Tag Archive: calico jack


10850275_1508642422743307_3346557062355699842_nTomorrow is one of those days that resonate throughout history. On May 8th, 70 years ago, the world woke up to a Europe finally at peace after the ravages of war. Sixteen years before that The St Valentines Day Massacre made world headlines and more latterly, completing the cycle of world shaking deeds, in 1972, Ian “H” Watkins of Steps infamy was born, so it is obviously a date which is tied in with important historical events. Also tomorrow we will wake up to learn the fate of the next five years in the running of this country. But tonight we party. Thankfully, this weekend whether celebrating the result or drowning your sorrows there is no shortage of great sounds to do it to.

 

Those opting for a bit of a shindig should look no further than The Victoria tonight as Bite The Buffalo bring their “stomping, coffin blues” to town and show just why recent years have seen them play such festivals as SXSW and supports to none other than Robert Plant. Fresh out of the box, 2 piece The Harlers continue to re-connect with dirty blues-rock memories and openers The Johnstown Flood add grunge and warped guitars to the blues template.

 

At The Wheatsheaf, Darren Hodge deals in a gentler but no less mesmerising take on the same genre; an ear for tradition and some outstanding finger-picking dexterity are the order of the day and he is joined by the loved-up folk harmonies of Ethemia plus the elemental imagery and sounds of Drew Bryant. Sitting between the two, a funky blend of acoustic and gritty blues is Jim Blair who can be found at The Beehive.

 

And if Thursday had a heavy blues undercurrent, Friday takes a folkier stance. Firstly at The Beehive with Calico Jack (pictured), a band whose distinctive canal boat-folk blends gypsy jive, carnival chaos and shanty shenanigans to create twisted fairy tales and worlds of dark enchantment. For a punkier take on the genre, Mick O’Toole can be found at The Rolleston. Theirs is a howling banshee of a show in the tradition of Flogging Molly or Greenland Whalefishers, so if the idea of a sonic wall of aggressive accordion, mutilating mandolin lines and belligerent banjo forming the front line of a folk-punk onslaught sounds like your cup of cider, then this is the show for you.

 

At The Victoria, Buswell’s brand of indie-pop meets chamber folk will be providing the venue with sweeping majestic sounds not to mention some logistical headaches as the orchestral wing of this band often pushes the stage set up into double figures. Support comes from the lush dynamics and dark atmospherics of White Lilac and opening the show is the man known as Last Box of Sparklers and his hushed and fleeting, Nordic indie sounds. Incendiary blues-rock classics are delivered with spellbinding dexterity at The Queens Tap courtesy of The Lewis Creaven Band.

 

As usual, Saturday is the bastion of nostalgia, reminisence and the tried and tested (all of which could actually be names of cover bands themselves) but that doesn’t mean that they rock any less. In fact, out at Riffs Bar, the hardest partying band in town take the stage. Enjoy their set of rock, pop and indie classics, just don’t try matching them drink for drink at the bar afterwards.

 

Also rocking out like a good ‘un, The Sex Pissed Dolls, pun their way into level 3 to deliver a set of rock, ska and punk standards and at The Brookhouse Farm (moved from The Woodlands Edge) it’s the last chance to catch The Beat Holes before they return home to Italy. Imagine if The Beatles had formed out of the punk melting pot of 1976’s London squat scene and also liked to listen to heavy metal. Intrigued? Check them out, they are brilliant.

 

Other options are 1000 Planets punk, goth and alternative sounds at The Rolleston, power-pop, mod and soul from Peloton at The Swiss Chalet and vintage classic rock from Mid-Life Crisis at The Queens Tap.

 

There is just enough room to mention Peter Jagger and his political tinged folk songs at The Beehive on Sunday afternoon and David Marx’s poetic and poignant music at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

10850275_1508642422743307_3346557062355699842_nNice to see that following on from last weeks flurry of live shows, this week is continuing in a similar vein, both in terms of volume and diversity. Hopefully even those who continue to fly the “nothing ever happens round here” flag will see that it is time to call it a day or at least go back to their X-Box, Facebook trolling and Game of Thrones boxed set and let the rest of us get on with the job at hand.

 

One of the more extraordinary bands of recent times has been The Jim Jones Revue who combined the furious piano playing approach of Jerry Lee Lewis with the visceral guitar style of proto-punk bands such as The MC5 and The Stooges. Well, the band may have called it a day recently but the man who provided that core sound, one that suggested a gang fight in a piano shop, Henri Herbert, can be found at The Victoria tonight.

 

An even bigger name can be found at The Wyvern Theatre as the man with the golden voice and stalwart of such bands as Ace, Roxy Music, Squeeze and Mike and The Mechanics, Paul Carrick will be running through his repertoire of blue-eyed soul and pop-rock.

 

On Friday two big line-ups go head to head within spitting distance of each other in Old Town. At The Castle, brit-pop brats The Racket spearhead a line up that caters to all things indie and modish, being joined by the mercurial melodies and flamboyant stage antics of Nudybronque, the sharp music lines of British Harlem, the jangly pop of Theo Altieri and rock and roll swagger of Portsmouth’s Sixes & Sevens.

 

In the blue corner, as it were, is Songs of Praise line up of A Way With Words, Cavalier and Leader, so prepare for a night of abrasive alt-rock, creative dynamics, indie vibes and energetic performances.

 

The Rolleston has opted for a blend of eastern European folk, sea shanties and carnival chaos with the welcome return of Calico Jack (pictured)and their colourful tales and even more colourful costumes. And moving from the sublime to the ridiculous I can also announce that Showaddywaddy can be found at The Wyvern Theatre. Time to break out the Crepes and Drapes!

 

But music isn’t just confined to the regular venues this weekend as Friday also sees the start of a two day Vintage and Retro Weekend centred on The Brunel Centre. As well as Hot-rods and Vintage cars and bikes, Car Boot and stalls, there will be guitar workshops and live sessions from a Johnny Cash Tribute act plus Sons of The Delta, HipRoute and Jimmy Lee.

 

As usual Saturday is more preoccupied with offering sounds that you are already familiar with. Guns 2 Roses will be paying tribute to that most infamous street-rock outfit at The Victoria and all things ska, punk and new wave will be on the cards from Operation 77 at The Moonrakers.

 

Tying in nicely with the aforementioned Vintage and Retro weekend, Locarno Beat recreate the classic song writing of The 60’s at The Swiss Chalet and the previous decade is well catered for with The 58 Shakes at The Queens Tap and The Rhythm Bombers at The Rolleston. Similar vibes can be found at The Victoria on Sunday with Rockabilly Rumble.

 

But it certainly isn’t the day of rest for metal fans who have a treat lined up for them as Control The Storm’s current tour plays its last show at Level 3. Atmospheric, anthemic, melodic metal is the order of the day; fans of Lacuna Coil and Nightwish will not want to miss this one. Joining them are Curvature who take a more gothic and synth driven approach and Metaprism with their wonderfully prog. slant.

 

Finally, at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday you can find Blake, an artist who manages to mix accessible Beatle-esque melodies with heartfelt lyrical messages and social awareness.

206225_10151457119876051_1566407449_nSo all of the big events of the summer are over. Wimbledon is now no more than a faint whiff of barley water and Glastonbury, which now seems to host every British citizen who owns a guitar, is just a talking point around the water cooler of insurance firms the length and breadth of the Home Counties. Even the World Cup is done and dusted and Brazilians everywhere are already denying it ever took place whilst assiduously avoiding buying German produce.  You have all watched the boxed set of Breaking Bad five times and it is least another month before shops start stocking up with their Christmas gift range, so what do we do now? Start going to local gigs again that’s what.

 

Unlike the acts at Glasto (ironic use of cringeworthy hipster slag) local gigs are good for the environment; the musical produce is locally sourced and puts money directly back into the local community. Plus you don’t risk the danger of having to watch Mumford and Sons!

 

What you can watch tonight, however, are three top acts at Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Headliner Theo Altieri does a neat line in indie-pop that channels a classic song writing tradition from early Beatles, through The Kinks, Paul Weller and is likely to soon be giving the Buggs and Sheerans of this world a run for their money.  Support comes from The Greasy Slicks best described as the soundtrack to a Bourbon soaked bar brawl, mixing slick and raucous blues grooves, authenticity and energy in equal measure. Opening the night are The Automanics a blend of warped swamp riffs, cosmic workouts, psychedelic interludes proggy structures and much more besides.

 

A stalwart of the acoustic music circuit is Ron Trueman Border who delivers instantly accessible songs with lyrical resonance and dexterous musical lines. He is at The Beehive.

 

The talking point for a few weeks now has been the final Tides of Change show at Level 3.  Over the past few years the band has developed into a cornerstone of the alt-rock scene and this show is to act as their swansong and wrap party all in one.  Also helping them to go out in style are the slick and forceful tones of All Ears Avow, elegant post-rock from Liberto Wolf and pop punk from Highly Personal who take the place of the previously billed Natures. Sounds like a top night for rock fans. Meanwhile upstairs at The Rolleston, Humdinger plays rock and pop covers.

 

Rock is also on the menu at The Victoria, this time of the drunken pub R’n’B variety with The Hamsters from Hell. Think Dr Feelgood after four-day bender. Think Kilburn and The High Roads stuck in traffic along Fleming Way. Actually don’t think, just drink, dance, fall over and join the party.

 

A rival party with a nautical theme…piratical even, takes place at The Beehive with the arrival of Calico Jack to these waters.  These festival favourites mix woe and wonderment, twisted tales, off kilter folk music, klezmer vibes, circus tomfoolery and general acoustic rowdiness. Not only great music but guaranteed to have you grinning from buccaneer to ear. (gedit?)

 

Saturday offers a couple of tributes. If you want to hear the music of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers then The Victoria is the place to be and head out to Riffs Bar if The Police are more your sort of thing. Going Underground at The Rolleston offer a range of post punk, ska and mod covers.

 

Winning the award for most air miles earned to get to a gig are The Very Most (pictured)who come all the way from Boise, Idaho to play The Victoria on Tuesday. A rich tapestry of post punk influences, the innocence of Belle and Sebastian and the lush Beach Boys vocal textures, this is a real must see band who probably won’t pass by this way again for a while. On tour with them is Glasgow’s The Yakuri Cable who mix synth-pop with indie guitar to wonderful effect. Opening the show is King in Mirrors who haven’t come very far at all.