Tag Archive: coach


Library - 62So, the big noise this weekend seems to be coming from up the hill, as the Old Town Festival reaches it’s climax in fine style. Of particular interest to the culture vultures and gig goers alike is the big finale at The Lawn on Saturday with an afternoon of performing arts in all it’s forms by the various local schools and academies, followed by an evening of acoustic music from the likes of Hiproute, Albion, Ethemia, Coach and more besides. Make sure you check their website for the full menu that includes a parade, dog show, running events and a cornucopia of other activities.

Also watch out for the 105.5fm Late Gig boys who are running a tongue in cheek awards ceremony on Friday in that very same location. I repeat, this is just a bit of fun so please don’t get upset if your band didn’t get nominated, look on the bright side, it means that you won’t be obliged to talk to “The Andys” or to use the title of their new, Channel 5 sketch platform, The Mitchell and Pett Show.  Every cloud and all that!

Back in the usual haunts and back into chronological order, tonight, The Victoria  has one of it’s regular Band and Burlesque shows, this time it takes as it’s theme the Carry On films, so nothing at all risqué there you will be pleased to hear, and music is from the stalwarts of skiffle, Ode and the BeBops who will be endeavouring to find out the answer to the age old question, does your chewing gum loses it’s flavour on the bedpost overnight? Or not.

More serious music is afoot at The Beehive with this month’s Acoustic Buzz. Some call it roots-blues, some call it country or rough around the edges folk, but Canadian singer songwriter, Lynne Hanson describes her music as “porch music with a little Texas red dirt.” Call it what you will, just don’t miss it. Especially as support comes from that harmonious celtic-folk-americana duo, The Black Feathers and as always Blind River Scare main man, Tim Manning, hosts the night. Fans of more mainstream music might wish to head for Baker Street for the acoustic pop and soulful tones of Kieran Cox.

Friday sees the return of a band that I have been looking forward to for a long time. The place is The Beehive, the band is The Snakes (pictured). Having just released their third album, The Last Days of Rock and Roll, the band return to the town that featured heavily in their formative years to show you just why they count Bob Harris and Mark Lamarr amongst their fans. If the sound of Whiskeytown colliding with Mott The Hopple sounds like your thing, be there and then buy the album.

Younger fans will be pleased to know that Teenage Kicks takes up residence in it’s new home at Riffs Bar and this inaugural show takes the form of a pop-punk showcase with Disclosure (no, not that one, the other one,) Not My Finest Hour, Save The Dinosaurs, Written In Words and The Hourglass Has Turned. Elsewhere it’s classic rock covers at The Rolleston with guitar Gandalfs Metalhead and the brilliant Interlight at The Victoria who basically play anything that takes their fancy and with wit, style, panache and matching suits.

Saturday sees R’n’B pop giant, Billy Ocean come to The Old Town Bowl and support comes from another eighties pop sensation, Hazel Dean. Those folkies out there may opt to travel a bit further afield to catch either Grubby Jack at The Waggon and Horses in Wootton Bassett or if you can manage to track down a ticket, Show of Hands at The Great Coxwell Barn. Either way you are in for a treat.

Sunday sees those awfully nice chaps from Mr Love and Justice take their Lazy Sunday Afternoon gig to The Old Town Bandstand where they will be joined by the Cajun vibes of Kim Coupland and the wonderfully elegant acoustica of Nick Felix.

Tuesday jazz at Baker Street comes courtesy of vocal and piano led Paul Buck/Catherine Sykes Quartet and acoustic music is well represented as always at The Running Horse on Wednesday by the powerful and melodious songs of Ben Maggs and the off beat sounds of Salisbury duo, Child of Imber.

It’s amazing what little bits of music trivia you stumble across when doing research for music articles. Like the fact that comedian Roland Rivron once drummed for Transvision Vamp or that Monaco’s National Orchestra is bigger than its army. Few of you may be aware that David Bowie invented Connect 4 and as well as coining the term Britpop, Stuart Maconie also originated the phrase Latvipop, which, to be fair,  never really caught on. Also I have personally listened to the Concrete Blonde album Bloodletting more times than anyone else on the planet. Not all of the above is true but I can assure you that everything that follows is absolute fact.

 

Tonight at The Victoria is a folk and roots extravaganza in the form of this years Oxjam. Hiproute will be on hand to deliver funked up, lap slide guitar blues, whilst Missin’ Rosie will be injecting folk music with rock adrenalin. Bateleurs provide a wonderful blend of new-country and traditional folk and the intriguingly named Stone Donkey Pilots seem immersed in a hill-billy busker vibe that evokes moonshine, dungarees and re-runs of Deliverance.

 

Further down the road, The Beehive continues it’s fascination with Canadian bands by playing host to Picture The Ocean, an alt-pop band who are both gently melodic and wistfully reflective or as someone put it “ like a therapeutic walk on the shore on a grey day.” Catch their last UK show before they head off to Europe, India and, if there is any justice in the world, fame and fortune.  At the Arts Centre, musical icons The Animals (and friends) pay a visit; for  the song We Gotta Get Out of This Place alone they deserve your endless adulation.

 

Something a bit special for you at The Victoria on Friday. Goldray (pictured) are what happens when the guitar sound of Reef and the beats of Faithless come together in a psychedelic explosion of textures and riffs. Think Jefferson Airplane sparring (or even spa-ing) with Warpaint whilst Tame Impala hold their coats. With support from Ulysses and The Baronesques it will be like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test all over again. (Blimey, a Tom Wolfe reference two weeks running, it’s getting like the Times Literary Supplement!)

 

The 12 Bar opts for the punkier route with Useless Eaters and stalwarts of the scene Nobodies Heroes plus the return of Lydia Twenty whilst The Rolleston has neo rock and rollers, Red Hot Trio, not just your usual bowling shirt rockabilly! Other options are rocked out blues with The Stevie J Rivers Band at The Beehive and ska from The Nomarks at The Liden Arms.

 

Saturday, normally the bastion of the cover and tribute set really raises it’s game to deliver three top gigs. If you haven’t seen Flipron before then you need to be at The Victoria. If you have seen them then you will know that it is difficult to pin down exactly what they do in such a small amount of space. They have been described variously as “ Barrelhouse Britpop,” “Psychedelic Honkytonk” and, my favourite “ Stephen Fry wrestling with Ian Dury on a Mississippi Riverboat” not much I can add to that except The Costellos and Coach add equally exotic vibes into the nights mix.

 

Fans of Hardcore should head to The 12 Bar for Vera Cruz, What The Night Brings and Rising From Death, whilst The Furnace plays host to Fearless Vampire Killers a band whose “Death Pop” will appeal to anyone who watches the Twilight Films and/or grew up on My Chemical Romance. Support is from local lads making good The Dead Lay Waiting.

 

Pete Christie is at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon slot, finger picked acoustic that mixes rock, folk and country into a sort of anglicana roots music now there’s a term we need to catch on.

 

 

As usual our jump off point is The Running Horse acoustic sessions on Wednesday, this time featuring the welcome return of the newly resurrected Shudders and their clean limbed, melodic and totally infectious country-pop-folk masterpieces. Support comes from The Cadbury Sisters, a duo whose delicate harmonies will leave you transfixed, charmed and in total awe.

It sometimes seems that these days there are as many sub-genres of rock music as there are bands themselves, as a music writer it takes a lot of keeping up with. To know your Gypsy Punk from your Krautrock, your Doom Metal from your Shoegaze or your Riot Grrrl from your Neo-Prog requires no small amount of homework. Tonight’s Songs of Praise show at The Victoria, however, can be summed up very simply, old school rock and roll, a trio of bands that both kick arse and cut the mustard. White Knuckle Bride revel in the sort of street rock that you associated with The Sunset Strip of the mid 80’s, big riffs, big choruses and a live performance charged with aggression and attitude. They are aided and abetted by current tour buddies, Burnthru and coming down from Derby to join them are sleaze merchants Bury the Ladybird (pictured). Rock and Roll it would seem is back on the menu.

 

If that doesn’t take your fancy then maybe some tongue in cheek country and/or western, for The Badass Cowboys play both types, might appeal. This ever-popular band will be at The Beehive and rather than try to describe the band I will let their album titles speak for themselves. Take Me Home Randy Rhodes; Born in the KFC and the truly inspired Portaloo Sunset, I think you get the idea of what they are about.

 

Friday can be summed up in the phrase “ from the sublime to the ridiculous.” For the sublime you should head up to the Arts Centre where violinist Miranda Dale and pianist Paul Turner will be performing not only that most quintessentially English piece, Vaughn Williams The Lark Ascending, but also music by this country’s other big names, Walton, Britten and of course Elgar.

 

At the other end of the spectrum we find ourselves back at The Beehive for Bill Smarme – king of the social club crooners, love guru, connoisseur of fine wines and marmalades, building contractor…apparently.

 

On a more even keel, The Victoria has a cracking line up featuring three of the bands to watch at the moment. The Icarus Youth do a neat line in alchemizing rock, urban and alternative sounds into a slick and quite brilliant final product and if bands such as The Post War Years or Two Door Cinema Club are your thing, then this is the place to be. But as if that wasn’t enough The Blood Choir bring their atmospheric and bleak soundscapes to life and the cinematic folk meets indie pop of Old Colours kicks the night off. Now that is one hell of a line up.

 

The big event for Saturday takes place at The Running Horse where they have gathered together their favourite acts from the past sessions to create The Acoustic Garden Festival, which does pretty much what it says on the tin. There are far too many bands to mention them all but with Faye Rogers, Alice Offley, Bateleurs, Coach and Billyjon on the bill, you can get an idea of the pedigree involved here.

 

Rock fans are going to be like kids in a sweet shop, as they have to choose between, original Status Quo drummer, John Coghlan at Riffs Bar, tributes to Muse and Iron Maiden at The Victoria and The Furnace respectively and some good old R’n’B at The Rolleston with Dickie Reed.

 

The Sabbath kicks up a couple of more chilled options. The aptly named Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Arts Centre is hosted by Mr Love and Justice, probably one of the most popular bands of the thriving “historical, socio-political, agri-folk, jangle- pop” scene. They are joined by the Jansch-esque Tim Graham and the soothing and ethereal tones of one of my favourite bands of the moment, Rumour Shed.

 

Other laidback serving suggestions are available at The Beehive under the enigmatic title of Incarnations of Matilda. Presumably this will be not only the usual Matilda display of harmony driven blends of folky piano jazz, but after a quick game of musical chairs will feature songs by Emily Sykes and Friends also. Two bands for the price of one, what a bargain.

As the same old arguments of “have guitar bands had their day” and “is electronic music the way forward” continue to be discussed in the dark corners of venues and around the water coolers of music magazines publishers, it is worth noting that whilst it is an interesting argument, it makes no account for the rise of a new musical passion. The ukulele! Not only are so many indie/folk cross over bands taking to the instrument like a sacked girl band singer to a premiership footballer, but we have also witnessed the emergence of the first ever ukulele super group and you can catch them at The Beehive tonight.

 

The Rinky Dinks (pictured) are wall-to-wall brilliance. Taking songs of all genres, from every decade of contemporary music and giving them a uke-over the result is as side-splitting as it is unique and until you have heard Led Zeppelin rendered unto the ukulele, you haven’t heard anything.

 

If that doesn’t quite tick enough boxes for you, there are a couple of other chilled out serving suggestions for you to consider. Riffs Bar has “Folk in The Bar” hosted by local duo, Albion, a night that endeavours to capture the spirit of the Greenwich Village folk revival movement of the 60’s. At the Victoria, Songs of Praise has moved into the top bar for a more laid back show, Nick Tann and The Real Raj are solo performers as well as a duo whose mix and match style takes in everything from folk- pop, Americana and soaring acoustica to John Martyn style ballads. Forget Wacky Wednesday welcome to Tremendous Thursday. Okay, maybe not.

 

A worthy collection of local bands is to be found over at Riffs Bar on Friday, with The Rackets’ chaotic yet mesmerising gutter indie leading the way. SkyBurnsRed will be bringing a taste of violin driven alt-rock, The Porn Issue help funk the place up and Empire will be the opening salvo.

 

Teddy White will be teaching the Rolleston a thing or two about the meaning of the letters R and B, whilst down at the 12 Bar is one of the strangest line ups I have seen in a while. Not that there is anything wrong with the bands, it’s just I never thought I’d ever see all these on the same bill. Between Dead By Friday? The Fixed, Not George and Charlie Anne you have old school dynamic rock, slick, staccato indie, anthemic acoustic and an ethereal voiced solo singer. If you look up eclectic in the dictionary it actually has a picture of the flyer for this show.

 

Metallica fans will want to be at The Victoria, ‘nuff said, and if you are still up for some after hours music The Nightshift at The Furnace will be playing Industrial, Darkwave and Electronica into the wee small hours.

 

 

Saturday is it’s usual bastion of tributes and covers. Shepherds Pie at The Victoria are a tribute to every air guitar anthem ever written and at The 12 Bar The Useless Eaters are a tribute to the sound of the early punk movement, though original music can be found with support bands The Porn Issue (they get around don’t they) and the new wave punktronica of Last Exit Saints.

 

Doors tribute bands are ensuring the survival of the old bus analogy with The Strange Doors at Riffs Bar and The Floydian Doors at The Rolleston, although to be fair with the latter band you do get 2 tributes acts for the price of one.

 

It’s all about the blues at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon session, with The Sons of The Delta. Both electric and acoustic blues, Americana and roots vibes or as one wise soul put it…Raw, righteous, the real Delta deal. More great music can be found at The Rolleston that evening with Irish pop-folkstress Polly Barrett who has more than a touch of Cara Dillon about her, which is obviously a very good thing indeed.

 

The Running Horse, as usual, provides the mid week Euterpean oasis to rejuvenate and revive you from the slog of the real world, this week with the soulful world music vibes of Coach and the dulcet tones of Rhiannon Elliot.

Looking back into the annals of history it turns out that today is a landmark anniversary. In 1954 a young man called Bill Haley went into Pythian Temple Studios in New York and recorded a song that was the jumping off point for all other contemporary music genres. Rock Around The Clock is where it all began, as radical in its day as psychedelic, punk, rave, baggy, post rock, grime and every musical development since. It is also interesting to note that 26 years later, to the day, Bryan McFadden of Westlife was born. Coincidence… or the Gods of Music playing their games? It’s probably just coincidence.

 

It would be interesting though to get Mr Haley’s take on tonight’s gig at The Victoria featuring two bands who blend rock with the latest technology. Talk in Code have been through an interesting evolution, leaving the more predictable territory of drive time rock behind them they now inject their music with dance beats and keyboard washes, something support band Atari Pilot are equally adept at.

 

Down at The Beehive, the jaunty tones of Bateleurs will be filling the air, but more than that if you get there early enough, you may find yourself an extra in their video shoot. Another acoustic option comes in the shape of Gaz Brookfield, who will be dishing out the charm, humour and infectious tunes at Baker Street.

 

Friday is one for those with youth on their side (damn them) as The Furnace opens it’s doors to the under 18 crowd. The main drawer is the mathy-electro-pop sounds of With Felix and the post punk/contemporary indie clash  of The Debuts, but add to that The Canary Club and dubstep/drum ‘n’ bass DJing from Miasmix and you have a great night.

 

The Sharpees at The Beehive will be in the more tried and tested blues field, but with their punk attitude towards the genre and rock influences, they are flying an altogether different blues flag for the 21st century.

 

Staying roughly in the genre, further up the hill, Hiproute will be laying out their funky, acoustic blues wares before The Victoria at The UK Roots Night. If scintillating slide guitar and groove driven backbeats are your cup of Darjeeling, then this is the place to be. Alex Roberts will be adding his quite brilliant observational acoustic songs and Stone Donkey Pilots open with a set of rootsy, country blues inflected tunes. If you prefer something more in the pop-punk vein then head up to The Royal Oak for Disclosure.

 

Saturday is a mix of the big names or tributes to big names.  The former comes in the shape of Cher Lloyd at The Oasis touring in support of her album Sticks and Stones, an album that went to number 31 in the New Zealand album charts, no less! The younger fans are catered for again; this time at The MECA with Captured, a night featuring the best in new R’n’B, hip-hop and grime with Fugative, Encore and former Nu-Brand front man, Saskilla. (“Flick, flick, pose” and all that sort of thing.)

 

Bristol’s Metalhead will be paying tribute to all things classic rock in what seems like their weekly visit to Swindon; catch them at Riffs Bar. Alternately Led Zeppelin fans need to be at The Victoria for The Black Dogz.

 

The one bastion of original music is to be found at The Royal Oak. The Jess Hall Band mix up sublime pop vibes with an acoustic alt-folk sensibility to make songs that reek of charm, infectiousness and that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If it doesn’t then you have no soul and might as well be at The Oasis after all.

 

And in the “if you like that you’ll like this department” more sublime soulful, folk-pop comes courtesy of The Sound of the Sirens (pictured) at The Rolleston on Sunday, support is a solo outing for Hiproute main man Jim Blair. And if you want to make it a day of brilliant music, head up to this gig after first catching the afternoon session by Good Things Happen in Bad Towns at The Beehive.

 

Baker Streets Tuesday Jazz offering is a bit special this week, as rising star, jazz history aficionado and award winning tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett pops in to entertain and entrance in equal measure.

 

And finally Ester (spot the catch phrase) on Wednesday you can catch the world vibes and soulful pop-rock sounds of Coach at The Running Horse with support from The Racket front man, Plummie.

Music is full of potential; the potential to push boundaries, to boldly go and all that (pardon the split infinitive,) to move forward with and even ahead of current imagination, to challenge and make you think. It is indeed a wondrous thing. Sometimes however all you want is something familiar and a bit lowbrow, something that connects with the heart and the foot rather than the head and that is just what Songs of Praise has on offer for you tonight.

Forget following the fickle fashions of music that come and go faster than Kerry Katona’s boyfriends, tonight at The Victoria, it is all about old school rock, albeit dressed in some nice, cliché free contemporary attitude. You may remember White Knuckle Bride from their support slot to Thin Lizzy when they graced The M.E.C.A stage last year: a wholesome blend of rock aggression and glam sleaze. Up from Portsmouth  are Kodiak Jack who sound just like Nickleback think they do and Frome’s Indie-Punkers, Haters.

New kids on the block, Imperial Promotions have their first outing at The 12 Bar, featuring the funked out vibes of Sasquatch Walk (pictured), another outing for those dark and poetic garage rockers, The Dacoits, plus the alt-pop sounds of Lionstate. Add to that acoustic sets from Callum Martin (who was awesome a few weeks ago opening up for Tripwires) Bianca Politzi and Days On Juno and you have the potential for a brilliant night).

The Rolleston is playing host to a band that I really haven’t seen enough of in the last few years. Coach, for it is they, mix up world music grooves, classical sass, laidback vibes and soulful folky pop melodies. Just add a warm evening and a chilled drink and you have everything you could want. And blues aficionados must not miss the chance to catch Kent DuChaine at The Beehive, the real deal in Delta Blues all the way from the Deep South.

Something a bit different at The Victoria on Friday. Dead at 27 is a tribute to all those iconic musicians who were determined not to see 28, but then you know rock musicians and how they feel about the septemvigesimal positional numeral system? Anyway, the great and good of Swindon will be paying tribute to the likes of Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and more besides.

If you prefer something a bit more heart warming then Prita at The Beehive might be your preferred option who neatly blends layers of looped harmonies, percussion and acoustic guitar into wonderful washes not a million miles away from Norah Jones or a laid back K T Tunstall.

Saturday is all about The Furnace. System of a Clown recreate everyone’s favourite Armenian technical metal-heads and believe me if you think that it would be difficult to do justice to such complex music then you obviously weren’t at their debut outing last year when they nearly destroyed the 12 Bar. A must see.

Loads to do on Sunday, which obviously might interfere with your church commitments, but then God is a big music fan. Joshua had his own jazz band and people are still talking about his gig in Jericho, brought the roof down, apparently.

The Beehive afternoon session is a mix of folk and jazz tinged blues with Sara Coffield and ex-Dr Feelgood front man, Pete Gage. The 12 Bar plays host to an all-dayer with a host of great acoustic acts before it relocates to the main stage for the full on show. There will be punk from The Useless Eaters, Indie from The Fixed. Alice Offley’s piano driven dream pop will be adding a touch of elegance to the proceedings and SkyBurnsRed will be dishing out wonderful swathes of Gypsy Metal. The whole night is rounded off with the beautiful cacophony that is The Racket. And that’s not even the half of it.

The Furnace has a night of rock and hardcore headed up by The Amsterdam Red Light District and The Rolleston has those local rhythm and booze icons, The Hamsters From Hell.

Culture Vultures will have are spoilt for choice mid week between jazz with The Theo Jackson Trio at Baker Street on Tuesday and folk darling Maddy Prior at The Arts centre on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday acoustic entertainment comes courtesy of Drew Bryant and Rich Maya at The Running Horse.