Tag Archive: chimerical (the)


It seems like this is the week to be out on the town if you are a fan of the heavier end of the music spectrum. So without even stopping to have a dig at even a single cover band, (which I was again this week accused of belittling in a rather bizarre confrontation in Co-op, of all places!) it’s eyes down for a full house.Starting as we mean to go on, Riffs Bar is hosting another heat of it’s Bloodstock Battle of The Bands tonight which sees Without Consequence, Acts of Brutality and Brink of Reason all fighting it out for places in the semi final.The 12 Bar also chips in its fair share tonight, headlining are Bristol band, The Chimerical, who manage to mix the accessibility of Britpop with the sucker punch of grunge. A band who I can’t recommend highly enough, SkyBurnsRed, take the middle slot, blending alt-rock power with eastern rhythms and wonderful violin washes and kicking off are IX, all cinematic metal and industrial soundscapes; imagine Trent Reznor writing songs for Opeth.It’s all about bands and burlesque at The Victoria, the music this time coming in the shape of rockabilly outfit, Josie and The Outlaw, and if Celtic fringed folk-rock is more your thing then get down the Beehive for a bit of Missin’ Rosie.

Friday at The Victoria is all about the most contemporary of sounds. The Icarus Youth will be bringing their brilliant weave of rock, urban and alternative sounds, always a brilliant live experience, supporting is a familiar face launching a new musical vehicle. After 7 years fronting the eight legged rave that was Old School Tie, James Cameron wastes no time in unleashing Weather Storms on the world, a blend of dub, electronic, garage and epic post rock.

It’s all about the old school punk at Riffs Bar with Useless Eaters and a welcome return to these parts for Nobodys Heroes who between them deliver the sound and the spirit of the first generation punk movement.

Okay, now two quick questions. Anyone remember Toploader? Anyone able to name anything other than “that damned song?” Thought not. Well, they are at The MECA, but for my money it’s worth getting there early to catch support band A&T, an eclectic firestorm of hip-hop, funk and rock.

Staying at The MECA for Saturday and it’s your chance to indulge yourself in a bit of New Wave of British Heavy Metal with ODS – Oliver/Dawson Saxon, supported by the biggest band ever to come out of Whitley Bay, Tygers of Pan Tang. Patched denim jacket? Check! Ammo belt? Check! Whiff of Patchouli Oil and Old Holborn? Check! Ahh…those were the days. If you can’t afford the real thing Metalhead at The Rolleston (again!) come a close second.

Things get really heavy down at The 12 Bar with South-West Hardcore’s regular outing catering for all things musical aggressive with The Hotel Ambush, The Argent Dawn, Moments Before Oblivion and Go Out With a Bang. In strict competition for a slice of the same audience, The Furnace takes a more pop-punk, but nevertheless feisty tack with ScreamDontWhisper! Third Place Victory, Boy Set Sail and Sell Your Sky.

Something a bit different can be found in the form of The Reggae Riddim Club at The Victoria.

And after all that loud and shouty stuff, Sunday will seem like an oasis of tranquillity. The Beehive’s afternoon slot is filed with local swing blues stalwarts, The Teddy White Band and The Arts Centre’s regular Lazy Sunday Afternoon show features the historically aware, pop-folk residents Mr Love and Justice and guests Daniel James plus Americana meets Old World folk from Bateleurs.

And if that is your sort of thing, cap it off with a trip to The Rolleston that evening to catch the infectious, virtuosic and foot-stompingly upbeat, Grubby Jack.

The week rounds off on Wednesday with two options. Theo Altieri and Ian Payne play the Running Horse session whilst at The Victoria, Sierra Hurtt and her band alchemize everything from chilled folk to blues and from cool Latin to jazz to sultry soul and come off like a less ethereal and more worldly-wise Sade.

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There had been much chopping and changing in the opening slot of this Songs of Praise night with bands Imageas diverse as Atari Pilot, Nudy Bronque, Blackwaters and Headlights being briefly pencilled in only to have things change. The best laid plans of mice and…music promoters? So it was with a great relief that SkyBurnsRed jumped into the slot at the eleventh hour.

SkyBurnsRed are just one more reason for me to keep banging on about what a brilliant local music scene we have at the moment. In the cyclical world of highs and lows, we are definitely heading up to a high point with bands such as this, as well as Crash and The Bandicoots, The Racket, Super Squarecloud, Old Colours, Young Blood and the aforementioned Nudy Bronque forming the vanguard of the younger bands.

Testament to their popularity, they played to the busiest room I have seen for an opening band at Songs of Praise, opening bands playing original music kicking off at nine o’clock on a damp Thursday are always going to have their work cut out. Having recently coined a phrase for their music, I think I shall give it a bit of a test drive –  SkyBurnsRed play Gypsy Metal. To clarify, dynamically intelligent alt-rock, laced with dark almost gothic overtones, peppered with eastern grooves (I’ll say it again, I love Paralysed Lullabies) and violin that wanders between lilting gypsy riffs, punchy staccato jabs and classical washes. And live they really put on a show. Whilst the drums and guitar take the music down the rock route it is the four stringers, the bass and violin, who add a lot of the flavours with clever interplays and arabesque vibes. It’s rock meets classical with out the pomp and pretensions of what that has meant in the past.

Up from Bristol, the Chimerical are a much more straightforward affair. Matching the power of grunge with the immediacy of Brit-pop they ran through a set of charged songs that played around with ska rhythms, post rock onslaughts and slightly Libertines inflected sleazed out indie. If the vocal side of things did let them down to a degree, their rhythm section coupled with the nonchalant guitar style and a lively show more than made up for it.

There are only two types of person in the world. Those who believe that The Black Hats are the next big thing and those who haven’t seen them play live.  Tonight they proved exactly why I know that to be true. A couple of years ago I vowed that I would continue setting up gigs for The Black Hats in Swindon until the punters started to get it. Tonight there were the first signs that the town is finally starting to see the light.

The most obvious thing about this band is the simple truth that they know how to write a good song, songs that pop back into your head days later and find you unexpectedly singing “we write things, we write things down…” for no good reason, to the amusement of the other people in the bank queue. Once that is quickly established it is followed up by their consummate musicianship and understanding of song structure. Effortless beats and intricate bass grooves allow the guitar to weave high end riffs or drop out all together without there being a hole in the music. To paraphrase front man Nick, they sound like The Jam might if their career had continued unabated to the present day. They share the same energy and passion, have a slightly modish punk edge to what are essentially melodic yet fairly aggressive indie-pop songs and they remain quintessentially English.

Whilst comparisons to The Young Knives and Stars of CCTV era Hard–Fi are conclusions also easily jumped to by the younger listener, I think that The Black Hats have enough of their own musical identity to brush such observations aside. As their PR campaign builds towards the release of the forthcoming album, Austerity for The Hoi Polloi, I think this is one band that are going to find themselves hot property as the year progresses.

This week’s Sounds Around Town link

 
ImageAnyone who doesn’t think any good bands ever come to Swindon needs to be at The Victoria tomorrow night. Oxford`s yob-savants, The Black Hats, continue their upward spiral to assured fame and fortune…ok, fame and headline in support of their forth coming release, Austerity for the Hoi Polloi. In support are Bristol`s The Chimerical, imagine Brit Pop being kicked to death by the spirit of grunge and opening the night is the violin tinged alt-rock loveliness of local rising stars SkyBurnsRed. How`s that for a slice of fried gold? http://www.facebook.com/events/219815818097489/