the BBC folk awards later that night, a genre inhabited by rugged, real ale drinking blokey blokes and flame haired Celtic beauties. Throw in Mark Radcliffe hosting, some virtuosic live music and a general feeling of celebration, decorum and mutual support and you actually got to see what an award ceremony should be about.

And if you are looking for something cool as folk, then The Victoria tonight is the place, as Rob Heron and The Tea Pad Orchestra blend the genre with gypsy jazz, Cajun, ragtime and country roots. Support is from the ever popular Missin’ Rosie…heads down, no nonsense, mindless folk music! And if you want a more Euro-centric take on the genre then The John Langan Band (pictured) at The Beehive provides the answer – high energy, extravagant and slightly unhinged acoustic playing of a joyous mix of polka, klezmer and Celtic folk traditions.

If you fancy making your own music then pop along to The Patriots Arms in Chiseldon for an open mic. night hosted by Jimmy and Aidan Moore (no relation.)

Friday delivers more of the tried and tested rather than the boundary pushing but you won’t find a better classic rock cover band around than Bad Obsession who play The Rolleston. Tributes are also on the cards with the music of ZZ Top at The Victoria and Boot Led Zeppelin at Riffs Bar delivering an acoustic take on the legendary band.

If you didn’t catch them at their open mic. earlier in the week and you want more of Moore and Moore (no relation) then they are part of a fundraising evening at The GW on Saturday which also features the soulful acoustica of Benji Clements and the sweet moreish sounds of Remedy. Need I say more?

If high energy music is your preference then catch guitarist Jamie Thyer as he leads his Worried Men through R’n’B standards at The Rolleston on Saturday whilst at The Castle, it’s time to grab your Crombie and pork pie hat for The Nomarks and their ska and reggae originals.  You could even combine this with the short walk down to The Beehive where the Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning similar genres.

The Victoria has Syntronix, a tribute to eighties synth pop and at the other end of the scale it’s all about bringing Pearl Jam back to life Riffs Bar. Support to that comes from a re-union show from Tiryth, a metal band who must have been away from the scene for a decade at least.

Proving that Sunday doesn’t have to be the day of rest, more heavy music is to be had from two South Wales post-hardcore bands When We Were Wolves and Set To Break at The Victoria.  Not your thing? Why not head to The White Hart for a slick slice of soul grooves and funky R’n’B with Otis Mack and The Tubby Bluesters maybe after catching the 3am porch blues picking of David Bristow at The Beehive afternoon session.

Baker Streets regular Tuesday jazz offering comes in the form Portuguese guitarist Miguel Martins who delivers a neat line in contemporary playing mixed with a more traditional jazz legacy. For this show the regular quartet is augmented by renowned tenor sax player Brandon Allen.

Final acoustic offerings on Wednesday come in the form of Drew Bryant at The Roaring Donkey and bluesman Ian O’Regan and Darren Hodge at The Crown, the latter who you may also have spotted on the aforementioned BBC folk awards.

Seamlessly full circle or what?

307317_10151453105276140_1745376414_nI think that it is time for a musical revolution. Who’s with me? Looking at the ever shortening list of live music available to watch in recent weeks, I am increasingly worried by the amount of young, original bands getting their music out to audiences in the form of live shows.  Musical change is built on revolutionary acts, from rock ‘n’ roll to punk to hip-hop to grunge to rave and beyond, but it seems to me that we have settled into a complacent groove of late, both on the local scene and the wider world beyond it. Maybe there are revolutionary acts being performed and I just don’t know about it, after all why would you invite an aging hippy to the party to hang around like someone’s dad waiting to give them a lift home.  Maybe the revolution has taken new forms and accesses its audience through streaming shows, free downloads and house parties, rather than the more traditional outlets. I don’t need to be invited to the revolution; I just pray that it is taking place somewhere. I lived through a few musical watersheds, it was amazing, everyone else deserves to as well.

So, enough rose-tinted retrospection from me and on with the week ahead.  Tonight Songs of Praise at The Victoria brings back into town one of the bands that have proved to be a bit of a success story over the last few years. Black Hats blend a modish, agit-punk drive with infectious hooks and crunching great choruses, imagine The Jam embracing the scope of modern technology and you are in the ballpark. Support comes from Devotion, a great writhing mass of post punk and shoegazy riffs, dream pop visions and the sort of indie music that sounds like it was made floating through space.

Ethereality of another type can be found in the guise of Jenna Witts at The Beehive, an acoustic artist who evokes pop and folk tradition in equal measure and whose maturity in song writing and pin-drop voice will astound you.

Friday brings us the stalwarts of the scene. Firstly The Teddy White Band play The Rolleston, mixing up good time rock ‘n’ roll, blues, swing and boogie from times past all glued together with honey-dripping saxophone. At The Beehive, The Blue Trees head far more down home with a weave of sounds that evoke the quiet bayous, the desert highways and the smell of Mint Julep being served on the porch. Sort of the sound of a Southern States roadhouse meets a Harper Lee novel….Tequila Mockingbird perhaps? Perhaps not!

The Victoria will be playing hosts to “top cover band” Penfold who do a neat line in classic standards both past and present.

As we roll into Saturday the offerings become more tribute and cover driven. The first is catered for at The Victoria with Oasish and Stereotonics doing their bit to ensure Britpop-ery isn’t forgotten and Bad Obsession at The Rolleston pay tribute to some of the less obvious songs of the classic rock and metal genre. One original reprieve comes in the shape of a nice big slab of alt-rock in the shape of Armchair Committee, Base 11 and Boss Cloth at Riffs Bar playing for those awfully nice chaps at Secret Chord Records.

Talk In Code (pictured) has come a long way in recent years. Having left their original “dad Rock” sound behind them. …their words not mine, they are now an of the moment rush of screaming guitars and pulsating synths. In the past Talk In Code used to be written off as the music that your dad might listen too. Now however they are the CD that your sharp-dressed, musically savvy, effortlessly cool, big brother refuses to lend you. Catch them with A Way With Words and Daniel James at The Victoria on Sunday.

Culture Vultures will be interested to know that The Swindon Recital Series at The Art Centre brings the oboe and piano talents of Nicholas Daniel and Paul Turner together to play selected pieces from French composers such as Saint-Saens, Debussy and many others.

Finally, Wednesday brings us to The Roaring Donkey and the acoustic skills of Aidan Moore whose mellow yet genre hopping style will find that he appeals to a wide range of punters.  Whilst you are there you really should pick up a copy of his recent album, So Far, So Good, it’s a cracker.

1069239_10151727020735498_1537498607_nThere have been some really awful band names throughout history. After a local disaster left a band’s rehearsal space a watery mess, the inspired name change didn’t result in something eloquent, such as Missouri River Flood but instead the god awful Puddle of Mudd! The pretentiously named The The sounds like an up date on that classic Abbot and Costello routine and then we have The Sultans of Ping F.C. I mean, what sort of a name is that and who cares where their jumper is?

 

There have been some great names too, such as Camper Van Beethoven, Mary Tyler Morphine and the brilliantly named Kathleen Turner Overdrive. Aside from being clever, some are just wonderfully evocative… The Velvet Underground, Drive By Truckers, Throwing Muses and you can add to that list Troubadours of Divine Bliss pictured) who play at The Beehive tonight. This lusciously titled duo fall roughly into the Folk Americana genre, with all the camaraderie and vocal harmony of The Indigo Girls but with a neat sideline in weird Vaudeville and sultry narratives. A more English take on similar vibes can be found in the top bar of The Victoria in the shape of Elliot Hall and Rapunzel and their alt-country meets boho-folk.

 

If prog-rock is more your thing then a trip out to Riffs Bar is on the cards. Credo take the classic sounds of the eighties neo-progressive bands such as Marillion and IQ and blend it with the more peripheral sounds of the genre such as Magnum and Asia and drive the whole lot kicking and screaming into the modern age.

 

Friday sees the return of Anglo-Swedish wunderkinds We Ghosts to the Beehive, taking elements of pop, jazz, folk and blues and blending them up into eerie and atmospheric songs.  The Victoria has it’s semi-regular gathering of roots bands, spearheaded by local funky, lap guitar bluesmen, HipRoute and the return of a band that last time really impressed me, The Sam Green Band. Opening the night are Grizzly and The Grasshopper who sound like a funky take on Del Amitri. Always a winner in my book.

 

The Rolleston takes the brave step of hosting a fairly controversial act who’s name is even too risqué for such a newspaper as this. Let me just say that this act has the perfect billing alongside 2 Sick Monkeys and Ian Doeser and you should get an idea as to the nature of the beast.

 

On Saturday, David Marx’s brings his current musical vehicle to Riffs Bar. Marx has a long history of making music in this town but has been away for a number of years, so the chance to catch him on his current tour is recommended. The songs neatly blend depth and delicacy with high octane rock and roll and explosive melodies. Support comes from acoustic balladeer, Billyjon and all the way from Toronto and normally found fronting indie-punks Dead Letter Dept. Rob Moir steers his first solo tour your way.

 

Something a bit different can be found at The Wootton Bassett Academy with a “Later with Jools Holland” style show featuring the best in roots genres with Ian O’ Regan, Blues Reviewed, Vapor, Alan Pettifer and Hilary Pavey Mills, all helping to raise money for worthy causes.

 

 

At the Victoria the Four Fighters pun and perform the music of The Foo Fighters, The Starkers will channel the music of Nirvana and at The Rolleston Bad Obsession play classic rock and metal covers.

 

The big show for Sunday can be found at The Victoria. Spectres are a wall of noise extravaganza, pneumatic guitars and pounding bass all put to relentless beats, if you like to see where rock music is going, this is one possible destination. Support comes from those mad scientists of pop, Super Squarecloud and band of the moment, Dead Royalties fire off an opening salvo of Seattle grunge meets post punk art school dynamics.

 

Over at The Sun inn, Crows Parliament pay a visit, an amazing sounding band a bit like The Pixies doing scuzzy Americana after spending to long listening to Doors albums. Do check these guys out.

 

The rest of the week still has some great music on offer, particularly the soulful, dream pop of Jazz Morley at The Victoria on Tuesday and Sebastian Craig at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, the Acoustic Session in it’s new home of The Rat Trap (formerly at the Running Horse) features the dulcet tones of Rumour Shed and the americana/folk blends of Bateleurs.