Tag Archive: bill smarme and the bizness


1454601_785932734795095_2432621929046862276_nI recently found myself in a conversation with a tattooed, rock acolyte being told in no uncertain terms that heavy metal was the only genre of music that mattered and that all else failed to match up to it. Two things, however, immediately undermined his argument; firstly the fact that he was wearing a Limp Bizkit t-shirt and also the continued existence of Twisted Sister. For me the enjoyment of music comes from having a broad-minded approach to it. If you are a foodie, then surely you frequently sample many styles of cuisine, if you like travelling then your destinations are varied and many. Therefore if music has an important place in your life then is it not best to experience all of its many facets? My suggestion that he went home and listened to some Marvin Gaye was met with a derisory snort… his loss I guess. This weeks offerings are indeed varied and many, so if you like music in all its forms you have a treat of a week coming up.

 

Blues is the order of tonight. Having interviewed Elles Bailey (pictured) recently at an “in session” show on a local radio station, I already know what an incredible talent she is, the rest of you will have to head up to The Beehive to check out her sultry blues delivered with a sensuous, husky vocal and an energetic stage presence. A more funky take on the genre can be found in the top bar of The Victoria as Jim Blair breaks out his trademark slide blues and whiskey cracked vocal.

 

Friday actually continues in a similar vein with The Husky Tones at The Rolleston. This raw and energetic band mix up their own vibrant, electric guitar driven compositions with standards from some of the genres greats. At The Victoria a tribute to one of the finest southern blues acts can be found in the shape of The ZZ Tops.

 

Saturday is where things get a lot more eclectic but again a clash of bookings means that fans of the distinctive Caribbean sound will have to make a choice. At The Victoria, the Shocks of Mighty Reggae Club Night features Sidewalk Doctors, London’s finest purveyors of Rocksteady, that brief but breezy interlude that provided the link between the existing ska sound and the evolving reggae genre. It’s also the sound at the heart of support band The Erin Bardwell Collective’s music.

 

Ska and Rocksteady can  be found at The Rolleston to as Boy le Monti also revel in that glorious 60’s vibe, so expect off-beat, staccato guitars, pulsing basslines and glorious blasts of brass. Honestly, they are like busses, you wait ages for one to come along and then three show up at once. Actually a similar thing was overheard at the recent Bruce Springsteen look-alike competition. (He’s called The Boss…..think about it…no, well please yourself it made me laugh anyway.)

 

Of interest to the gig goers at the two shows I have just mentioned, The MECA have a night of DJ’s spinning Northern Soul and Motown, going on until 2am so you know where to go for the after party.

 

Imagine Vic Reeves leading a band. Okay, forget that just head up to The Beehive on Saturday and catch Bill Smarme (king of the social club crooners, love guru, connoisseur of fine wines and marmalades and building contractor) and his band The Business. I will say no more, but do catch them.

 

Cover band fans can catch all their favourite tunes from Penfold who celebrate their birthday bash out at Riffs Bar, those with a penchant for the heavier sounds should head to The Swiss Chalet and tuck into a bit of Shepherds Pie.

 

The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive features the pop vibes of James Cottriall, a man who won the Austrian version of The Voice in 2009. Now I know that sounds like me setting up a joke and you are waiting for a witty punchline, but in this case it happens to be true.

 

And finally Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey is the place to find Ells and The Southern Wild a wonderful trio who weave folk, pop and rock together to deliver delicate, accessible and memorable songs.

1016976_10151955957771467_5293699458571862155_nAt a time when many of the great and good seem to be shuffling off this mortal coil, I was saddened today to read of the demise of another icon of our times. The Hipster.  It is being widely reported that the sleeve tattoo, too cool music taste, sawn off and overly complicated hair cut, backwoodsman beard and predilection for drinking out of jam jars has now passed on and these sockless evangelists of fickle fashion are a dying breed.

 

But like any other youth tribe, did they actually exist outside the pages of style magazines? Did punk or goth for that matter? Maybe all of these tribes without leaders, codes without rules, loose collections of ideas and ideology can only be seen from the outside and after the fact. Maybe.

 

Could this be just another twist in the scene that never existed, for if something never existed…how can it actually die? Maybe they just wised up and realised that Youth Lagoon were just The Bravery in tighter trousers or that wearing a monocle doesn’t make you look as cool as you think.

 

Anyway, there will be none of this hipsterish nonsense at The Victoria tonight as it’s all about the rock fraternity making a bit of a stand with three of the linchpin bands of that genre appearing on the same bill. Headliners, The Damned and The Dirty effortlessly blend classic rock, grunge and dirty blues whilst Vanarin and The Starkers opt for a more Seattle sound, the latter with a healthy dash (excuse the ironic word play) of Libertines-esque garage indie.

 

The Beehive opts for another stalwart, this time with a blues grounding as Bob Bowles cooks up soulful vocals and dexterous guitar work.

 

A bit more to chose from on Friday and staying at The Beehive for a moment it’s the return of well loved king of the social club crooners, love guru, connoisseur of fine wines and marmalades and building contractor, Bill Smarme and his band, The Biznes, for some cheeky re-workings of well known songs and a real party show.

 

Out at Riffs Bar, the acoustic session features two great singer songwriters, Sam Lewis who has crossed musical genres and state lines to build a story and style that sits comfortable between the likes of Van Morrison and Willie Nelson. Sam Eason has a sound more home grown: sultry and tender, sometimes fractured, always optimistic. This is a couple of chaps that you really should catch live.

 

The raw edge of the Delta mixed with gritty rock and roll vibes can be found courtesy of The Blue Trees pictured) at The Rolleston but if you are looking for a night of familiar favourites then Penfold at The Victoria might be what you are looking for.

 

And whilst we are talking of covers and standards, Going Underground is playing as part of The Old Town Festival at The Lawn. The set will be ska and reggae hits and entry price includes a hog roast and a punch…err, I mean a glass of punch.

 

Not a lot of original music to be had on Saturday, maybe Russell Brand can come and preach a musical revolution on it’s behalf, talking very quickly in vague terms using words that haven’t been heard since Chaucer was knee high to a printing press. Maybe not. So apart from The Erin Bardwell Collective playing organ driven, 60’s ska and reggae styles at The Bandstand in Old Town and The AK-Poets playing the first of two shows this weekend at The Curriers Arms in Wootton Bassett (the other appearance being at The Moonrakers on Sunday) it’s all about old favourites and nostalgic musical jaunts.

 

The most interesting of the bunch for my money, not that you need money to get in as it’s a free show, is All Cramped Up at The Rolleston. Channelling the music of The Cramps, one of the bands that helped coin the term Psychobilly, they liberally plundered rockabilly, glam, garage rock, punk, blues and horror genre b-movies. Now that does sound worth a go.

 

Back to The Old Town Festival and you can catch classic rock from Broken Image and top function band Echo. More rock comes in the guise of State of Quo…no explanation required I hope, at The Victoria and rock and metal classics from Shepherds Pie at The Royal Oak.

It sometimes seems that these days there are as many sub-genres of rock music as there are bands themselves, as a music writer it takes a lot of keeping up with. To know your Gypsy Punk from your Krautrock, your Doom Metal from your Shoegaze or your Riot Grrrl from your Neo-Prog requires no small amount of homework. Tonight’s Songs of Praise show at The Victoria, however, can be summed up very simply, old school rock and roll, a trio of bands that both kick arse and cut the mustard. White Knuckle Bride revel in the sort of street rock that you associated with The Sunset Strip of the mid 80’s, big riffs, big choruses and a live performance charged with aggression and attitude. They are aided and abetted by current tour buddies, Burnthru and coming down from Derby to join them are sleaze merchants Bury the Ladybird (pictured). Rock and Roll it would seem is back on the menu.

 

If that doesn’t take your fancy then maybe some tongue in cheek country and/or western, for The Badass Cowboys play both types, might appeal. This ever-popular band will be at The Beehive and rather than try to describe the band I will let their album titles speak for themselves. Take Me Home Randy Rhodes; Born in the KFC and the truly inspired Portaloo Sunset, I think you get the idea of what they are about.

 

Friday can be summed up in the phrase “ from the sublime to the ridiculous.” For the sublime you should head up to the Arts Centre where violinist Miranda Dale and pianist Paul Turner will be performing not only that most quintessentially English piece, Vaughn Williams The Lark Ascending, but also music by this country’s other big names, Walton, Britten and of course Elgar.

 

At the other end of the spectrum we find ourselves back at The Beehive for Bill Smarme – king of the social club crooners, love guru, connoisseur of fine wines and marmalades, building contractor…apparently.

 

On a more even keel, The Victoria has a cracking line up featuring three of the bands to watch at the moment. The Icarus Youth do a neat line in alchemizing rock, urban and alternative sounds into a slick and quite brilliant final product and if bands such as The Post War Years or Two Door Cinema Club are your thing, then this is the place to be. But as if that wasn’t enough The Blood Choir bring their atmospheric and bleak soundscapes to life and the cinematic folk meets indie pop of Old Colours kicks the night off. Now that is one hell of a line up.

 

The big event for Saturday takes place at The Running Horse where they have gathered together their favourite acts from the past sessions to create The Acoustic Garden Festival, which does pretty much what it says on the tin. There are far too many bands to mention them all but with Faye Rogers, Alice Offley, Bateleurs, Coach and Billyjon on the bill, you can get an idea of the pedigree involved here.

 

Rock fans are going to be like kids in a sweet shop, as they have to choose between, original Status Quo drummer, John Coghlan at Riffs Bar, tributes to Muse and Iron Maiden at The Victoria and The Furnace respectively and some good old R’n’B at The Rolleston with Dickie Reed.

 

The Sabbath kicks up a couple of more chilled options. The aptly named Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Arts Centre is hosted by Mr Love and Justice, probably one of the most popular bands of the thriving “historical, socio-political, agri-folk, jangle- pop” scene. They are joined by the Jansch-esque Tim Graham and the soothing and ethereal tones of one of my favourite bands of the moment, Rumour Shed.

 

Other laidback serving suggestions are available at The Beehive under the enigmatic title of Incarnations of Matilda. Presumably this will be not only the usual Matilda display of harmony driven blends of folky piano jazz, but after a quick game of musical chairs will feature songs by Emily Sykes and Friends also. Two bands for the price of one, what a bargain.