Tag Archive: claude bourbon


 

419506_10150699950192165_275869385_nI’ve been accused of being a bit negative towards the local music scene of late…a few off the cuff remarks were taken a bit too seriously by some people who should know my style better and resulted in a bit of a back lash. But in my defence I stand by my general thoughts that in the cyclical nature of these things we do seem to be at a low ebb, particularly in terms of emerging new and original talent and the amount of venues left to play in. That said one of the direct results in having more bands than venues, even if few of those bands are truly blazing new trails, is that a certain level of quality control should start to come into effect and the bookings at the remaining venues will potentially start to pay higher musical dividends. That’s the hope anyway.

 

 

 

Maybe a small step towards this was seen last week in the work of a couple of out of town bands, Barb Wire Dolls and Healthy Junkies who stormed the Victoria and really showed how to put a live show on. Also the Hip Route album launch also demonstrated how a band can really add value to a gig. Local bands take note of this.

 

 

 

One band that can also be found filed in the “really know how to own a stage” category are James Warner Prophecies  (pictured) who will be gracing The Victoria for Songs of Praise tonight, probably with about ten minutes to spare after getting caught up in the M1 evening traffic just outside Derby…no change there. They are a band that manages to mix up everything from heavy rock to ska to pop to old style music hall and come out with a wonderfully deranged yet utterly pleasing sound plus some lovely attention to beard design. Support comes from Cirencester’s Familiars and local band of the moment A Way With Words.

 

 

 

If something a bit more cultured is preferred then a visit to The Beehive means that you can catch the wonderful blends of blues, classical, folk and flamenco courtesy of continental troubadour, Claude Bourbon.  I can’t recommend this man highly enough especially to anyone who thinks they have mastered the acoustic guitar.

 

 

 

Sadly (or not depending on your point of view) original music is a bit hard to find for the next couple of days, but that’s not to say there isn’t some very talented bands to be had, it’s just that it will all be music that you are already familiar with. Not my thing but each to their own.

 

 

 

On Friday The Monkeys Dolls treat The Victoria to contemporary rock classics whilst at The Rolleston, Metal Gods fulfil a similar roll for the more metal and heavy rock minded.

 

 

 

Tributes come thick and fast of Saturday enabling you to catch the music of Madness at The Victoria, The Police at Riffs and Ozzy Osborne at The Rolleston. The one slice of original music can be found at The Sun Inn at Coate Water. Nick Tatham has been described “Dorset’s best kept secret”, plays music wonderfully reminiscent of the likes of Seth Lakeman or Newton Faulkner and was also recently to be found auditioning on The Voice, but don’t hold that against him.

 

 

 

Sunday sees a great event over at Riffs Bar to raise money for the Philippines Typhon Appeal and feature an all day spread of music from solo acoustic acts to blues, rock and indie bands and everything from covers, standards and originals. Truly something for everyone and the most worthy of causes as well.

 

 

 

At the Arts Centre on Monday members of The Albion Band, Edward II and Fairport Convention under the leadership of the godfather of British folk music, Ashley Hutchins, offer up a pageant of Christmas carols, seasonal music, dance, humour and poetry to start getting you in the seasonal frame of mind.

 

 

 

If the words Metalcore and the label “Victory Records” conjure up a certain image that makes older type hide under the bed, don’t be too quick to judge Continents who play The Victoria on Monday. Whilst maintaining the ferocity of the genre, they manage to nail enough looseness, infectious riffing and melody to possibly make them the successors to Bring Me The Horizon. Support comes in a similar vein from Fathoms.

 

 

 

Finally Wednesday rounds off as usual at The Roaring Donkey with the talented and musically dexterous Nick Felix who plays a Christmas themed show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Library - 25Another week and yet more bad news on the music front. Last time I reported that The 12 Bar had shut it’s doors, possibly for the last time as a music venue; this week it was announced that after three very successful years, the biggest cultural event in the local calendar, The Big Arts Day, is also calling it a day. A sign of the times no doubt, but maybe such things are a signifier of major shifts in our habits. Like the transition from physical formats to digital downloads, maybe the live experience itself is no longer seen as an particularly relevant experience. People seem more and more inclined to engage with music via the celebrity stacked medium of television in the comfort of their own homes rather than make the effort to go out and watch bands performing at the grass roots level, the place where every band, no matter how big, originated. So it sort of begs the question, where now for live music?

Whilst you ponder that you can still catch some good music around the town. Tonight (Thursday), for example, sees the welcome return of Witney’s finest yob savants, Black Hats. Imagine what The Jam might sound like if they had carried on evolving through the breakthroughs of modern technology and changing pop fashions, visit The Victoria tonight for a glimpse of that possible scenario. Support is the raw, visceral and unadulterated rock and roll of Nymph and kicking things off is Babies vs. Rabies who having risen from the ashes of Mr Hello and His Honesty Club are sure to throw a musical curve ball. For something more sedate, Claude Bourbon will be at The Beehive delivering his trademark weaves of folk, blues, and jazz, classical and eastern acoustic vibes.

On Friday, Riffs Bar have The Sanity Days, Severenth and Twisted State of Mind gigging in aid of International Heavy Metal Day, which is confusing because not only is heavy metal the one genre that there is no shortage of in Swindon, but also the official day is actually on the 12th. Still time to set up a Tibetan Acid Jazz day to rival it. No? Pity! The Victoria are hosting its annual tribute to John Lennon and The Beatles with the likes of Nudybronque, Aural Candy, The Suspicions, Mr Love and Justice and The Starkers providing their renditions of his songs.

The Furnace is celebrating all things youthful, indie and slightly experimental around the edges. Headliners The Debuts, despite their age, have a wonderful washed out and slightly cinematic post-punk feel mixed with more contemporary markers. The Jefferson Brick are the sound of indie exploring some of it’s more warped undercurrents whilst Korim Miah and With Felix push the night’s sounds into some interesting guitar-electro-pop territory.

If you have been anywhere near the internet in the last 4 months you must be aware that Kiss tribute, Dressed to Kill are playing The Furnace on Saturday whilst upstairs in The Rolleston Missin’ Rosie will be doing what they do best. For those not in the know, what they do best is mix high energy Celtic folk with a driven rock sound, sort of a West Country Flogging Molly if you like.

In aid of Help for Heroes charity and more specifically to honour the memory of Paul Dolphin there is a twin venue music event taking place, firstly at the MECA and then going on till 6am at SUJU. 10 hours of music in the form of 30 live acts and DJ’s and all for a very good cause.

The Beehive offers something a bit more old school for its Sunday afternoon session. Jim Reynolds is fine purveyor of blues, ragtime and old-fashioned ballads and is at turns, laconic, wistful and pensive and tongue in cheek.

More acoustic music in the form of The Stripped Back Sessions at The Victoria on Tuesday featuring Kitchen Sink Dramas, Nick Parker and Reichenback Falls, who is often compared to Sparklehorse, Iron and Wine and Bonny Prince Billy, three acts that surly must pique the interest of any music fan.

Finally the week rounds out at The Running Horse on Wednesday with the vocally gorgeous, dark sonnets of The Black Feathers and funkier acoustic sounds of The Right Hooks.

Okay, the summer hasn’t panned out quite the way we hoped it might, but this weekend there is something happening that will hopefully make you pause from those traditional summer activities (building arks, herding pairs of animals, hold surfing contests through Leicester town centre, etc.)  – Summer Breeze is upon us. Every year this gradually evolving festival manages to out-do itself and this weekend will be no exception. Running for two days at Warren Farm near Liddington, there are so many bands that the safest way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to check out their easily found website, but my top recommendations would run something like this.

The big name is that wonderful, award winning songstress, K T Tunstall (pictured), and if the Saturday crowd can’t make central Swindon bask in the words to Suddenly I See, drifting off the downs on the night air, then I will be writing to my M.P. Strange, balkanised and klezmatic, anarchic, world music mash-ups come courtesy of The Destroyers and The Congo Faith Healers offer up gypsy jive, swamp blues. The festival also sees the welcome return of a couple of old favourites, the indescribable Flipron and the rootsy, slide guitar work of Willie and The Bandits. The local crop of bands offers some treats too, such as the dulcet tones of Charlie Bath here in full band mode, dance driven anthems from Atari Pilot and there is even a brace of Morleys; the haunting and soulful Jazz and the slick acoustic pop of Jake. No sign of Paul though, shame.

Right, back into the urban environment and tonight at The Victoria, the hardest gigging punk band of them all rolls into town. Charlie Harper leads his vintage hoodlums into their fifth decade, with the same old unbridled energy and enthusiasm. Not only do they have local legends, Nobody’s Heroes in support, they have Jamie Oliver on drums. Pucker!

More rafters will be raised at The Rolleston with The Racket. To celebrate front man Plummie’s 12th birthday (I don’t know, I’m just going on the way he acts!) he brings his beautifully chaotic band along to do what they do best. With punk drum and bass maestros 2 Sick Monkeys plus a man answering only to the name Doza on the bill, it is not a night for the faint hearted.

Something more restrained can be found at The Beehive with Claude Bourbon. This virtuosic Frenchman blends everything from blues and folk to jazz and flamenco, ethereal eastern vibes and luscious Latin grooves into a real showcase of world music.

Staying at The Beehive as we kick off Fridays serving suggestions finds I See Hawks in L.A. channelling the ghosts of the old time High Lonesome sound and the vibes of the 60’s counter culture and seeing that they have come all the way from Los Angeles to play for you, the least you can do is stroll down the road to check them out.

In a battle of the big riffs, The 12 Bar goes head to head with The Furnace. UNK Industries presents a showcase of pop-punk and post-hardcore bands including Hold The Fight, When Words Fail and From Embers at the former whilst the latter plays host to local poor boys making good, The Dead Lay Waiting who are joined by various shades of metal from Silent Descent, the Mask of Virtue and Dissolute. Loads on offer for the fan of the hard and heavy, but not great planning on the part of the venues.

It may come as no shock to you if I admit that I’m not the most switched on with popular culture, so I freely admit that I had no idea who Britain’s Got Talent competitor, Alex Davis was until I checked him out on-line. Fans of Ed Sheeran will be into him, I suspect, but what they will make of the weird musical landscape that support act Super Squarecloud build around themselves is anyone’s guess. The Fixed’s brand of slick indie is also worth going for.

If you don’t make it to Summer Breeze over the weekend, alternative arrangements come in the shape of early Whitesnake (i.e. before the poodle hair, spandex and Steve flippin’ Vai ruined everything) blues guitar maestro Bernie Marsden at the Furnace on Saturday and Sunday night offers up Bob Smith at The Rolleston with a bag of Americana, folk and rocking blues.