Tag Archive: cartoon heroes


1472801_551493731605357_193622463_nWith the May Day bank holiday looming on the horizon it means that the coming long weekend packs even more live music options and so without further ado, let’s dive straight in.

Tonight, as is usual, tips the balance towards the original artist with stalwarts Hip Route to be found at The Tuppenny in Old Town. For those unaware of the band, and I can’t image I am talking to many people, this three-piece are purveyors of funky-blues delivered via a killer rhythm section, some deft and dexterous slide guitar-work and a whiskey soaked vocal straight out of an East Nashville juke joint. A hip operation if ever there was one.

At The Victoria you will find something a bit more weird but no less wonderful. All three acts, Dinner The Band, Ravetank and Spring-Heeled Lettuce, come from the musical fringes, one where wonky, lo-fi acoustica, punk’s DIY ethic and a complete disregard for following fashion are the order of the day.

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1001847_10151555930943635_1223282823_nThere is no getting away from it; this week is all about The Swindon Shuffle. I won’t dwell on it in full, there has been a fair bit of coverage already in this august (and indeed August) publication and a quick search under the obvious terms will find all the details listed up on their website. But here is a very brief walk through (or Shuffle through I guess.)

 

Following last nights opening event at The Queens Tap, the focus tonight turns to Old Town which sees the regular Songs of Praise night at The Victoria become a temple to all things mercurial pop and alt-rock (Super Squarecloud, Dead Royalties and the return of SkyBurnsRed), whilst The Roaring Donkey is the haven for culture vultures, providing a mixture of intelligent acoustica (David Marx and Steve Leigh) and poetry readings. Also happing in the vicinity is some lovely Psytrance (tribal beats meets alien dance vibes) from Zetan Spore at The Beehive and Baila, that wonderful coffee house meets old school vinyl emporium is joining the fray with music provided by hand picked DJ’s. Artist might like to note that those awfully nice people at Cradle Contemporary will be running a Sketch Crawl; artists will be wandering the venues capturing the inspiration and the spirit of the night on paper for a future exhibition.

 

Friday not only stays around Old Town with The Ocelot curated Indie night at The Victoria (incorporating the now traditional Doza opening slot plus Nudybronque and British Harlem)), the first of two mellower nights at The Castle (Familiars, Wildest Dreams) and Riffs Bar’s wonderful acoustic night joins in the fun with an open mic. night and headline slots from The Black Feathers and The Cadbury Sisters, which is a coup in anyone’s book.)

 

Saturday is a tsunami of music. The big daytime session is to be found at The Rolleston from midday, courtesy of The Academy of Music and Sound who showcase their students’ talents before the rest of the afternoon and evening mixes all genres of music from the delicate tones of Charlie Bath to the wild musical machinations of Sea Mammal, the blues infused Armchair Committee and goes out with a bang courtesy of The Ak-Poets.

 

Through out the afternoon, The In-Store Sessions sees music in Billabong, Baila, That’s Entertainment and The Central Library.

 

An eclectic mix is also to be found at The Beehive that evening (Cartoon Heroes, Swindon Samba) and another chilled session at The Castle includes an acoustic Port Erin and Colour The Atlas.

 

Sunday has a family fun day at Riffs Bar, so take the kids along and mix music and shenanigans in equal measure whilst if you are in town The Beehive is the place to be as it plays host to the Shuffle wrap party. If you have made it this far, you may as well go out in style.

 

Right, that is The Shuffle well catered for lets look at non-Shuffle related options.

 

Riffs Bar on Thursday has a great little fundraiser for the Prospect Hospice that features the slightly funky indie of The Primaveras plus The Illustrations, a band who have evolved out of a warped acoustic bedroom duo into a sharp edged outfit that both channels the past and predicts the future. Also on the bill are Abi James and Brinliegh Gallagher. Great music, great cause.

 

The bottom corner of Commercial Road comes up trumps on Friday as The Rolleston plays host to Replica, which as the name suggests are pop and rock cover band, whilst downstairs at Level 3 you can catch Floydian Doors, the only band in existence paying tribute to Cambridge progressive and LA hedonistic psychedelic rock simultaneously. Saturday’s non-Shuffle events are a tribute to Rammstein at The Victoria and Indie and rock covers from Happy Accident at The Swiss Chalet.

 

As if to prove the power of musical networking whilst playing the Mostar Blues and Rock Festival in Bosnia, members of Innes Sibun’s Band found themselves playing alongside and befriending Texas old country/blues troubadour Keegan McInroe (pictured) to the effect that he will be playing at The White Hart in Wroughton on Sunday…not normally on the direct route back home but it’s great when these things happen.

 

Finally, at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday those acoustic classical meets Latin meets jazz maestro’s Gilmore and Jaz can be found enchanting the crown. Why not join them?

1455048_10151626389261362_1814659028_nSo here we are again, at the tail end of another year and time maybe to pause and reflect on the year gone. Whilst everyone was distracted by footage of Miley “so thin and yet so thick” Cyrus twerking in the most indecorous fashion in a bid to be controversial and the circus show line up that is X Factor looking more tired and unconvincing than ever, what was actually going on in the trenches, the local musical grassroots. Well, with the 12 Bar standing boarded up like a silent epitaph to a more productive time and the MECA echoing to the sound of roller skates and baying fans of pugilism, things might seem at a low musical ebb.  Even many of the pubs have decided to bite the bullet and call time on their musical activities. Add to that promoters and even new bands seem to be thin on the ground and things might seem in a bit of a slump.

 

To take a tongue in cheek reference from that source of all knowledge, Spinal Tap, maybe the appeal of live music is not on the wane, just becoming more selective. That said, The Rolleston, Riffs Bar, The Beehive and The Victoria still manage to cater to a wide range of music fans, The Shuffle made it to its seventh year and managed to be more diverse than ever, incorporating poetry, art and dance as well as music. We also had events such as SN1 Fest, which managed to incorporate The Underground Orchestra into a wide range of local music. Plus the likes of The Stratton Stroll, Oxjam and a number of gigs now taking place at Basement 73 and things are looking pretty positive. Musically Swindon has always punched above it’s weight, maybe it is just that things have spiralled down that you can gauge how lucky we have been in the past and lets face it, in the cyclical nature of things…will be again.

 

So in the meantime, what can you do to see the old year out in style? Well, lots of things actually. Tonight, for example, is the last Songs of Praise of the year at The Victoria. Continuing with their mission (currently 7 years in) to line up the best of out of town bands alongside the cream of the local scene, tonight’s line up is indeed a bit special. Hello Lazarus (pictured) play indie music that is both heavy and melodic, intricate and driven, elegant, eloquent and inspiring.  Also if you think all Christmas covers are naff, check out their version of A Spaceman Came Travelling. Awesome! That should tick a few boxes with the musical cognoscente.  Support comes from another Bristol based outfit, Dead Royalties, who manage to fuse a Seattle sound with Brit Punk overtones and some lovely mathy interludes and opening up are local big and clever alt-rock quartet, All Ears Avow.

 

Those up for a bit of local nostalgia can catch up with the latest musical exploits of local R’n’B stalwarts Cartoon Heroes at the Beehive.

 

Despite being a little disparaging about The MECA in the intro, the big show of the week is to be found inside their hallowed walls, no less, in the shape of The Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert on Friday. For four decades the cultural life of Swindon has been documented and archived by a team who are committed to preserving a public record of our creative achievements. The music and arts scene has benefited from their work in particular, as gigs, festivals and events have been captured for posterity and are now available to view on the internet; establishing a fantastic and unique record of the musical and creative history of the town. This gig is a chance to give something back as they both showcase some great bands and raise much need funds to continue their mission.  Music comes in the form of Teddy White’s good time boogie, swing and R’n’B, the delicate soundscapes of Colour The Atlas, the effervescent Nudybroque, old school reggae and rocksteady from The Erin Bardwell Collective, AJ Live with both a full band and a very special guest and Dave Gregory’s current musical vehicle, Tin Spirits. Bobby the Persuader will be spinning additional fab and groovy waxings between bands.

 

The Victoria, meanwhile, will be reveling in the sounds of the eighties with Syntronix. Although my eighties was more about the sounds of New Model Army and The Icicle Works whilst probably wearing a “Coal not Dole” or possibly a Pendragon T-shirt, here you can expect something a lot more palatable to the mainstream ear such as Nik Kershaw and Erasure.

 

Rock fans should head out to Riffs Bar for a bit of Grohl induced action with top tribute band, The Faux Fighters.

 

Saturday sees a second chance for you to catch a bit of reggae as the regular Reggae Club Night bring you the best of sixties ska, 70’s dub, 80’s Dancehall and up to the present day at The Victoria. Bring your dancing trousers this one will be busy. The Rolleston should also be a bit of a packed affair as electric blues guitar wizard, Innes Sibun, makes a welcome return to the venue.

 

And even as we enter the cheesy disco period there are still some great live bands to be found. Sunday at The Beehive is Missin’ Rosie’s Christmas shindig…pumped up Celtic rock, traditional folk sounds and a good reason to throw your beer around and dance like a loon as any I can think of.  Monday finds Port Erin at The Victoria, a band that really does defy musical convention and seem to follow a rulebook that they have written themselves. In the support slot is The Clementine’s, a band risen from the eclectic, humourous and inventive ashes of Crash and The Bandicoots. New name, new songs and hopefully the same blatant disregard for the tried and tested way of doing things. Good to have you back.

 

And finally if you haven’t found yourself at a Cheesy Disco type event so far then Christmas Eve at the Victoria is the place to be, but if a party covers band is more your thing, The Tin Shack Band at The Rolleston is well worth checking out.

 

So there we have it, have a great Christmas, party hard and remember to drink irresponsibly if at all possible.