Tag Archive: built for comfort


thumbnailI know that everything works on supply and demand, even things in the cultural and artistic realms but looking at the sheer volume of rock bands playing in town this week, it might be nice if the powers that be tried something a little more diverse from time to time. I know it sells, I know it’s a form that is still popular but maybe instead of continuously underlining the past and looking back to nostalgic heydays it might be quite exciting to look to the future and help write the next chapter. Okay, change the record I hear you cry, ironically that is a good analogy for what I am proposing. Anyway, I’ve said enough.

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davesharpIt’s always nice to start the column with a bit of a bang, especially when the bang in question relates to a local lad made good. Tonight Gaz Brookfield returns to The Victoria, this time without the full band but with trusty sidekick Jake Martin in tow. A sort of folk-punk Robin to his acoustic guitar wielding Batman. Expect all usual mix of wit and wisdom, riotousness and reflection from both chaps and probably a bit of mixing and matching along the way. Opening the show is an acoustic set from Raze*Rebuild who prove that even their skyscaping and glorious songs can be stripped back into sleeker and more considered forms if the need arises.

The Beehive also has old friends returning to them, in their case Built For Comfort, a band who will transport you to a back street blues bar in an alternate America where Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans exist in close proximity and whose signature sounds they play perfect tribute to.

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40922994_1038122389702686_5504215381138472960_oSome weeks this town is blessed with big name acts travelling through the parish boundaries, other times there are a few new and interesting options passing through from further afield and sometimes we are find wonderful blasts from the past in our midsts. This week though is mainly a real celebration of the bands that keep the local circuit alive. You will know most of the names, you have probably seen many before but as a show case of just how vibrant the local scene is and just how many great home grown bands we have, this week acts as the perfect showcase.

I say mainly as tonight offers a few options from across the county line and the most unusual of them can be found at The Victoria. Siblings of Us (pictured) are a band undergoing a transformation moving from the most mercurial and jagged two-piece synth wave band topped off with Bee Gee-esque vocals into the most mercurial and jagged three-piece electro-rock band…with Bee Gee-esque vocals. Reventure and Xadium also bring new ideas to the rock format.

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30440996_1777185609007161_522701509947817984_oAnother fairly quiet week around town, musically speaking, unless I’m missing something and if I am then please let me know, this column is only as relevant as the information that is readily available, so feel free to get in touch. It does, however, leave me room to wish happy birthday to the most excellent Rosanne Cash, eldest daughter of American music icon Johnny and herself an award winning musician and writer. If your record collection doesn’t contain a copy of her fantastic album Interiors, then your life will be all the poor for it until you rectify that situation.

And talking of splendid Americans, Keegan McInroe is back in town tonight. A true wandering minstrel, he weaves old country sounds, bluesy vibes and timeless folk heritage into songs which are as poetic as they are poignant. Catch him and usually a few familiar faces from the great and good of local music, or failing that the adequate and available, at The Beehive tonight.

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27503378_1049985821809631_747397107544723842_o.jpgIt’s a controversial issue for sure and at the risk of sounding like one of these music snobs that you always hear about, I am going to raise the point anyway. You could consider covers and tributes as the mass entertainment of the live gigging circuit and original music as the way to ensure that things keep moving forward. Both are required. The former largely keeps venues and music pubs in business these days, the latter feeds into the wider music system and bigger, further flung venues to keep musical evolution a going concern. I only mention this because this week I have been unable to find many original gigs to fill this column and that does beg the question that without that input of new creativity what does the future look like? Is new music taking place outside the traditional live venue circuit? Are we locked into a rose-tinted era of comfort and familiarity? Where will new music come from if not the small, grassroots venues? Enough speculation, on to business.

Blues is on the menu at The Beehive tonight as Built For Comfort offer up the sound of traditional Chicago blues with a few detours through the Memphis and New Orleans scene, expect sultry guitars, organ flourishes (steady) and some solid grooving music. Also following a traditional route but this time down an English folk pathway Splat The Rat take rustic songs from the days of yore and update them for the modern audience at The Victoria.

The one totally original show I could find this week takes place at The Tuppenny and features the welcome return of Phil Cooper (pictured) as he promotes his most excellent and highly recommended new album Thoughts and Observations. He blends the likes of Crowded House and David Gray’s deft pop through his own enlightening songs. Also on the bill is Sarah C. Ryan and her own take on folk and roots infused guitar pop.

Friday sees two helpings of old-school rock for your enjoyment. Firstly at The Victoria Rorke’s Drift and Black Rose line up a set of iconic numbers from the halcyon days of the genre delivered with all the power and the glory of those original bands. Those of a less nervous disposition might wish to head over to The Swiss Chalet for a slice of The Chaos Brothers. They aim to “play the Three Chords of Freedom to an unsuspecting and largely uncaring world” but the reality is that they generally play punk, rock, glam and metal to a rowdy and drunken gathering.

If something smoother and more considered is required then The Soul Man at The Grove’s Company Inn is the gig for you, especially if the golden age of soul, Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, The Drifters and the like is your cup of honeyed sonic tea. The Ultimate Band bring the wide appeal of the function band and a diverse and infectious mix of music to The Queen’s Tap whilst Monkey Dolls at The Castle play songs which you probably know but are less likely to hear from your average cover band.

Nuttyness pay tribute to Camden Town’s finest skanking, 2-tone revivalists, Madness, at The Victoria on Saturday so expect a night of ska-pop fun and frolics and all the hits and iconic songs that you know and love. Also playing some groovesome and accessible tunes is Felix and the Funk who will be filling the Haydon Wick Club with all the iconic sonic moments from funk (natch) pop, soul, reggae, dance and disco. Rugs will be cut, wigs will be flipped and dance floors filled.

Funk and rock pair up at The Queen’s Tap as Patsy Gamble and Wishbone Ash’s Muddy Manninen mix up groove, blues, funk, rock and soul into covers and originals at The Queen’s Tap as they lead Hipkiss through their musical moves, Penfold break out the party tunes at The Castle and Stripped take things down a notch or two with acoustic renditions of all your favourites at The Manor.

The Coleview Community Centre starts two days of music with Locarno Beat’s 60’s hits package followed by Get Carter’s pop rock and indie covers on Sunday. Also on Sunday The Revolvers will be bringing a touch of ska to The Duke of Edinburgh.

sweetchunks-band-800x450Thursday, as always, is the night for original music and one of the most interesting line-ups to have graced the parish in a while can be found at The Tuppenny. The Blunderbuss Press is a strange and quixotic duo who blend Old World alt-folk with New World quirky Americana and sing songs whose lyrics wouldn’t seem out of place on a Bonzo Dog Band album. Support comes from Cursor Major, a band whose accessible indie-pop meets post-punkery has graced Swindon as a full band in the past but who will be rendering their songs into more a manageable, stripped back form on this occasion. If you want wonky pop and the sort of indie music which isn’t checking its hair in the mirror every ten minutes, then this is the show for you.

Indie of a more fashionable form can be found at The Victoria as a whole host of local movers and shakers line up behind This Feeling’s club night. These nights are aimed at bringing the newest and most happening bands to a wider audience and before This Feeling resident DJ’s remind us of great music past, it is the turn of those bands seeking to join that list. The Sulks paint with a wide, almost neo-psychedelic, sonic palette whilst Shore and GETRZ both thread some deft post-punk references through forward thinking takes on widescreen indie.

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24130205_1950731681846354_9002837223731552477_oTo those who think that Swindon is one of those places always a bit behind the curve when it comes to embracing new, breaking music, what if it were to host an act which sounds like Jake Bugg’s angrier little brother fronting a super group made up of members of Catfish & The Bottlemen, Arctic Monkeys and Queens Of The Stone Age? Well, that is pretty much what you will get if you head to The Victoria tonight to catch Chay Snowdon. It’s only his second UK tour but much like the 14856 people who bang on about being at the Ed Sheeran gig at the same venue back in the day, you can also be one of those people with a smug “I remember when…” anecdote. Support comes from a couple of choice selections from the new wave of local indie, The Basement Club and The Substitutes.

If something of a more acoustic nature is required, two options raise their heads. At The Beehive you will find Barney Newman and his raw edged and rootsy, backwoods blends of folk and blues, whilst at The Tuppenny Lewis Clark returns for a solo show also pushing a folk and blues ticket but heading down a more Dylan, Van Morrison route. Lewis is joined by Nick Felix, one of the most popular solo players on the local circuit and purveyor of all things musically heartfelt, thoughtful and emotive.

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23915811_1391658700943276_7420597230954476500_nWe live in polarising times, the world seems a very divided place, walls are replacing bridges and there seems to be an increasingly entrenched view of creed and culture moving across the world. Thankfully music has always had the ability to cross borders, whether real or metaphorical, to cross-pollinate with existing forms and to evolve into new ones. Tonight you will find two acts that are the perfect example of this global village creativity.

Firstly at The Victoria tonight you will find local stalwarts Mr Love and Justice who have a wonderful way of weaving timeless folk music and regional narratives together with a more acid laced 60’s pop vibe. Songs of love and Haight in a musical landscape  that stretches from West Kennett to the West Coast of California.

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548800_428930193833165_1291860355_nYou may well remember him from The Hoax. You may have seen him playing with Joel Fisk or as part of the four guitar super group The Boom Band. You may have even seen him as a member of DVL or fronting his own titular blues outfit. Well, tonight at The Victoria you can catch Jon Amor (pictured)playing as the Gods of Music intended it. Solo, acoustic and intimate. So expect something a bit special as one of Britain’s best blues players comes to town. Support comes from Mike Barham who will regale you with tales of cider swilling student days and Jack Moore opens the night.

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14237746_306801709685258_7561015600740853012_nOne thing about writing this column is that people don’t seem to have any fear of voicing an opinion as to how I could do it a lot better. But criticism is healthy and it has been pointed out to be that I do tend to favour the music that appeals to my own tastes rather than cover a wider spectrum of formats. So, heading into a new year seemed the natural place to bring a new modus operandi to the gig guide and like Trump, Brexit and Teresa May give the majority what they asked for, irrespective of my own personal preferences. So here is to a new, more inclusive guide to music venues and all their activities, subject, of course, to me being able to find said information online.

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