Tag Archive: ben maggs


10606297_674715675957087_5120512786349989203_nAfter a few of weeks with lots of great music covering a diverse range of genres to chose from, things have inevitably quietened down this week. Maybe it is a December thing where people turn their attention to saving money for Christmas, work parties and family celebrations. Then again I never know which of the following is true. Some say that it is harder to get good crowds out for gigs in winter, as people are preoccupied for the reasons I have just given. But in the summer the perception is that people are not going to gigs because it is the season of barbeques and back garden gatherings. I guess that whatever the season if you book the right bands people will make the effort. Recent weeks have shown this to be true so here’s to this week being more of the same.

 

And we are off to a great start at The Victoria tonight with a wonderful array of energetic acoustic music. If you think that acoustic music is the domain of folk club balladry, Arran sweaters and pastoral songs with medieval themes, then this is the show to put the genre firmly on the modern map. Headliners, The Wires, mix high-energy grooves with forays into more bluesy, old school traditions. Also on the bill is Ben Maggs a man who makes engaging, accessible, chart friendly music and Jimmy Moore whose recent album release has seen his musical stock transformed from a good circuit singer-songwriter into a brilliant world-roots act.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, 1000 Planets will be laying out a stall of both original material and covers by the likes of Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke and Bauhaus. Definitely one for all the old school goths. (I used to be a goth but was thrown out for laughing!)

 

Friday really does have something for everyone, unless of course you think Nikki Minaj is the height of musical eloquence in which case you are beyond help. For everyone else there is the following to choose from. The Victoria is the place to be for something a bit funky as Felix and The Funk (pictured) play a range of Soul, Disco, Pop, Dance and Reggae from the last six decades. The Rolleston has Metalgods, who, as their name might suggest, are a tribute to 80s and 90s rock and metal but apparently steer clear of the standard fare offered by their competitors. At the Riffs Bar Acoustic Session you can find Sam Eason, a hirsute, flame haired, singer-songwriter with a touch of James Taylor, Damian Rice and His Bobness injected into his beautiful and original creations.

 

Those of a more dance orientated persuasion should note that MECA are hosing “Live Music” – a night of Hip-Hop, R’n’ B, House and club anthems from a range of artists such as DJ Longplaya, DJ Eclipse, DJ Mosco and live performances from SN Dubstation, Benji Clements and Hibbz, Young Wilson and many more.

 

The Victoria on Saturday has a very special show, paying tribute to the late great Ian “Jock” Kerr. Not only was Jock a brilliant musician and regular live performer he was also a keen supporter of local music, a regular fixture either side of The Victoria’s bar and someone who brought laughter and no small amount of bemusement to all who came into contact with him. As a tribute to the man, to mark his untimely passing and to raise money for both a headstone and to help support his daughter, I urge anyone who knew him to gather in celebration of “Yer Auld Pal.” The music like the man himself will range from genially boisterous to just plain silly thanks to The Racket, British Harlem and Kova Me Badd.

 

Rock music is also on offer at The Queens Tap with Shepherds Pie who play the best of classic rock from the past 40 years and Lewis Creaven will be offering up blues, retro and southern rock standards at The Rolleston. Those looking for a beautiful noise could do a lot worse than head out to Riffs Bar for a night with Ruff Diamond playing tribute to namesake Neil.

 

Please note that the Peloton gig recently advertised at The Royal Oak is cancelled due to the recent closure of the venue.

 

Two offerings to round the week off are acoustic and electric blends of bluegrass, Cajun and Americana from Sons of The Delta at The Beehive on Sunday and a solo show from David Marx at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

1157735_552565938125804_813919255_nThis week I think the column should be dedicated to Roy Castle of Record Breakers fame as I have so many gig recommendations this will be the equivalent of trying to squeeze 50 people into a Mini. So without further ado….

Tonight at The Victoria sees the return of Sam Green and Midnight Heist, a band who inject wonderfully earthy melody into folk-blues stomps and pretty much show the likes of Mumford and the Whale where they have been going wrong all these years.  If you prefer something purer from the rootsy blues songbook then head down to The Beehive for Kent DuChaine, a steel guitar blues-playing journeyman in the traditional style.

Fans of a more folky sound will find much to like at The Arts Centre as acoustic duo Rita Payne (duo)promote their debut album, Stories From a Suitcase, and ably live up to the “new Simon and Garfunkel” tag that keeps being levelled at them.

More, delicate sounds are to be found on Friday both at Riffs Bar Acoustic Sessions with the sweet and innocent piano sounds of Lauren Castle (presumably no relation to the aforementioned bible bashing, tap dancing, muso) and the three piece version of Kangaroo Moon whose wonderfully global musical jamboree bag blends everything from delicate folk, washes of celtic sounds, elemental dance, psychedelia and more. Just turn up and see what’s on the menu this time.

More retro sounds come in the form of Teddy White and their fantastic r’n’ b revue at The Rolleston; The Jimmy Sixes provide the rock and roll back beat for the 3rd Anniversary Band And Burlesque show at The Victoria and if the idea of Hammond Organ driven, electric blues appeals to you, then the place to be is The Patriots Arms in Chiseldon for Shades of Blue.

The big gig for Saturday is to be found at Basement 73 when Eddie and the Hot Rods hit town.  Having their roots in the same Canvey Island scene as Dr Feelgood, they were one of the few bands that spanned the gap between pub rock and punk and it promises to be a great night of fierce, in your face, high-octane music. Support comes from Charred Hearts, local punk stalwarts still as fired up and entertaining as they were back in the day and The Hamsters From Hell, maximum r’n’b, with a chaotic and rowdy nature that belies the musical skills to be found within.

Elsewhere, as is the nature of the day, covers and tributes rule the roost. The Victoria has a tribute to pop-punksters Blink 182 and the Rolleston goes all classic metal with a night recreating the glory days of Judas Priest. Sons of Cream are a bit more than a tribute to the 60’s super group as the band feature both Ginger Baker’s and Jack Bruce’s sons, Kofi and Malcolm and can be found at The Arts Centre.

Riffs Bar offer up a fancy dress night with party covers band Penfold and support comes from brilliant folk troubadour Ben Maggs.

Culture Vultures will be circling around the Arts Centre on Sunday for the Swindon Recital Series which features cellist Caroline Dale and pianist Paul Turner playing all the b’s …Bach, Beethoven and Bach.  Alternatively you could take in a slice of folky Americana at the Beehive afternoon sessions as Gary Hall delivers music with touches reminiscent of Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons.

Monday is not the normal night for stand out gigs but Ben Marwood at The Victoria is going to be a cracker. The up and coming folk troubadour is playing with a full band and is also joined by label mates The Retrospective Soundtrack Players a literary influenced concept band who used to go under the more manageable moniker of The Dawn Chorus.  Shaun Buswell and friends get the night rolling.

Normally known as a big band leader, tenor saxophonist Kelvin Christiane brings his bepop quartet to Baker Street on Tuesday, a musical vehicle that no less than Humphrey Lyttleton described as “ a band of astonishing virtuosity” and he knew a thing or two about the genre.

Finally, still at The Victoria on Wednesday you can catch a punk orientated showcase featuring 2 Sick monkeys, Brassick and Larynxed.

Phew! If you can’t find something to watch this week, there is no hope for you.

601936_376635112446766_781086710_n

It seems as if I have spent the last week looking at lists. The TV has been bombarding me with everything from Charlie Brookers wonderfully sarcastic take on the year’s events to The Valleys least forgettable moments (for which I am now seeing a therapist on a weekly basis.) In the music world every website in existence seems to have compiled their run down of 2013’s best music and I must confess that even for someone relatively knowledgeable about current music, it seems like an avalanche of acts that I have never heard of and that would take me the next three years to properly explore. Maybe there is just too much new music out there! What a dilemma, music buffs all want to be the first to get on board with the potential next big thing, but there is just so much music on offer that the chances are that you will miss the designated band wagon. Or as I call it Catch 33 and 1/3! The answer is simple. Learn to stop worrying about the next big thing and just enjoy the music. Just because every Guardian reader in the country is listening to Mumford and The Whale doesn’t mean that you can’t be grooving away to the latest in Russian Chanson or Tibetan Dubstep. Ignore the hype, ignore the hipsters and ignore the media  (the irony!) and just embrace what feels right for you.

 

Well, quite a parochial line up this week, not that there is anything wrong with embracing the bands that are on your doorstep. And one of the best is on at The Victoria tonight. Rocket Box have been around in one form or another for the past 30 years and tonight will be delivering their trade mark blend of melodic rock, punk and pop. Support comes from the riotous yet accessible grungefest that is The Damned and The Dirty.

 

Friday provides a few choice acts from out of the area, most notably Louise Latham who plays Riffs Bar. Louise is known for her chilled and ethereal sounds, a mixture of pop and classical piano that sits somewhere between the mercurial sounds of Tori Amos and the sparser, folk traditions of Cara Dillon.  Support comes from Ben Maggs, a very charismatic folk troubadour who I urge you to catch live.

 

The Beehive offers a range of covers and originals with Newquay Times but if you are staying in the centre of town then my money is on Kubris who play The Rolleston. Any band armed with acoustic instruments and still vary their sound from folk delicacies to a very reasonable impression of Metallica has got to be worth checking out.

 

Glam fans can catch a potted history of The Thin White Duke himself as the Bowie Experience grace The Victoria stage and playing The Ferndale Club are Post 12, a band whose extensive biography tells me that they play pop punk and once came 2nd in a battle of the bands competition.

 

Saturday is all about some wonderful slices of loud and shouty music. Fans of classic metal will want to be at The Rolleston for the ever popular Shepherds Pie who cover all the classics from iconic bands such as AC/DC, Judas Priest and the like. Meanwhile over at Riffs Bar, energetic folk-punk is on offer from Missin’ Rosie and support comes from the oddly named Fist Full of Foozy who cover iconic songs from classic bands such as AC/DC, Judas Priest and the like.

 

For an original take on the genre head to The Victoria to catch the alt-rock majesty of All Ears Avow, the heavy cross genre sound of Burnthru (pictured)and the west coast, big chorus, pop-punk vibes of Sell Your Sky.

 

At The Castle The AK-Poets will be showing you just why they are considered one of the most exciting bands around as they mix raucous riffs and maximum melody with the charisma and tight delivery that only comes with extensive gigging experience. Not a show to miss.

 

The ever popular folk wunderkind, Charlie Anne plays The Beehive on Sunday and the weeks final offering comes with the classic Latin acoustic dexterity, hats, sharp suits and banter of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

Library - 62So, the big noise this weekend seems to be coming from up the hill, as the Old Town Festival reaches it’s climax in fine style. Of particular interest to the culture vultures and gig goers alike is the big finale at The Lawn on Saturday with an afternoon of performing arts in all it’s forms by the various local schools and academies, followed by an evening of acoustic music from the likes of Hiproute, Albion, Ethemia, Coach and more besides. Make sure you check their website for the full menu that includes a parade, dog show, running events and a cornucopia of other activities.

Also watch out for the 105.5fm Late Gig boys who are running a tongue in cheek awards ceremony on Friday in that very same location. I repeat, this is just a bit of fun so please don’t get upset if your band didn’t get nominated, look on the bright side, it means that you won’t be obliged to talk to “The Andys” or to use the title of their new, Channel 5 sketch platform, The Mitchell and Pett Show.  Every cloud and all that!

Back in the usual haunts and back into chronological order, tonight, The Victoria  has one of it’s regular Band and Burlesque shows, this time it takes as it’s theme the Carry On films, so nothing at all risqué there you will be pleased to hear, and music is from the stalwarts of skiffle, Ode and the BeBops who will be endeavouring to find out the answer to the age old question, does your chewing gum loses it’s flavour on the bedpost overnight? Or not.

More serious music is afoot at The Beehive with this month’s Acoustic Buzz. Some call it roots-blues, some call it country or rough around the edges folk, but Canadian singer songwriter, Lynne Hanson describes her music as “porch music with a little Texas red dirt.” Call it what you will, just don’t miss it. Especially as support comes from that harmonious celtic-folk-americana duo, The Black Feathers and as always Blind River Scare main man, Tim Manning, hosts the night. Fans of more mainstream music might wish to head for Baker Street for the acoustic pop and soulful tones of Kieran Cox.

Friday sees the return of a band that I have been looking forward to for a long time. The place is The Beehive, the band is The Snakes (pictured). Having just released their third album, The Last Days of Rock and Roll, the band return to the town that featured heavily in their formative years to show you just why they count Bob Harris and Mark Lamarr amongst their fans. If the sound of Whiskeytown colliding with Mott The Hopple sounds like your thing, be there and then buy the album.

Younger fans will be pleased to know that Teenage Kicks takes up residence in it’s new home at Riffs Bar and this inaugural show takes the form of a pop-punk showcase with Disclosure (no, not that one, the other one,) Not My Finest Hour, Save The Dinosaurs, Written In Words and The Hourglass Has Turned. Elsewhere it’s classic rock covers at The Rolleston with guitar Gandalfs Metalhead and the brilliant Interlight at The Victoria who basically play anything that takes their fancy and with wit, style, panache and matching suits.

Saturday sees R’n’B pop giant, Billy Ocean come to The Old Town Bowl and support comes from another eighties pop sensation, Hazel Dean. Those folkies out there may opt to travel a bit further afield to catch either Grubby Jack at The Waggon and Horses in Wootton Bassett or if you can manage to track down a ticket, Show of Hands at The Great Coxwell Barn. Either way you are in for a treat.

Sunday sees those awfully nice chaps from Mr Love and Justice take their Lazy Sunday Afternoon gig to The Old Town Bandstand where they will be joined by the Cajun vibes of Kim Coupland and the wonderfully elegant acoustica of Nick Felix.

Tuesday jazz at Baker Street comes courtesy of vocal and piano led Paul Buck/Catherine Sykes Quartet and acoustic music is well represented as always at The Running Horse on Wednesday by the powerful and melodious songs of Ben Maggs and the off beat sounds of Salisbury duo, Child of Imber.

Whilst I was clearing out some old text files from my computer the other day I came across my very first Sounds Around Town submission and realised that I have been ensconced in this particular ivory tower for just about 3 years now. Quick calculations put that are around 100,000 words of recommendation for Swindon’s gig going cognoscenti, many of those words spelt correctly and in a logical order. Three years! To paraphrase Sandy Denny, had she been writing in Latin, where does the tempus fugit indeed?

 

So, enough of ancient history and on to the music of the moment. It’s certainly one of the quieter weeks, but that is probably to be expected with the amount of local festivals and busy schedules we have had through the summer. Still, there is good stuff to be had if you know where to look.

 

There is no better place to kick off your search for original music than at The Rolleston tonight with Optimal Prime, made up of members of Dodging The Bullet, Deep Thought and Snaggletooth and delivering hard hitting rock that takes in the more proggy reaches of the genre. Support comes from the ubiquitous Plummie Racket touting his solo acoustic set.

 

If you miss the main act though you can catch them on Friday over at Riffs Bar supporting Steve Grimmet’s Grim Reaper. His is a tasty slab of British classic rock and all in aid of raising money for Children’s Leukemia. Great music and a worthy cause. And if the heavier end of the musical spectrum is your cup of Earl Grey, then you might want to consider a tribute to Rammstein at The Victoria as Rammlied bring all the industrial grind, pomp and dark majesty of the original to your doorstep.

 

And still the options in the loud and shouty department roll on. The Furnace hosts it’s regular Teenage Kicks night, showcasing the best in local bands, this time with the melodic hardcore of The Pursuit and Natures, the eclectic alt-rock of Tides of Change (who replace Route 101) and the frantic drive of The Doss who sound like a collision between The Buzzcocks and Nirvana.

 

A different serving suggestion comes courtesy of The Erin Bardwell Collective. Late sixties style rocksteady and ska originals, driven by that classic organ sound and an infectious energy and all for free at The Rolleston.

 

Saturday has a fair bit to offer in the way of music, though sadly not much of it in the original category. The Rolleston offers the only oasis in a desert of tribute acts,  in the guise of Gwyn Ashton. Not only does he do a neat line in pre-war Delta blues flavoured with cool country, jazz vibes and swamp rock earthiness, but this show will also feature ex-Magnum drummer Mickey Barker. Those into their music trivia might be interested to note that the Magnum connection also extends to Gywn’s latest album, Radiogram, which features, amongst other stalwarts, iconic piano man Mark Stanway. (I have One Sacred Hour playing in my head even as we speak)

 

Tributes can be found at The Victoria with Fleetwood Bac, featuring a Christine McVie who looks a lot like Alice Offley, Bjorn Again being ABBA at the Old Town Bowl and Syntronix playing the synth-pop hits of the eighties at Riffs Bar. And if you are still in the mood for partying after all that then Reboot club night at The Furnace playing indie, rock and alternative is the place to head for.

 

Juey is at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon session; soft Americana and folk songs with a traditional, storytelling form, employing guitar, harmonica, mandolin and banjo.

 

Wednesday provides a welcome stepping-stone to get you through the working week with a couple of interesting options. The Running Horse continue to bring in quality acoustic music, this week it’s The Black Feathers (pictured), a band whose ear for melody and amazing harmonising have to be witnessed live to be believed. Ben Maggs is also on the bill.

 

The Victoria is playing host to Shakespeare, Rattle and Roll a show looking at the life, loves and language of The Bard and setting much of it to music in a more contemporary style, such as Beatles, Elvis and Bob Dylan. Sounds pretty original to me.