Tag Archive: colour the atlas


1607111_577491689022522_3860118839849066474_nI will apologize in advance for the Shuffle-centric nature of this weeks scribbling but when over 40 music acts line up to play across 3 major venues and a host of additional bars, cafes and public places, it is inevitable that it will take up most of the space. So, The Swindon Shuffle is back for it’s ninth year and it seems only a blink of an eye that I was sat in the Winners Lounge (before it’s Legendary upgrade) on a Thursday night waiting for The Unforeseen to play the first ever slot. Tempus does indeed fugit! So, the first fringe events took place last night but as of today Shuffling begins in earnest.

The Victoria has long been one of the cornerstones of The Shuffle and so it is apt that we begin there. This session is one for those with a penchant for heavier music and is headlined by a band that have had a meteoric rise over the last year or so, A Way With Words. Other alt-rock acts on the bill include All Ears Avow and the dystopian vibes of Ghost of Machines. Between these you can catch the punk onslaught that is 2 Sick Monkeys and something with more of a blues spin from The Harlers.

Baila Coffee and Vinyl has always been a cool place to hang out during the day (where do you think I am writing this?) but now with the addition of a evening drinks license they have become part of Old Town nightlife with craft ales, a well selected wine cellar and quality spirits available and they join in the festival with sets from Matilda (minus drummer Emily who is probably doing headstands on a mountain in Outer Mongolia,) young, groove driven Indie from Polar Front and the captivating and heartfelt songs of Charlie Bath.

The Victoria second contribution comes on Friday, this time with a more eclectic and intriguing bill headed by the drifting ambience and trippy grooves of Colour The Atlas (pictured). Theo Altieri provides some effortlessly cool indie-pop and Super Squarecloud will be doing what ever it is they do – I’ve been writing about their mercurial, genre-hopping music and flagrant disregard for convention for 4 years now and I still haven’t found the adequate words! The early part of the night sees the welcome return of a couple of out-of-towners, Cursor Major who prove once and for all that kookiness is next to godliness and that blend of delicacy and dynamics that is Familiars.

Within easy shuffling distance of that (hence the name) is The Castle and their first session has a bit of a blues edge to it. Although main man Ian Doeser has long been a fixture of the Shuffle as a solo player this is, I believe, the first time that the full Hamsters From Hell have graced the event, so expect the usual sweary, tongue-in-cheek, bawdy humour set to an R’n’B backdrop. And if The Hamsters are a nod to the ghost of blues past, then The Greasy Slicks are very much about the ghost of blues future; slick, incendiary deliveries and killer riffs and acting as a sign post for where the genre is going. Also on the bill are Coasters, a punk vibe injected into Americana but whose songs trade Route 66 for the M4.

Elsewhere, The Locomotive, part of the Shuffle Fringe due to it’s outlying location in relation to the main focus of events, nevertheless plays a blinder by hosting Yves, one of the front runners of the new Indie crop of local bands and at The Rolleston you can catch Beatles tribute The Pre Fab Four.

On Saturday the music starts at midday at The Central Library where various acoustic acts including Neil Mercer and Stuart Marsh can be found playing throughout the afternoon.

Saturday also sees The Beehive, the only venue to have been involved in all nine years, get involved with a folk slant to their bill. Southern Harmony bring their wonderful blend of Celtic, English and Appalachian folk to the party and Ells and The Southern Wild throw in some darker folk vibes. Plummie Racket and Nick Felix will be adding a more singer-songwriter feeling to the evening.

Up the hill at The Castle, the younger set have their moment with Balloon Ascent’s accessible indie-folk creations, the shoegaze and post-punk referencing Sahara Heights building to a night of ska, reggae and infectious dance grooves from SN Dubstation, not a band that you want to miss, believe me. At The Locomotive, The Roughnecks will be blasting out their incendiary R’n”B and old-school rock and roll to entice and astound the Fleet Street crowd.

Non-Shuffle related gigs can also be found at The Victoria with Going Underground, Strictly Dan a tribute to Steely Dan at Riffs Bar, classic rock covers at The Rolleston from Bad Obsession and all your favourite songs from a new line-up Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

Sunday sees The Shuffle round off at its now traditional last day party at The Beehive. A string of solo players, Mel Hughes, Tamsin Quin and Steve Leigh get things underway before Bruce St. Bridges, the socially aware, psychedelic folk-pop of Mr Love and Justice and the sonic pick’n’mix of auralcandy move things up a gear. Last year The Shudders almost destroyed the venue with their final set of the festival and they have been given the task of attempting to do the same this year with another headline slot.

If you want something to help easy you out of the festival, the perfect gentle step back into normality comes at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with those dapper jazz aficionados Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz.

10384282_524686984329584_2829732092505597701_nThis week’s contentious offering goes like this. Has music lost its voice? Performing music and releasing records is a wonderful platform, which has been used since time immemorial to communicate information. From Dark Age Sagas and Medieval troubadours right through to the modern folk, hip-hop and punk movements, music has always had the power to be political, to spread social commentary and advocate change. Now in a society seemingly more ill at ease with itself than ever before music makers should be reminded of the power they hold. Songs such as Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding, The Special’s Ghost Town, John Lennon’s Imagine and Nina Simone’s Mississippi Goddam have stood as important rallying points; so the question is, what will you do with your platform? Recycle the glories of the past, write throwaway tunes in the quest for fame or actually use it as a vehicle to exchange ideas? Why try to smash through physical barricades when with music you can smash through perceptions and apathy. Anyway, enough of the Ben Elton type rhetoric, on with the show.

And there are countless options to connect with live music this week, unless you do count them in which case there are about 15, starting tonight at The Beehive. Keegan McInroe seems to spend more time touring Europe than he does in his at his Texas home and tonight is the first of two opportunities to catch his finely woven threads of country, blues, folk and roots Americana; he is aided and abetted by various great and good of local music.

Friday sees the first of three gigs at The Castle, a venue that has consistently upped it’s game over the last year or so to become an integral part of the local circuit, with The Roughnecks bringing their incendiary brand of gritty, old school rhythm and blues.

If you are looking for familiar sounds then you have the options of either ska covers at The Victoria with The Killertones or the genre hopping Corduroy Kings at The Rolleston.

Going against the normal flow, Saturday sees a real spike in creativity as two of Swindon’s most prominent bands have record launch shows taking place. Colour The Atlas have made a name for themselves creating wonderfully cinematic, hazy trip-hop and although they have managed to secure some impressive tours and support some big name artists, when it comes to launching new material they are real home birds which means that you can catch them showcasing their new e.p. Amethyst at The Castle. If something more driven is your preference then Level 3 plays host to popular and dynamic alt-rockers A Way With Words, who are launching their own e.p. Reflections the very same night.

Two fundraisers also take place, firstly to raise money for a humanitarian trip to Kenya. Music for this evening comes from Kate Musty, Meghann Newcombe, Westways, Misfires and Sahara Heights. The other worthy cause to get behind is Moonfest and more about that can be found elsewhere on this page.

Rock tribute acts go head to head, Wizards of Oz (Ozzy Osbourne) are at The Rolleston and Hot Red Chilli Peppers (do I really need you spell this one out?) entertain The Victoria.

Mr Love and Justice host their usual Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Central Library, joining them this time is Southern Harmony, who splice Americana and Celtic folk musical genes to impressive effect and hard hitting tribal funk-folk duo Insitu. If you still have a thirst for music after that you can continue into the evening at The Castle with Cristian Perugino.

Wednesday is surprisingly busy this week. It is the second chance to catch Texas blues man Keegan McInroe as he joins the bill at The Roaring Donkey along side ex-Snakes guitarist Richard Davis and new roots-pop duo, Bruce Street Bridges (named after an old time Chicago music hall crooner I believe.)   Also roots collective S’Go ( pictured) can be found at The Gluepot and at Level 3 things get heavy with punks Bob Malmstrom and metallers Bludger, Harmony Disorder and Belial.

10349094_566351956803162_3626054594936056313_nAnd so the “Kanye at Glastonbury” debate trundles on with an army of armchair Foo Fighters fans getting outraged on our behalf and trying to find ever more convoluted reasons to justify the fact that they simply don’t like his music. So? Maybe they are forgetting what a festival, especially one the size of Glastonbury (no Glasto…never Glasto!) is all about. Take a road trip to the heart of the West Country, be part of a temporary city of music fans, meet some interesting people, have a drink, get a bit …err…merry (that’s code by the way but this is a family paper,) take in some Cuban Jazz, a 1940’s Swing Band or a Canadian comedian (aren’t they all these days?) head out to the fringe events and learn to juggle. The options are endless. With literally 1000’s of acts to choose from why worry about one act, on one day, on one stage! That said, I stopped going when people in designer wellies from Kent began putting picket fences around their camping area to demarcate their own suburban plot from their neighbours.

 

And our own music week kicks off in fairly eclectic style as well. Level 3 has a wonderful slice of alt-rock spearheaded by Maidenheads Hindsights, a melodic, riff driven, energetic young band and the more abrasive growl of Hereford’s Richa. Slightly at odds with the headline sound, the more wistful indie-folk of Bad News (no, not that one…a different one) play the middle slot and local bands Dreamcatcher and Sahara Heights add an element of moody indie and shimmering shoegaze to the night.

 

At The Victoria Talk In Code will be throwing stadium tunes, euphoric vibes, accessible dance-rock and a spade load of pop sensibility into the mix to deliver their trade mark cross genre fusions. They are joined by the similarly anthemic Echotape and the pop rock of The Fuse.

Meanwhile at The Beehive, The Sitting Tenants offer up English garage band psychedelia, power-pop and modish rock.

 

On Friday, again Level 3 provides the big draw of the night. The Green Gig is a fundraiser on behalf of the Swindon Green Party, but politics aside it’s a fantastic line up. The Headliners, Kid Calico and the Astral Ponies are a supergroup with ex-members from Belarus, Good Things Happen in Bad Towns and Sunday Dogs, to name a few and a neat line in Americana, music hall and raggle-taggle folk. Joining them, conjuring reflective dreamscapes and indie, pastoral sweetness is Colour the Atlas (pictured). Ian Doeser and Neil Mercer get the night underway.

 

After that original music gets a bit harder to find, though fans of classic rock and metal covers will find a lot that they like from either Kok Rok at The Rolleston and Shepherds Pie at The Victoria. All styles, eras and genres can be found at The Liden Arms courtesy of Penfold.

 

Similarly, Saturday continues to cater for the denim-jacketed brigade with more classic rock covers from Broken Image at The Swiss Chalet. If you are fans of rock and rolls most successful survivors, then The Victoria is the place to be for The Rollin’ Clones.

 

Barrelhouse will be playing vintage blues with a hard edge that takes in Chicago’s heritage and the sound of the early English blues-rock movement at The Rolleston and Riffs Bar is the place to be for something with more of a bucolic vibe to it. Rob Richings deals in vocal harmony driven folk that uses indie and pop borrowings to keep it fresh and contemporary. Joining him is Ethemia, a duo renowned for the timeless quality and sensitivity of their songs and the inspirational Leon Daye. Getting the night underway The Southern Harmony, a band featuring three ex-members of Bateleurs, will be playing their debut show.

 

Jim Reynolds takes the afternoon slot at The Beehive on Sunday, filling the room with music that taps into everything from blues to ragtime, music hall to folk.

 

If something a bit more energetic is your sort of thing then The Victoria that evening is the place to be. Stillbust give a new twist to the hardcore genre and Foxpunch blend gritty punk, ska and a thrashier edge into what they adequately describe as speed grunge. Opening that show are Strength In Blunders.

 

And finally, Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey you can catch the wonderfully upbeat and infectiously soulful acoustica of The Real Raj.

 

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10349094_566351956803162_3626054594936056313_nWith the exception of Tibetan Jazz aficionados and fans of the burgeoning Polynesian trip-hop scene, most musical tastes will be catered for this week. Variety, as they say is the spice of life and this weeks musical offerings prove to be a particularly fine condiment of existence.

 

Acoustic buffs should head to The Victoria tonight for a rather special triptych of players, headed by Darren Eeddens, a bluegrass and honky-tonk folkster as at home on the banjo as he is the guitar. A story telling troubadour in the truest sense, he describes himself as an old soul with the imagination of a child. Local support comes in the form of the elemental sounds of Drew Bryant and the atmospheric endeavours of Andrew Burke.

 

The newly revamped Beehive will be echoing to the sounds of Built For Comfort who channel the sound and the vibe of a late night, smoky, back room Chicago blues club.

 

And Friday, it would seem, is the new Saturday judging by the amount of gigs you have to choose from, a myriad of styles and genres running from the sublime to the ridiculous. Representing the sublime is Faye Rogers at Riffs Bar. Hers is a sound that has grown gracefully from an innocent, “girl with guitar” solo spot to a band that soundscape around the tunes with shimmering guitar riffs, sensuous cello washes and less is more beats. Joining her is Antoine Architeuthis who mixes Celtic jauntiness with sweeping English pastoral folk sounds and just a splash of eastern spiritualism to weave an exotic musical tapestry.

 

Representing the ridiculous (only joking chaps) is The Hamsters from Hell, rhythm and booze experts whose talents at wrapping a risqué lyric around a grinding r ‘n’b groove is exceeded only by the speed at which they can run up an impressive bar tab. Catch them at The Queens Tap.

 

It’s folk Jim, but not as we know it. Actually it’s The Model Folk. Forget finger in the ear, bearded, jumper wearing folk police who still harbour a grudge over Dylan going electric, this is Balkan inspired, punked up gypsy folk with a fixation for railways, soviet farming machinery and 1930s drag queens…apparently. Catch them at The Beehive not least because they use the word rumbustious in their band biog’ and you have to admire a band who keep such words in circulation.

 

Level 3 continues in its mission to throw off the gothic imagery and nu-metal fixations of the past (I can see the music forums ablaze already over such a comment) and embrace a broader musical sensibility by hosting a night of reggae. Empower the Gambia, a charity that aims to improve conditions in rural Gambia brings you cool reggae sounds from Bobo Blackstar and The Tribe.

 

Something more familiar can be found at The Victoria with Fleetwood Bac (I’ll let you work out what they are all about) and at The Rolleston where The Dark Eyes will be playing covers through the ages from the sixties to the present.

 

In a change from their usual Thursday slot, those awfully nice people at Songs of Praise have a Saturday show at The Victoria. The top slot is taken by Colour the Atlas (pictured) a band whose chilled, cinematic and atmospheric brand of trip-pop (if such a term is allowed) has seen them lauded by critics and touring with the likes of Newton Faulkner. Check out their brilliant new single “That Sound” now and then watch them live, right on your doorstep. Also clutching a new release is Alex Rainsford, who creates a sound that embraces the drive of rock and the dexterity of folk and throws in soaring vocals and heartfelt sentiments. And opening the night is Charlie Bath a singer-songwriter who needs no introduction to the discerning local music fan. If a crystal clear yet warm vocal, emotive lyrics and wonderfully crafted songs are your sort of thing, then make sure you get to this gig on time.

 

If you are after something more visceral, then The Rolleston may have the answers, as The Keith Thompson Band will be firing off salvos on incendiary blues-rock in the style of Moore and Gallagher.

 

And finally the Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive has what can be best described as “3 in the morning, porch blues” courtesy of David Bristow.

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.

 

Library - 47The weather may not be reflecting the fact but with three festival gatherings taking place in town in the coming week, to quote Fountains of Wayne – it must be summer. Yes, the rain will be getting slightly warmer, the hail marginally softer, there will be far fewer half dead umbrellas littering the streets and maybe you will be able to use those sunglasses you optimistically bought two months ago, just maybe.

 

Taking these main events in isolation from the rest of the gigging week, it goes a bit like this. The biggest event of the weekend is Riffstock, over at Riffs Bar, (naturally) which features ska, pop, and Indie on Friday and a more family orientated bill on Monday. The two days between are all about rock and metal inside the venue with an acoustic stage outside, best to check the venues website for the full listing.

 

Of a more acoustic, folk and rootsy nature is the Sunbeat Festival at The Sun Inn at Coate Water aptly on Sunday. Again check online for full details but highlights for me are the evocative voice and piano of Louise Latham, the joyous vibe of The Real Raj, the ethereal Faye Rogers and festival favourites Bateleurs.

 

The third and by far the weirdest of the three is the Duck Race which takes place by The Running Horse on Monday and to help celebrate this quirky event the venue’s garden will be filled with great music from the likes of Ethemia, Benji Clements, Josie and The Outlaw, The Blue Trees and Nick Felix.

 

Right, now with the big stuff covered, this is what the rest of the week looks like. Tonight, after what seems like a long time absent from the parish, Talk In Code bring their vibrant, dance rock to The Victoria. Once musically written off as Dad Rock, now they are more like the CD that your musical savvy big brother refuses to lend you. Support is from Jimmy Moore and Marky Thatcher. The Beehive revels in Funke and The Two Tone Baby, a one-man operation that is based around loop-induced, psychedelic blues.

 

Rock and Metal fans not content with the raft of box ticking acts to be found at Riffstock over the weekend can start a day early by heading over there tonight for a six band line up. Headliner, Girls That Scream, is a collision of dance beats and white hot metal riffs and AshestoAngels are a riot of dark energy, glorious synth washes, aggression and melody. Also make sure you catch I’m Designer a band that play with sound in such a way that I can only describe them as indescribable.

 

On Friday, Shaun Buswell is at The Victoria talking about his recent 121212 Challenge, there will be music from a small version of the band and probably slides, flip charts and pointy sticks. All sounds very Dave Gorman to me. If that’s not your sort of thing, maybe a trip to The Beehive instead for Port Erin, a band that deconstruct rock music and blend it with jazz, funk and chilled late night vibes.

 

Original music is hard to find on Saturday but if you aim to watch The Four Fighters at The Victoria you will get to see the soaring, Muse-esque creations of False Gods. Sunday on the other hand is rammed with options.

 

The big draw is going to be at The Oasis when Jahmene Douglas and Josh Kumra return home to headline a Best of Swindon show. For my money, however, the more interesting acts are further down the bill (nothing personal Josh but I really liked Kicaberry!) in the shape of the wonderfully considered and spacey music of Colour The Atlas and Theo Altieri.

 

Elsewhere you can find acoustic, jazz-folk courtesy of Cindy Stratton and Marius Frank at The Beehive, dance floor classics at The Victoria with The Funk’daMentals and piano led, jazz standards at Baker Street from The Alex Steele Trio.

 

More jazz, again at Baker Street with saxophonist Dom Franks on Tuesday but a trip to the Art Centre will reward you with an acoustic show by folk legends Fairport Convention. (pictured)

 

Wednesday is all about rounding off a busy week at The Running Horse with another outing for the soulful and atmospheric Benji Clements and the ubiquitous rising star Charlie-Anne Bradfield.

Library - 24Review by PfalzDxii

I had been looking forward to this concert since first it was announced. I had never seen Faye Rogers before, but had heard good things about her songs. I had seen Colour the Atlas a few times, Jen Olive, as often as I can, and Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, just once. I knew it was going to be a great concert, and in aid of a very good cause, too.

I arrived early so I could sit fairly close to the front so I could have a good view. Both the front pews were empty, but I chose not to sit in them. Habit really, a trick I learned decades ago because…. but no, that’s another story. Christ Church is not as old as some, but it has its own history, a fact that is evident as soon as you enter. Long since, has the church just been seen as a place for worship, and for christenings, marriages, and funerals! I had gone with a relative, and as we chose our seats, I made sure the person in front of me wouldn’t block my view. There were helpers from the church and from the charity. There were a few local musicians lending a hand, too. The atmosphere was of joyful expectation, and the audience was many and varied. There were little children and persons of all ages, right up to my own.

When it came time to begin the concert, Marie Lennon stepped up to the mic. Oh yes, this was a proper music concert, with amps and everything! It had been advertised as candle-lit, and so it was, there were candles everywhere. There were also fairy lights adorning the front of the “stage”, and around the mic stand. Most of the effect was lost for the time being as light was streaming in through the stained glass windows. Marie was visibly shaken by the number of people now seated in front of her. I don’t know how many she had expected. I don’t know how many had pre-booked. She sounded so happy as she thanked everyone for attending and spoke of the charity. She then looked around for the first act, whilst announcing the name of Faye Rogers. Slowly, the young lady seated immediately in front of me, stood up, walked down the aisle, and onto the stage.

Faye is a singer/songwriter who performs standing, whilst playing guitar. She sings with a clear crisp voice. Her voice full of emotion, singing songs of love and emotion. Young love, new love. Not for the last time that evening, a singer thanked the audience for the applause. What a revelation Faye was. She held the audience with wonderful songs and in the manner of their delivery. Her Soundcloud name is fayelaura7. Go and listen for yourself.

Jess Hall is the singer in the band “Colour the Atlas”. Her three male colleagues play guitar, keyboard, and drums. During the performance I smiled, not only because I was enjoying the wonderful singing of Jess, but at the restraint from the band. I have seen them play much louder in venues. They seemed at half volume befitting the surroundings. Oh, what a marvellous evening. So musical. So moody. So good.

At the beginning of the evening, Marie had announced that there were four acts. Three local, and Emily Barker. This simple sentence had put me in the right frame of mind for the evening. Yes indeed, Emily is an Australian. That means that Jen Olive from Albuquerque is now a Swindon local. Yes she is currently living here, and I believe she would like to, permanently, and that would suit me very well. Why, well I have been in love with Jen Olive’s music for a number of years now, and attend her gigs when I can. Jen is fun. Her music is fun. It is complicated. It is quirky. It has strange time signatures, and she sings with a verve that few will ever be able to match. As Jen started her set, darkness descended outside. We now sat through the evening in candle light. The temperature too dropped. It all added to the sense of occasion. For the first half of her set, she sang and played her guitar, alone. She sat facing the audience. She too thanked them for their applause. She explained to those that didn’t already know, her delight in Swindon’s music scene. Not many musicians could keep up with her deliciously strange and beautiful rhythms, but Stu Rowe, can. For the second half of her set, Stu played bass guitar with her. Jen and Stu were playing together for the first time in three years. I was on my own Cloud 9.

Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo are not from around these parts. That meant they had to travel here to give of their time and their talent. They did this for the charity. They did this, as all the acts did, for the sake of others. They announced that the following night they had a gig in Manchester. Did they stint their performance because of this? No, of course not. They played a blinder. Emily Barker, together with the three ladies who make up her band, gave a superb performance. Emily played guitar whilst singing. Her band played violin/viola, accordion, and cello. What an all encompassing warm and delightful sound. What an evening. At the end, Emily asked the other acts back on stage for a finale. Refuge has captured this moment in a photograph. Faye, Jess, Emily flanked by two of her band, and Jen. There was clapping, some cheering, and a few even stood.

This had been an evening to savour. Refreshments had been complimentary. At the end, there was still wine left over, and people were asked to finish it. I had been looking forward to the evening very much, and it had excelled my expectations. Thank you one and all. I do so hope that lots of money was raised for the Women’s Refuge.

Library - 23After the doom and gloom of recent events surrounding venue closures, it’s good to see that the town can still put a full event diary in front of its discerning gig going public. Maybe it’s the fact that the rain has got slightly warmer and the Met Office is predicting another half our of sunshine sometime in late August, but what ever the reason there is plenty to choose from this week.

We start with a change in the previously advertised schedule. Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight was to feature one of the most popular bands on their roster, The James Warner Prophecies, but sadly their travel plans for some European festival dates mean that they are no longer available. But fear not, their replacement comes in the shape of False Gods who alchemize elements of Muse and The Manics to make their music an intriguing proposition. Headliners Empire manage to blend pop melody into hard and angular rock deliveries and opening the night is Babies vs. Rabies, who are like nothing you have experienced before, unless you have come across music that is in turn hypnotic, oppressive, violent, atmospheric, brutal and car crash beautiful, sort of like a cross between an art-punk band and a napalm strike. Or a concerto for guitar and hand grenade!

The Hive has similarly original music on offer in the form of The Blue Trees, a stripped back, lo-fi, roots rock sound that will appeal to fans of The Black Keys, the Black Crows and even some bands with other colours in their title.

True legends can be found at The Wyvern Theatre when Colin Blunstone and virtuoso organist Rod Argent lead The Zombies through all the classics. Fifty years on and the band still sound amazing. Those with more of a jazz leaning might wish to head for the Arts Centre as The Bateman Brothers, aided by a host of famous friends, pay tribute to Louis Armstrong.

Staying at The Arts Centre for Friday and it’s the welcome return of Lotte Mullan; story telling, contemporary folk and famous for her “inside the music business blog.” Musically think Laura Marling meets Loretta Lynn, but her stories make her more like the Bridget Jones of the music industry. More folk can be found at The Beehive with Bateleurs, this time a sort of trans-Atlantic blend that makes you think that if Dylan had not been born alongside Highway 61 but had embraced the A1 in the same mythical fashion, these songs might have been the result.

Two big events happening on Saturday, firstly the Fieldview Festival Launch show at The Victoria. Fieldview is one of the success stories of the local festival scene and their launch show will give you a taste of the event to come, a host of acts to catch including the channeling of the spirits of long forgotten delta bluesmen by Sam Green and The Midnight Heist and the Cameron Brothers (the people who brought you Old School Tie) current brilliant musical vehicle, Weatherstorms.

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Refuge gig at the Museum and Art Gallery where a combination of some stunning music, a very worthy cause and a wonderfully intimate setting made for an unforgettable night out. Following last years success, this years event, to raise money for Swindon Women’s Aid, will take place at Christ Church, Old Town and features the harmonious arrangements and velvet vocals of Emily Barker and Red Clay Halo (pictured), the mathy-acoustic intricacies of Jen Olive, the emotionally rich and beautifully economical songs of Colour The Atlas and the pin drop talents of Faye Rogers. I can’t recommend this show highly enough.

The place to be on Monday is in the garden of The Running Horse as their Acoustic Garden show is an all day celebration of the brilliant music they host their through out the year. This cast of thousands, okay, cast of many, includes Gilmore n’ Jaz, Louise Latham, Alice Offley, Benji Clements and Ethemia. And that’s not the half of it, so get down there for more music than you can shake a shaky thing at.

On Tuesday, drummer Dave Betts brings his Latin Jazz Quartet to Baker Street; so put your dancing shoes on and revel in this wonderful jazz, funk and Latin fusion driven by by Dave’s kit and congas, timbales and tablas. Very exotic!