Tag Archive: blox (the)


149371_10152435420009290_5033964773938942595_nWith a record number of, mainly, original music gigs taking place this week, I am going to forego the usual meandering introduction and just jump straight in. And I’ll start at The Victoria, the main cause of such a glut of new music descending on the town. Tonight is the first night of Vic-Fest, a four-day celebration of original bands, each night curated by a different local promoter and varying in its target audience.

 

Laura Kidd aka She Makes War played for Songs of Praise as a solo act getting on for a year ago and now as part of her national tour she brings the full band show back into town. Her breathtakingly honest gloom-pop, distils a creative punk spirit and is the perfect headline for this night of alternative sounds. Tour support, Forgery Lit add a dirty, grunge blues to the night and the alt-country punk of Coasters will be lapped up by fans of such bands as The Gaslight Anthem.

 

Whether you catch Robert Brown fronting Smouldering Sons or solo, as he is tonight at The Beehive, there is so much to enjoy in the blends of Americana, blues rock and folky vibes that dance around this musical creations.

 

Friday at The Victoria and Fairview Promotions take us down a reggae path. Backbeat Soundsystem take a traditional reggae vibe, inject it with funk, dub and ska and then kick it up into a higher gear to create a bass driven party groove. Festival favourites Dub The Earth and King Solomon Band deliver fresh takes on the genre and openers The Nomarks offer a more ska based set to kick off the night.

 

Back at The Beehive and the folk ‘n’ roll of The Model Folk, a beautiful cacophony of wheezing harmonium, scratchy washboard, throbbing double bass and various acoustica, create a very different, but just as brilliant, party soundtrack. Midway between those two venues, some wonderful singer-songwriter sets can be had at The Regent courtesy of Drew Bryant and Nick Felix and if classic rock and metal standards are more your thing, then Bad Obsession at The Rolleston is the gig for you.

 

Day three at The Victoria, or Saturday as the rest of us call it, really steps things up a gear and showcases the best new bands at the harder end of rock. It’s always a pleasure to watch The Manic Shine (pictured) not just for their technical expertise and the sheer infectiousness of their songs, but also because they manage to give a lesson in stage performance than many bands would be wise to take note of. They are joined by Vault of Eagles who play a wonderfully primal brand of twisted rock that falls somewhere between The Bad Seeds and P J Harvey. Punk and metal fuse together in The Graphic’s warped art attacks (check out their video The Kid….do it now!) and local support comes from local rising stars, Ghost of Machines and stalwarts The Starkers.

 

It is quite apt that in a week that marked 15 years since we lost the lyrical genius, singer, artist, actor and madman, Ian Dury, that The Blox, a tribute to his years fronting The Blockheads, are playing at The Rolleston. Expect all the caustic wit and kitchen sink wisdom, not to mention exceptional musicianship that made the original band so…well, original.

If you are after something altogether more funky then, Funk’daMental play funk and disco classics at The Swiss Chalet and the after party tunes can be found at Level 3 as Beats and Bars mixes live acts with DJ’s to showcase the best of the current wave of hip-hop acts.

 

Sunday at The Victoria rounds off with a night of metal courtesy of Dredded Vyrus. Main act Skreamer manage to combine the grandeur and pomp of classic metal with the primal growl and speed of its current direction whilst Antoinette offer a more contemporary post-metalcore sound. Belial and Ursus open the night’s proceedings.

 

It’s blues and R’n’B (the boogie guitar sort not the lip synched, dance routine sort) all the way with Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and punk, ska and new wave covers are to be found at The Swiss Chalet with Operation ’77.

 

At The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday hosts ex-Haiku frontman Phil Cooper and his Neil Finn comparable musical earworms with a rare, short set from the mercurial Adam Crosland to kick the night off.

1394432_639689642740457_554281832_nAnother quiet week in the Grand Duchy of Swindon, I guess the good weather means that many people are opting for back garden barbeques or at least the back garden of a pub rather than being confined to dark, sweaty, side rooms to watch bands play. Good news for those who want to work on their tan: bad news for working bands. Bad news for Goths for that matter.  You have to feel sorry for the old school goth in this weather… not the modern, nu-metal evolved contemporary goth who still thinks that Marilyn Manson and The Crow is the alpha and omega of the genre. I’m talking about the early eighties survivors. The ones in DMs and drainpipe jeans, Interview with a Vampire style frilly white shirt, eyeliner and Max Factor Porcelain face foundation for that recently deceased look. It must be difficult playing five a side football with your Ray-Bans on in an attempt to look like Wayne Hussey. I always think that if the temperature gets too high they will spontaneously combust or go into the whole “I’m melting” routine like the Wicked Witch of the West. Still, full marks for effort.

 

Sadly nothing remotely of that genre on this week, but there is a clash of great original music on the northern slopes of Old Town tonight. At The Beehive, Bruise (pictured) will be regaling the crowds with their wonderful cross-pollination of Joni Mitchell-esque folk, Eurythmic power-pop and a whole bunch of strange prog-rock meanderings. Believe me it will be like nothing that you have heard before.

 

In the blue corner, as it were, are Weatherstorms; atmospheric, sensual, dance tinged vibes and tonight performed stripped back and acoustic by main man James Cameron, a face you will recognise from such great acts as Old School Tie and Sam Green and The Midnight Heist. That’s at The Victoria.

 

And talking of acoustic sets, The Rolleston has Boot Led Zeppelin Acoustic, a band that none other than Sharleen Spiteri from Texas described as sounding “amazing.”

 

Friday’s big offering is seminal doo-wop group The Drifters at The Wyvern Theatre. Known for iconic songs such as Up On The Roof and Under The Boardwalk the band have survived through many incarnations but the reason for their longevity (61 years and counting) will be obvious from the first note.

 

And if the sound of 50’s New York is not to your taste, how about the timeless sounds of The Delta as The Blue Trees evoke haunting blues and a southern fried rock groove at The Beehive. More Americana at The Victoria with Cash, a tribute to the man in black himself and even speaking as someone who is not big on country music or tribute bands, this band are amazing.

 

At The Rolleston Lewis Creavan and his band will be firing off a salvo of songs from such icons as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and many more.

 

A full day of music is on offer on Saturday at The Swindon Town Football Club Legends Lounge to raise money for The Prospect Hospice and Ruby’s fat Cow Fund.  Acts include A Way With Words, Sahara Heights, 8 Minutes Later, The Illustrations and many more so check their website for full details.

 

The rest of Saturday is in the hands of standard bearers and those offering tribute. At The Victoria Felix and The Funk play floor fillers from Daft Punk to Chic and from James Brown to Jamiroquai. It’s old school ska, punk and new wave at Riffs Bar with Going Underground and at The Woodlands Edge it’s The Shoo Flies who describe themselves as a “unique covers band” which to me is quite an ironic turn of phrase, but that’s just me.

 

Bit of a treat at The Victoria on Tuesday as Brian Hogan brings Preachers Son to The Victoria. Not only does the band draw comparisons to early Thin Lizzy and the demented approach of The Jon Spenser Blues Explosion but also Brian has worked with everyone from Irish folk giants Kila (one of my highlights of a dim and distance Womad Festival) to Gavin Friday, Sinead O’Connor and even U2.

 

And as if one great Irish band isn’t enough for you, a more traditional offering from the Emerald Isle comes in the form of Patrick Street at the Arts Centre which features former members of The Bothy Band, De Dannan, Planxty and Van Morrison’s Band.

4594960091_299x196I have to start this week with an apology. A couple of weeks ago I used this column to try to make a point about the amount of easily available gig information when trying to compile a guide such as this. Although the nature of the comments were intended to be tongue in cheek hyperbole, exaggeration used to make a point, it has been pointed out to me that I may have pitched the article slightly unfairly. In the case of Baker Street I agree that my comments were inaccurate and any lack of information in this column regarding gigs taking place at the venue is a failing on my part and not the venue itself or the promoter who arranges those shows. I therefore apologise for the comments made and any upset they have caused to those involved with these bookings. Right humble pie eaten, down to business.

 

At The Victoria tonight is a band whose return seems to have created a bit of a buzz around the online hangouts of the discerning music fan. The headline act at tonight’s Songs of Praise show features Case Hardin, a brilliant Americana five piece that match the emotive song writing of Springsteen with the alt-country authenticity of Whiskeytown. Support comes from the wonderfully atmospheric, delicate tones of Rumour Shed and emerging new band Timid Deer open the night with their timeless folk sound.

 

Other rootsy offerings are also available in the shape of Hiproute who bring their fired up and funked out, acoustic blues to The Beehive. However if rock is more your thing then you may wish to head out to Riffs Bar for some high octane rock and low-fi punk with Shock Hazard and Diagonal People respectively.

 

The big name for Friday is The Brompton Mix (pictured) , a melting pot of classic 60’s melodies, punk spirit, Weller-esque style, a dash of early Oasis and a whole bunch of stage presence and charisma. They are at The Victoria. For something more tripped out and leftfield, head to The Beehive where you will be treated to the psychedelic blues, progressive song structures, old school rock and roll grooves, modern sampling, spoken word and manic shoegazy guitar wig outs of The Automaniacs. What’s not to like?

 

The Rolleston has The Pre-Fab four…a tribute to the Beatles, obviously, and out at Riffs Bar, the Acoustic Sessions feature the warm folk sounds of Ethemia with support from Rob Richings.

If you are looking for original music on Saturday then it is back to Riffs Bar with Talk in Code’s blend of stadium synth and anthemic guitar sounds, dance grooves and pop sensibility. They are joined by the low sung Americana of Newquay Times, the brash alt-rock of Away With Words and the acoustic duo, The Consuelas. They all play in aid of Animal Asia charity.

 

Elsewhere it is tributes to Green Day at The Victoria, Ian Dury and The Blockheads at The Rolleston and at The Swiss Chalet Broken Image play a selection of iconic classic rock numbers.

 

With the day of rest, that’s Sunday to you and me, comes some more relaxing musical moments. The Lazy Sunday afternoon at The Arts Centre, the regular fixture curated by Mr. Love and Justice, is host to two great players. Ed Hanfrey, once of the ubiquitous Lavington Bound, is now ploughing a very traditional folk furrow of storytelling lyrics and shanty stylings, whilst Tamsin Quin plays a more contemporary folk music often with a bluesy edge. Your hosts for the session offer their usual mix of social comment and slick pop folk.

 

Culture vultures should note that on Tuesday, Baker Street open their doors to Balanca Quintet, a Latin Jazz outfit of some renown led multi lingual singer and percussionist, Cathy Jones. The band also features the talents of tenor saxophonist Kevin Figes, best know for his work with big band Resonation.

 

The week rounds off with two options on acoustic music on Wednesday with Dick Cadbury appearing at The Roaring Donkey and The Crown offering Charlie Anne and Ben Cipolla.