Tag Archive: blood choir (the)


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.

This week might seem like a lull in the tsunami of musical delights that has engulfed the town of late, but believe me it is just a chance to get your breath back (and save up some more drinking money) before the summer really kicks in with a vengeance. But that’s not to say that amongst this week’s small but perfectly formed list of recommendations there aren’t a few real gems.

Such as at The Beehive tonight were the combined efforts of John Lewis and Jah-man Aggrey, better known as Two Man Ting, weave a magic tapestry of acoustic afro-pop and reggae rhythms which often includes a cover of Willi Williams classic Armagideon Time (punk fans with long memories or their parents record collections will recall this being the B-side to The Clash’s London Calling.)

More roots music farther up the hill with Roots Night at The Victoria with Jim from Hip Route heading the bill, which also contains the acoustic, harmony-fuelled, surf vibe and folk twist of Bournemouth trio Willowen.

The rock option to ease you into the weekend comes at STFC’s The Legends Lounge with an appearance from Limehouse Lizzy. I normally don’t big up the tribute acts but as this is one of the finest re-visits to the classic days of one of my all-time favourite bands – Thin Lizzy, it had to be done.

On Friday in support of their recent album release, The Blood Choir will be playing in Rise Records. Part Portishead atmospherics, part The National’s slow burn grooves and many parts literary references and poetic explorations, this is a great band. And if you like that then you might want to head up to The Victoria that evening for some more truly original bands. I managed to see the headline, Will and The People (pictured), when they were just getting going and they were great then, all reggae vibes youthful exuberance and brilliant moments of vocal harmonics that are shot through with the spirit of Teenage Fanclub or even The Beach Boys. Imagine how good they will be three years on from that.

Support is from Old Colours, cinematic, fragile, windswept and brilliant. In fact, find them online now, play the song Centre Line and try telling me it’s not only the most wonderfully fractured and beautifully layered soundscape you have heard in a long time…unless you actually have no soul.

Having dabbled with everything from space–rock to old-fashioned bogie blues, not to mentioned being touched by the hand of Hawkwind; it’s difficult to know what The Michael Burro Band will have on the menu. The only way to find out is to head along to The Beehive.

Saturday sees something for the young and the …err, not so young down on the corner of commercial road. Downstairs at The Furnace, Teenage Kicks will be offering up the best of the younger element. Rock and metal played out in the form of Wreckoning, Without Consequence, Brink of Reason and making their Swindon debut, The Faint and The Fallen. Meanwhile upstairs in The Rolleston it’s quiffs set to stun and time to dust off the brothel-creepers as psychobilly legends, The Corsairs hit town.

Something a bit more cultured takes place at the M.E.C.A. in the form of a two-course meal and entertainment by The Three Degrees, a group as big as they ever were despite having not boasted an original member since 1976.

One man who has really explored the roots of blues music is Ramon Goose. Having grown up on pre-war Delta Blues in 2010 he turned his attention to it’s West African origins spending time playing with musicians in Dakar and Senegal. The results of that trip and the album that captured its essence can be heard in The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

That evening back at The Rolleston, punk-popsters Disclosure will be mixing up the covers and original tunes in their own brilliant fashion and you never know if you talk to them nicely you might even bag a job as their new bassist.

Finally, Tuesday night Jazz at Baker Street will feature The Kevin Figes Quartet and guitar improviser extraordinaire, Mike Outram.