Tag Archive: ben mcdanielson


p01c318fApparently everyone remembers where they where when Kennedy was assassinated. Similarly everyone remembers where they were when they first heard of the attack on the World Trade Centre. On a more parochial level, everyone with at least a passing interest in Swindon’s music scene remembers where they were when they heard that Dave and Anna were selling the Victoria. But after months of speculation (for a while people almost had me convinced that I had bought it!) it appears that not only is the venue in safe hands under the captaincy of Darren and Violet, but it is very much business as usual.

I’m sure I speak for pretty much all of the local music scene when I say a very big thank you to Dave and Anna for making The Victoria the success story that it is, supporting all genres of music, from local to international, original, covers and tributes (we’ll gloss over the karaoke bit!) and generally making the place one of the corner stones of the town’s music scene. On a more personal note, thank you for giving ideas such as Songs of Praise and The Swindon Shuffle a chance back when they were the mere ramblings of a drunken promoter on the back of a cigarette packet. (Not me, another rambling, drunken promoter.) See you guys at the bar sometime, there’s a few drinks on me, or you…whatever!

Right, to business. Tonight provides a wealth of acoustic acts across a couple of venues. The regular Acoustic Buzz night at The Beehive  has the world weary, heartfelt, country laments of Boss Caine, the more perky upbeatness (that is a word, I looked it up) of Jane Allison plus your regular host in the form of Blind River Scare.

Meanwhile back at the aforementioned Victoria the top bar has some very strong competition from the musical dexterity and diverse sounds of Nick Felix, Ben McDanielson, Benji Clements and Jimmy Moore.

Bit of a bluesy edge going in to Friday, firstly with Gwyn Ashton at The Beehive, a man that not only reproduces the sounds of pre-war delta blues with authenticity and attention to detail but who probably has Mississippi mud flowing through his veins instead of the usual red stuff. Jim Blair’s trademark funky blues lap guitar playing and whiskey cracked vocals can be found at The Rolleston. Coldplay fans can get their fix at The Victoria with Coolplay (I see what they did there) plus The Sleeves who will get the night started with a selection of modern indie classics.

Saturday brings a bit of a treat and it’s nice to see original, local, contemporary music being given an airing at The Old Town Bowl’s Garden Party, not that I have anything against Tight Fit and Modern Romance but …no, let’s not open that can of worms again! The line up provides another outing for the soulful acoustic groove of Benji Clements, Billyjon’s smooth balladry, see’s Jim Blair in full band mode with Hip Route, has the soaring, anthemic rock of False Gods and is topped of with AJ Live and A & T. Definitely something for everyone there.

Back indoors there is more great music to be had. At The Rolleston in a last minute substitution for Hot Flex, ex-pat, David Marx brings in his latest incarnation of The AK Poets, playing melodically explosive, high octane, rain ‘n’ napalm licks; a rock and roll band that does what it says on the tin.

That dapper chap about town, Gig Monkey has a bit of coup in bringing Bite The Buffalo (pictured) to The Victoria. Fuzzy, heavy grooved rock ‘n’ roll that immediately transports you to a smoke hazed, backstreet drinking dive in Ladbrook Grove at 3am sometime in 1968. Support comes from Tommaso Galati and his punk attitude, acoustic guitar attacks and 2 piece grunge noise merchants Boss Cloth.

Sunday brings you something a bit more suited to the day of rest. Tim Graham and Robin Grey set out again to combine their love of folk music and cycling to bring Pedalfolk back to The Central Library for a second time. If you like innovative yet unfussy acoustic music this is the place to be. It is also the place to be to experience the quiet majesty of Rumour Shed and the retro folk jangle of Mr Love and Justice.

As usual the week jumps along to Wednesday and the twin acoustic session that now vie for your beer money. At The Running Horse is Ali Finneran and Rachel Austin and the Roaring Donkey provides a second opportunity to catch the romanticism and dark lyrical undercurrents of Billyjon.

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Library - 151The local alternative music scene has been thrown into uproar over the news that a fledgling rock band completed an interview with not one member mentioning This Is Spinal Tap – a feat not achieved since 1987 when a member of The Unreal discussed at length their succession of drummers without once making reference to the films similar sub-plot. In this weeks incident, Charlie Made-Upname from the band Slim Whippet spoke to a local magazine about his Marshall amp saying, “I often wish that the amp would go a little bit louder, but sadly ten is the maximum” After pausing, he looked up and added “Anybody fancy a brew?” The Musicians Union is investigating the case, which could lead to his expulsion. A spokesman for the band told Sounds Around Town “It was a silly mistake, a bit like when Tap got the wrong size Stonehenge!”

 

Tonight’s offerings are of a calibre that ensures such rookie errors are nowhere to be seen, especially at The Beehive where the brilliant Three Minute Tease (pictured) will be holding court. Subversive and articulate pop songs are the order of the day courtesy of main man Anton Barbeau and bone fide musical legends complete the line up in the former of Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians rhythm section, Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe. The result ,a musical landscapes peppered with the trippy vibes of an idealized hippy dreamtime, stoner pop fashioned with big harmonies, warped guitars, fantastical lyrical imagery, flower power ethics and eastern flavours. Groovy!

 

Head to The Victoria for a more chilled affair with Raurri Joseph, an integral part of the South West folk scene and a wonderful mix of traditional folk and the more pop-savvy sounds of the likes of Damien Rice and David Gray. Support comes from Jim Blair of Hiproute and Ben McDanielson. Alternatively it’s upbeat blues at The Rolleston with The Dan Sowerby Blues Band.

 

So Friday is Red Nose Day, but you don’t have to use that as an excuse to crash on the sofa and be forced to watch James Corden dancing in a tutu or suffer ditzy lower sixth prefect, Claudia Winkleman. Instead you could catch a rare outing by Broken Daylight a band blending most rock based genres but beholden to none. Also on the bill are False Gods, neatly described, as “a tasty mix of Muse and The Manics” now doesn’t that sound intriguing? That’s all at The Victoria.

 

The Furnace is providing us with something pretty special as Ashes to Angels descend from whichever plane they normally inhabit to deliver a blast of gothic meets alt-rock. Fans of Murder Dolls, Nine Inch Nails and Evanescence will find a lot to like here. Completing the line up are Dead! glam horror rockers In Dante’s Eclipse and I’m Designer. Fans of iconic local bands of the past can head up to The Beehive instead for The Big Casino and The Teddy White Band.

 

Saturday sees a new night launched at Riffs Bar. The people behind Songs of Praise are launching The Secret Chord nights, mixing local and out of town bands as they have done successfully for the seven years of their existing night. This kick off party features a collection of singer-songwriters, Plummie Racket, Si Hall, Faye Rogers and Nick Felix and all profits from these nights will be donated to Strummerville.

 

The so-called day of rest looks like the busiest of the week. Lazy Sunday Afternoon at the Arts Centre features the wonderful harmonies and myriad instrumentation: flutes, cellos, whistles, piano and guitars to name a few, of Homefires, plus the soulful voice and crafted tunes of Terry G Etherington. Pete Christie’s distinctive voice and finger style guitar graces The Beehive in the afternoon and that evening acoustic duo Dan and Adam play The Rolleston. Dan is the bassist with Britpop stalwarts Ocean Colour Scene and Adam is a founder member of CCR and Springsteen inspired, The Misers. High profile stuff indeed! Those getting their St Patrick’s vibe on might want to head along to The Sun Inn at Coate for the furious and formidable folk virtuosity of Grubby Jack.

 

Punks will have a field day at The Victoria as a newly re-launched 4ft Fingers make a triumphant return to the live scene with local ska-punksters Slagerij, Splash and Si Hall in tow.

 

And to be fair, this week I had to leave out as much as I put in so please check venue listings for other musical serving suggestions!