Tag Archive: barrelhouse


thumbnailIf you were thinking that it is around this time of year that the live gigging circuit goes a bit quiet as bands prepare for the hectic run of Christmas bookings then one look at the list below will show you just how wrong such thoughts are. And it isn’t just the local set out in force either.

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19800827_329147764207648_8548866910363338205_o.jpgSo after a couple of weeks of international circuit stalwarts and iconic punk visitations, things settle down to a more local affair. But as always this little old railway town proves that there certainly is something for everyone going on within its parish boundaries.

There is something quintessentially English about the name Chesterfield Supper Club and if you are looking for a night of chilled, acoustic covers then you should catch their gig tonight at The Beehive. The fact that this wonderfully named band is actually made up of one-time members of local legends Big Casino means that the quality of the music remains in no doubt whatsoever.

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10349094_566351956803162_3626054594936056313_nAnd so the “Kanye at Glastonbury” debate trundles on with an army of armchair Foo Fighters fans getting outraged on our behalf and trying to find ever more convoluted reasons to justify the fact that they simply don’t like his music. So? Maybe they are forgetting what a festival, especially one the size of Glastonbury (no Glasto…never Glasto!) is all about. Take a road trip to the heart of the West Country, be part of a temporary city of music fans, meet some interesting people, have a drink, get a bit …err…merry (that’s code by the way but this is a family paper,) take in some Cuban Jazz, a 1940’s Swing Band or a Canadian comedian (aren’t they all these days?) head out to the fringe events and learn to juggle. The options are endless. With literally 1000’s of acts to choose from why worry about one act, on one day, on one stage! That said, I stopped going when people in designer wellies from Kent began putting picket fences around their camping area to demarcate their own suburban plot from their neighbours.

 

And our own music week kicks off in fairly eclectic style as well. Level 3 has a wonderful slice of alt-rock spearheaded by Maidenheads Hindsights, a melodic, riff driven, energetic young band and the more abrasive growl of Hereford’s Richa. Slightly at odds with the headline sound, the more wistful indie-folk of Bad News (no, not that one…a different one) play the middle slot and local bands Dreamcatcher and Sahara Heights add an element of moody indie and shimmering shoegaze to the night.

 

At The Victoria Talk In Code will be throwing stadium tunes, euphoric vibes, accessible dance-rock and a spade load of pop sensibility into the mix to deliver their trade mark cross genre fusions. They are joined by the similarly anthemic Echotape and the pop rock of The Fuse.

Meanwhile at The Beehive, The Sitting Tenants offer up English garage band psychedelia, power-pop and modish rock.

 

On Friday, again Level 3 provides the big draw of the night. The Green Gig is a fundraiser on behalf of the Swindon Green Party, but politics aside it’s a fantastic line up. The Headliners, Kid Calico and the Astral Ponies are a supergroup with ex-members from Belarus, Good Things Happen in Bad Towns and Sunday Dogs, to name a few and a neat line in Americana, music hall and raggle-taggle folk. Joining them, conjuring reflective dreamscapes and indie, pastoral sweetness is Colour the Atlas (pictured). Ian Doeser and Neil Mercer get the night underway.

 

After that original music gets a bit harder to find, though fans of classic rock and metal covers will find a lot that they like from either Kok Rok at The Rolleston and Shepherds Pie at The Victoria. All styles, eras and genres can be found at The Liden Arms courtesy of Penfold.

 

Similarly, Saturday continues to cater for the denim-jacketed brigade with more classic rock covers from Broken Image at The Swiss Chalet. If you are fans of rock and rolls most successful survivors, then The Victoria is the place to be for The Rollin’ Clones.

 

Barrelhouse will be playing vintage blues with a hard edge that takes in Chicago’s heritage and the sound of the early English blues-rock movement at The Rolleston and Riffs Bar is the place to be for something with more of a bucolic vibe to it. Rob Richings deals in vocal harmony driven folk that uses indie and pop borrowings to keep it fresh and contemporary. Joining him is Ethemia, a duo renowned for the timeless quality and sensitivity of their songs and the inspirational Leon Daye. Getting the night underway The Southern Harmony, a band featuring three ex-members of Bateleurs, will be playing their debut show.

 

Jim Reynolds takes the afternoon slot at The Beehive on Sunday, filling the room with music that taps into everything from blues to ragtime, music hall to folk.

 

If something a bit more energetic is your sort of thing then The Victoria that evening is the place to be. Stillbust give a new twist to the hardcore genre and Foxpunch blend gritty punk, ska and a thrashier edge into what they adequately describe as speed grunge. Opening that show are Strength In Blunders.

 

And finally, Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey you can catch the wonderfully upbeat and infectiously soulful acoustica of The Real Raj.

 

1238987_718461988170775_889455153_nIt doesn’t seem too far back that I was using words like Autumnal and talking about nights starting to draw in or even discussing various summer music festival options and describing cool music to go with warm evenings. Now in what would seem just a blink of an eye we arrive at the towns Christmas lights switch on celebrations. Where has the year gone?

 

Yes, tonight you can catch all of the various festivities in Wharf Green …or Woof Green as it should be known, (just trying out my tabloid journalism techniques there) as Ashleigh and her dog Pudsey will be performing and pushing the plunger to illuminate the town with lights and fireworks. Also on offer is an Aerial Hoop performance from Emily Smith, a video message from Nigel Havers plus Swindon Dance, The Brunel Elves and Heart FM presenters Ben and Kirsten. All of which starts at 6.30.

 

Fans of rock are going to be well catered for by The Victoria in a number of forms this weekend starting tonight with an explosive Songs of Praise line up. The St Pierre Snake Invasion (pictured) has built up quite a reputation on the regional circuit and they headline tonight in a riot of energy, sarcasm and attitude channelled through a relentless flow of garage rock and punk tirades. Also recently turning a few heads alt-rock two piece Blindman’s Bastion who channel vibrant electric blues and classic rock vibes take the middle slot. Opening the show is GagReflex who have been concisely described as a two headed punk rock machine – small enough to fit in a car; big enough to take your face clean off. Sounds ominous!

 

More intricate sounds can be found at The Beehive as The John Langan Band bring their tour to town. Traditional folk vibes are re-packaged as high energy, slightly unhinged and musically extravagant pieces and launched on the audience with a wilfully punk abandonment. Other acoustic sounds come from AK-Poets (unplugged,) this stripped back presentation of their music can be found at The Wheatsheaf in Old Town, all the energy, songcraft and stage presence in a slightly less in your face package. If an old school fifties rock and roll vibe is your sort of thing then head to 20 At The Kings for the first hometown show from 58 Shakes.

 

Friday is going to act as a bit of a conduit for musical time travel. The Victoria has Spanish 80’s metalers Stop Stop, so expect the hair to be as big as the guitar riffs and the bands look to be as glammed up and as brash as the music. Support comes from a rare appearance of the beast that is known as Vinyl Matt. If the idea of Steel Panther warms the cockles of your…err, cockles, then this is the show for you.

 

Electric blues standards can be found at The Rolleston courtesy of Barrelhouse. Influenced by the golden age of Chicago and early British blues scenes, they put a hard-edged spin on the genre and if their pedigree is in any doubt bear in mind that the man behind the kit is none other than former Ataraxis Vibration beat keeper Dave Growcott. More blues can be found at The Beehive, this time in the form of elegant slide playing from The Kevin Brown Trio. Also doing some retrospective referencing is London Calling who pay tribute to The Clash at Level 3.

 

Saturday offers the regular covers and tribute options with the music of AC/DC at The Victoria and Blondie at Riffs Bar. At The Swiss Chalet you can experience a range of covers from The Jam to The Foo Fighters with Happy Accident. Original serving suggestions come from two of the towns’ best-loved bands. The Erin Bardwell Collective play their trade mark retro edged reggae, ska and rocksteady at The Rolleston and The Hamsters From Hell inflict their raw and riotous rhythm and blues on The Queens Tap.

 

Last mentions come for The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday as Songs of Praise (unplugged) has the funky, rappy, poppy, soulful acoustica of A.Koustiks.