Tag Archive: bruise


251026_474397722648292_1275993545_nRock fans should be fairly happy this week with a higher than average quota of gigs coming from their favoured genres, but that is not to say that between the louder and more shouty selections there aren’t a few other styles being well represented and at least one iconic act crossing the parish boundary as well.

 

We The Deceiver lay generically midway between Post-Hardcore and Djent (which I have to admit I thought was a small town in Tunisia, but which is actually a gnarly, muted, low-end guitar driven style) so expect their set at The Victoria tonight to be filled with thunderous grooves, intense riffs and bombastic beats. Local support comes in the form of Roads To Nowhere, a similarly uncompromising onslaught of extreme and brutal sounds.

 

As if to balance the extremes of that gig, Keith Thompson plays The Beehive in solo mode. Rootsy, southern fried blues blending effortlessly with more homegrown influences to great effect.

 

Friday at Riffs Bar sees rock on the menu, this time from Clay Gods, a band who weave dark atmospherics, gritty grooves and lyrics equally at home delivering rock standard street sleaze as they are thought-provoking philosophizing. Joining them on the bill is The Dirty Smooth, who write tunes hard enough for the boys to rock out to, but sweet enough for the girls to dance to, and the blues fuelled alt-rock of Four Dead Crows.

 

More solid rocking options can be found at The Rolleston as Hot Flex deliver classic heavy rock and metal covers and the mercurial Bruise make a welcome return to The Beehive. Imagine the song writing sensibilities of Joni Mitchell, the dynamics and production values of Genesis and the epic pop of The Eurythmics and you only start to get a feel for what this amazing duo have to offer.

 

A Songs of Praise occasional Friday show is also to be found at The Victoria where White Lilac headline. They may look familiar, having evolved from Faye Rogers and her band but the sound is a whole quantum leap into new musical territory. The pastoral folksiness has been swapped for chiming guitars, brooding cello, distant crashing percussion, sonorous saxophones and a whole wash of gothic beauty and post punk edginess. It’s a musical transformation that you need to hear…and indeed see, to believe. Joining them is the sweeping dynamic soundscape of Familiars (pictured), a more chilled, piano driven White Lies perhaps and the shoegaze referencing but up to the moment indie of Coco Esq.

 

Saturday sees the icon I mentioned hit the stage as multi-million selling recording artist and award-winning actress, Barbara Dickson plays The Wyvern Theatre.

 

Beans on Toast may be seen to be an icon to some, albeit in a more niche and under-the-counter-culture sort of way. He brings his incisive and hung-over musical take on modern life to The Victoria before heading off to the States to play with Irish punk-folk exiles Flogging Molly. He brings with him someone you will all by now be familiar with (if not why not?) Gaz Brookfield, our very own slice of poor boy makes good and purveyor of charismatic, heartfelt and infectious songs. Ben Wiltshire and Sophie Brown get the night started.

 

Explosive, raucous, boozy, sweary and unpredictable music can be found at The Rolleston as The Hamsters From Hell celebrate their 30th Birthday Bash, probably not what your significant other had in mind as an option for St Valentines Day, but certainly a real test of a relationship. Support comes from 2 Sick Monkeys.

 

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon sessions hosted by Mr Love and Justice are now being held at The Central Library and this month they have a couple of very special acts for you. Local roots collective S’Go mix up folk, blues and country styles with more eclectic gypsy jaunts, shanty shindigs, café jazz and everything in between. Also appearing are Lightgarden a band whose celtic jigs and eastern vocal tones are a beautiful mix of orient and occident.

 

Finally, The Roaring Donkeys Wednesday offer to break up the working week comes with a stripped back show from Kitchen Sink Dramas; poignant social comment meets infectious musicianship, wit and wisdom all in one place.

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.

Library - 121Review by PfalzDxii

Last night I saw Bruise play the Beehive again. Bruise like playing the Beehive. Bruise like the fact that Wiltshire folk are known as Moonrakers. I know this because I was there, and they said so. Bruise played an absolute blinder of a gig. I love the music of Bruise. I love watching them live. Last night they were on fire.

When Bruise come to Swindon, they come as a two piece band. Sometimes they play an acoustic first set, with an electric second set. On these occasions they both play acoustic guitar, whilst singing. For the second set however, they become electric. Electric in more than one sense of the word. Isobel and Jim, are, Bruise. Isobel and Jim are a married couple. This very fact adds a spice to many of Isobel’s glorious songs, with personal anecdotes and much emotion. Isobel plays a six string electric guitar whilst Jim plays drums and is in control of a sample pad. Sometimes they play both sets, electric. This is what we were privileged to see and hear last night.

So, an electric band with one guitar and drums. And no, the drum kit doesn’t look complete either. But I have seen them before. I know what they can do. I know how much effort they will put in, and before long the pub is rocking to sounds that would shame some much larger bands. To do this, both Isobel and Jim throw in all their enthusiasm, energy, and love into their fantastically exciting music. All original songs with the exception of Silver Machine. The band’s ethics though are of quality. The playing, no matter how fast, slow, with or without singing, is simply superb. They achieve what so many aspire to. They achieve a kind of perfection, a seemingly simple goal, yet for most, totally unattainable. As they both strain every nerve and muscle to squeeze every last nuance of musicality and inflection of voice, quality is everything. Isobel’s singing is a joy. Isobel was, and is, a folk singer of the very finest stature. She doesn’t stint when it comes to singing rock. Jim complements with his own fine vocals, and with drumming that literally doesn’t miss a beat regardless of complexity. At times drumming on the rims for effect, and always to perfection, and never over done.

Not only are they a brilliant band, but they are fun. So much fun!!! There is laughter. There is interaction with the audience. The small but very lucky audience was quite vocal in its appreciation. This seemed to spur Bruise on and on. What fantastic music, crescendos building, as with “Mr Rat”, a favourite of mine. This, Jim dedicated to me. He has done this before. Bruise are the only band that could do that to me and leave me laughing. I have a small core of artists and bands I think of as favourites. These are the ones that lift my spirits to a higher plateau during the performance, and leave them there for days afterwards. On these occasions I can’t sleep when I return home because I am still on a musical high. Bruise are, for me, one such band. I don’t play an instrument. I don’t read or compose music. On these occasions I wish I did. Oh what must it be like for brilliant musicians such as these to share their talents? I am glad they do. Isobel and Jim are quality. They are original. They are fun. They respect their music, their audience, and each other. This really is more in way of a thank you, rather than a review. Thank you Isobel and Jim, and as you said yourselves, thank you Andy for having us regularly at the Beehive. If you Google the word, Bruise, you may regret it, so instead, Google the words, Bruise UK band. You should then find them.

It was a magical evening, but as both Isobel and Jim are so much more succinct than I will ever be, here is the message Jim left on his Facebook a few hours after the gig. “My word. We was on FIRE tonight! Tight, groovy, passionate, intense, sexy… A really nice gig.”

 

Library - 117I was amused to read today that the entire life and career of Phil Collins has been revealed to be an elaborate hoax. The man we believed to be Collins is in fact satirist  Murgatroyd Trole, who hatched the plan in the mid sixties. An anonymous acquaintance, worried that he was never going to get his cut of the escalating scam, revealed to the press today that Trole wanted to create a shambolic, goblin-like figure and see just how far he could take it, and it seems to have worked like a charm; platinum albums, film roles and even a rap tribute album (you would have thought that would have aroused suspicion!) Trole’s other equally ambitious scams recently revealed include Heart fm, Chris Huhne’s driving licence, the entire cast of Made in Chelsea, the body of Richard III and a large capacity venue in Swindon town centre.

 

However if you want something more honest, look no further than The Victoria tonight for a bit of a special gig. Super Squarecloud have been at the forefront of a wonderful musical resurgence in this town over the last couple of years and it is with a heavy heart that we announce that this will be multi-instrumentalist and semi-professional pan basher Chris’s last show before heading off to see the world. His musical skills are widely believed by faith healers to hold miraculous powers – he once made a blind man deaf – but please head along anyway to give him a great send off. Also on the bill are Million Faces, yet another talented bunch from the musical Mecca of Witney (see Hats: cross reference Black for more details) and a slightly rejigged line up for The Light Grenades.

 

If blues is you thing then The Beehive is the place to be. Kent DuChaine has listened to, hung out with, opened up for, travelled and played with most of the great blues men and women throughout his whole adult life. So if the authentic blues sound channelled through a 1930’s National Steel guitar ticks your boxes, you know where to be.

 

Staying at The Beehive and the amazing Bruise (pictured) drop in on Friday a band of which the word eclectic is truly deserved as they weave folk, grunge, jazz, indie and full on psychedelic wig outs around Natalie Merchant-esque vocals.

 

If you threw poetic intelligent underground pop, melodic rock and fairly straight edged prog (i.e. no keyboard players dressed as wizards or 50 minute drum solos) into a blender then the resulting smoothy would taste like Godsticks. Drink in their wonderful music at Riffs Bar, also on Friday.

 

In keeping with The Furnace’s policy of pushing their musical remit to a wider audience, Sonic Boom Six are just what is needed. Taking ska, pop, grime, dubstep, punk and metal apart and splicing them back together to create interesting new mutations, this band are truly doing something unique. Also helping to define the clubs new scope is LaFontaines a pop, rock and hip-hop quintet who have come charging out of the industrial wastelands of central Scotland. Under the Influence and Attention Thieves get things started.

 

The Furnace is the place to be on Saturday also as Post 12, Full On, Tides of Change and Days On Juno playing a Stand Up To Cancer fundraising gig. Meanwhile upstairs in The Rolleston, it is all about Neo-Rockabilly and Rock and Roll with Red Hot Trio.

 

Sunday, this weekend anyway, is not the day of rest as there is a lot of great stuff happening that afternoon. The Lazy Sunday Afternoon sessions in the FoSAC studio at The Arts Centre feature your usual hosts Mr Love and Justice, heartfelt folk from Isobel Priestley and melodic acoustic rock from Pete Taylor. Meanwhile down the road, Kola Koca play The Beehive; expect, folk, rock, pop and blues mixed and matched with universal truths, political rants, kitchen sink dramas and the odd serpent.

 

Those seeking Culture Corner will find it back at The Arts Centre where Adriana Beaumont-Thomas plays some of Chopin’s most romantic and poignant pieces. Chopin of course is best known for the Orange free mobile Internet advert, Heineken (2007) and that really nice bit in Halo 3. Innit?

 

Ending at our usual terminus, we arrive at The Running Horse Sessions on Wednesday. Benji Clements does a lovely line in soulful covers, cross genre mash-ups and wonderful original compositions. Drew Bryant is also on the bill but such is his on line presence that I have no idea what to tell you about him.

My ongoing quest for new music got me thinking the other day about just how original, original bands really are. I know I have a bit of a reputation for giving cover bands a difficult ride, so maybe it is time to look at the other side of the coin. Most of the previous decades have had their own iconic movements, the psychedelic sixties, the punk/post punk seventies, the hip-hop eighties and the rave nineties. Since then it’s been more difficult to identify any new defining movements. The last ten years or so seems to have been more about a nostalgic recycling of former glories. Ironically, retro seems to be the way forward, bands seem destined to be born of their parents record collections. Modern scenes worship at the temples to past movements, be it garage-punk, vintage soul, synth-pop or what ever, it still begs a few questions for the future of music. Where is the next musical frontier to be broken? Will pop eat itself? Does rock music end not with a bang but with a boxed set whose fourth disc you never get round to playing? Food for thought!

 

If you are going to mix up recognisable genres into interesting new musical shapes, then you should take note of James Warner Prophecies (pictured) who play The Victoria tonight.  Alchemising everything from hard rock to ska, music hall to grunge, punked up folk to out and out pop; familiar building blocks maybe but brilliant new interpretations nonetheless. They are supporting The Street Orphans who do similar sterling work re-treading the musical tires of the indie-rock vehicle. Also on the bill is Go Lazarus who fashion a neat line in atmospheric alternative rock.

 

Unapologetically playing that nostalgia card I mentioned earlier, Count Bobo and The Bullion tap into an authentic ska vibe reminiscent of The Skatelites or the legendary Prince Buster. They can be found at The Beehive.

 

Folk is on the cards over at Riffs Bar.  Albion host their monthly outing that aims to recreate the same vibe as the sixties revivalists who created the Greenwich Village scene in New York. If you are looking for somewhere to try out your songs, immerse yourself in the folk scene or just chill out and hear some good music then this is the place to be.

 

The stand out act for Friday is appearing at The Beehive and again create unique songs from recognisable building blocks. Bruise are a strange art house folk rock band with the shadow of The Eurythmics looming large over them and a hint of prog throwing wonderful spanners in the works. And that is only the half of it.

 

The Riffs Bar website announces a “ A new monthly metal night showcasing the best in original metal from around the country.” Sadly it fails to list any of the bands that are being showcased so I can’t really say too much more on that one.

 

After that originality is a bit thin on the ground though I must just mention that The Victoria is playing host to a Stone Roses tribute, not because I am necessarily enthralled with tribute acts but because even after all this time these particular Mancunian candidates remain high up in my estimation. If you don’t believe me just check out my “I am the Resurrection to replace the National Anthem” Facebook page.

 

I can’t seem to find one band for Saturday that pushes any envelopes, or even nips down the post office for a book of stamps for that matter. (Okay I know it’s not that sort of envelope…I’ve read Tom Wolfe thank you very much) So lets fast-forward to Sunday afternoon at The Beehive.

 

Peter Jagger mixes up finger picked folk, Americana and blues with some wonderfully poignant and political lyrics. His view on the whole originality thing can be summed up in his quote “ I can’t see the point of driving 200 miles to sing Losing My Religion to people who will only listen if you sing Losing my Religion.” I know what you mean sir.

 

The Art Centre on Monday has rock and roll survivors Wishbone Ash. Just to avoid confusion this is the Andy Powell fronted version of the band rather than the Martin Turner fronted band that are also currently touring. Blimey, it’s like Yes all over again.

 

And finally a mention for The Stripped Back Sessions at The Victoria on Tuesday, a mixture of music in its simplest and purest forms plus the artists themselves explaining the meanings behind and reasons for their songs. This time featuring War of Roses, Reg Meuross and Ali Finneran.

This week’s Sounds Around Town link