Tag Archive: corsairs (the)


10527280_10152330974168207_4463687671351127442_nThere is quite a bit to get through this week so I will just get right to it without the usual pre-amble.

 

Starting, as usual, at The Victoria tonight, and a great alt-rock line up that marks the welcome return of SkyBurnsRed. A band known for their ability to mix heavy guitar lines and pounding backbeats with the deftness of classical strings and subtle dynamics, this much acclaimed quartet make a worthy headline. Joining them are the richly textured mix of math rock meets grunge meets melody of Dead Royalties and the dark and heavy psychedelic trip that is Black Elephant.

 

If you prefer your music aged to perfection then you may want to catch Kent DuChaine at The Beehive. Authentic delta blues, channelling the long forgotten ghosts of the genre and played on a 1934 National steel guitar, you can almost smell the mint julep and hear the screen door slamming!

 

If you are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary on Friday then you should check out the Swindon Young Singer/Songwriter Showcase being held at Commonweal School, a chance to support the budding talent of the future.

 

All sorts of groovy is taking place elsewhere. At The Rolleston you can indulge in your love of all things vintage reggae, rocksteady and sixties ska with The Erin Bardwell Collective and if you haven’t secured yourself a copy of their excellent new album, Our Time, then this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Dancing shoes will also be required if you venture up to The Victoria as Felix and The Funk will be setting out a musical stall of funk, soul, pop, dance and disco floor fillers. The Swiss Chalet offer something a bit more leftfield, psychobilly to be exact, a soundclash of rockabilly and punk, ska and old school rock and roll, courtesy of The Corsairs. A different kind of footwear is required if you go to The MECA as they are running their ever popular roller disco.

 

Saturday has a couple of nice selections for those of a heavy rock persuasion, one of which, Soulmover, is a brand new outfit who aim to meld the inherent weirdness of Zappa, the soulful undercurrent of Cream and the drive and delivery of Led Zeppelin. They can be found out at Riffs Bar. At Level 3 more familiar sounds can be found as Dirty/DC play tribute to the seminal Aussie rockers AC/DC. Punk and new wave sounds are also being paid homage to firstly at The Victoria with Absolute Blondie and also at The Swiss Chalet as Distant Echo revive the greatness of The Jam.

 

Other offerings are The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s who will be spinning iconic ska and reggae tunes at The Beehive and The Teddy White Band at The Rolleston. This long established and ever evolving quintet play upbeat r’n’b, blues, beat and boogie from the 40’s to the 60’s fronted by a brilliant vocal contrast between Anish’s soaring clarity and Pete’s Waitsian, demonic deliveries. Highly recommended.

 

The Castle provides the setting for a rare outing by Black Cat, a band that even I, as someone who writes about music on a daily basis have trouble trying to describe succinctly, but who may just be Swindon’s answer to The Fall. …or possibly Black Lace! You will just have to go along and make your own mind up.

 

With the return of The Shudders (pictured) frontman from his global travels, the band are back out in gigging mode and you can find them playing The Beehive, a venue that they almost destroyed as the final act of last years Swindon Shuffle Festival, at the Sunday afternoon session. Blending lo-fi indie, country and rock into very melodic and instantly accessible creations plus some seriously good vocal harmonies and infectious grooves, this will be the perfect way to round off the weekend.

 

And, very briefly, two more for you diary. On Monday you will find the much-lauded Rumours of Fleetwood Mac at The Wyvern Theatre and on Wednesday Drew Bryant brings his elemental pop folk to The Roaring Donkey.

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1911895_10152290934490225_884172200_nA quick look around the music history archives reveals that on this day in 1969 we lost one of the coolest and most influential guitarists of recent time, Brian Jones. As the founder member of the Rolling Stones he helped fuse American blues with the evolving pop music scene and as a consequence helped define the sound and attitude of the sixties and in many ways laid foundation stones for the development of future music culture. Brian would have been 72 today. As if to balance the loss of such an icon, today also marks the birthday of Kevin Hearn of Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, without whom we wouldn’t have the theme tune to The Big Bang Theory. Swings and Roundabouts!

 

Well, plenty of music to sink your teeth into this coming week, starting tonight at The Victoria, where those Songs of Praise chaps bring you something a bit special. After a number of critically acclaimed gigs in Swindon, particularly a much talked about set at last years Shuffle that blew collective minds …not to mention socks off of the audience, Dead Royalties are back with another dose of slightly mathy, grungy, alt-rock. They are joined by Vault of Eagles (pictured) who mix the Neolithic groove of The Bad Seeds with the warped beauty of P J Harvey to great effect. Opening up is Si Hall.

 

Bluesier options come in the shape of roots guitarist Gwyn Ashton at Riffs Bar, a wonderful blend of the sounds of The Delta and southern juke joints, New Orleans vibes, jazz and country and if that isn’t well travelled enough for you Kangaroo Moon are at The Beehive to deliver cosmic blends of pastoral, otherworldly vibes, haunting washes of timeless sound, hypnotic folk, dance and psychedelia. In the words of a wise man…well, Forrest Gump…you never know what you are going to get.

 

Culture Vultures may want to take notice of the fact that as part of The Old Town Festival, acclaimed pianist Paul Turner will be playing a lunchtime recital of the music of Debussy at Christ Church.

 

Friday sees the first of two shows this week from Sheer Music, a promotional team well known for bringing top class bands into town and their show at The Victoria doesn’t disappoint as they usher in The Computers. This is a band who are equally at home with the power of punk and hardcore as they are with pop melody and the result often comes off like Black Flag covering Elvis Costello. Intrigued? You should be. Support comes from All Ears Avow and Scout Killers.

 

If for no other reason than they have gigged with one of my favourite bands, Citizen Fish, you should try to catch Mad Apple Circus who are at The Rolleston playing a brilliant, tight and original blend of ska/hip-hop/jazz/reggae fusion. Another non-musical reason to watch is to see just how this, often 10-piece ensemble, are going to all fit in. Miss these guys at your peril.

 

More chilled sounds can be found at The Beehive as Swindon’s favourite Canadian music migrant, David Celia returns with his unique brand of witty pop and oft surreal visions whilst The Regent Acoustic Circus this month plays host to Nick Felix (also catch him at The Royal Oak on Saturday), Paul Griffin and Ells Ponting’s new musical vehicle, The Southern Wild.

Saturday is the usual nostalgia trip. At Level 3 Syntronix play the big hits of the eighties (and I didn’t even bang on about The Smiths and New Model Army once…damn,) and at Riffs Bar, In It For The Money play a range of covers. Rock fans have either the music of Guns ‘n’Roses at The Victoria or KoK Rok playing classic rock and metal at The Rolleston. Reggae and ska fans will probably opt for The Shocks of Might DJ’s at The Beehive.

 

However you can support your local community at The Bowl as The Old Town Festival hosts music from 1 o’clock with acts including The Undulations, The Corsairs, Darren Hunt, Zing and Get Carter.

 

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon Session at The bandstand in the Old Town Gardens is another show for David Celia plus country tinged folkster Rachel Gittus and as ever, hosts Mr Love and Justice.

 

Final shout goes to the other Sheer Music organised show which brings Cornish punk exiles Gnarwolves to The Victoria on Wednesday aided and abetted by 2 Sick Monkeys, The Rebecca Riots and With Ghosts.

 

 

 

 

 

936668_10151582452128891_1408839903_nIt seems a bit of a quieter week all round, but then I have had a bit of a problem gathering information as of late. Without going into specifics, here is a radical idea for venues, promoters and bands – tell people about your event! Better still, tell people like me who can get the information out to thousands of people, In the words of Werhner von Braun, “it’s not rocket science” (pause until the sound of a wave of people googling him dies down.)

 

Tonight sees the very welcome return of an artist that Swindon has taken to it’s heart, Louise Latham. Blending an ethereal voice with emotive piano lines, the result is a wonderful dream pop soundscape and a collection of songs that already sound like classics. She is joined by the soulful acoustica of Benji Clements and Friends and the delicate and heartfelt creations of Drew Bryant. All that takes place under the Songs of Praise banner at The Victoria tonight.

 

A couple of people have told me that I need to check out The Darwin Republic, so I did, well, I tried to. Unfortunately, as if to ram home the point of my opening paragraph, at the time of submitting this article there was no information about them on the venue website and they appear to have no on-line presence, though I can’t decide if that is a clever campaign of deliberate mystique and anti-marketing or just lack of promotion. Though I can say that if you go to The Beehive tonight you will almost definitely….find them there.

 

No questions about the calibre of the band playing The Beehive on Friday though. Port Erin are one of those bands that genuinely challenge the listener to pigeon hole them, which is something I admire in a band. They manage to meander through jazz vibes, trippy funk workouts, rock drives and wrap them up in a chilled, unified groove. The Rolleston offers rockabilly in the form of The Corsairs and elsewhere it is covers and tributes all the way with Peleton playing mod, ska and soul at The Victoria and The Floydian Doors at The Castle paying tribute to…well, I’m sure you can work it out.

 

If you want to get out into the fresh air on Saturday (weather permitting) and take in some great music then the place to be is at The Old Town Bowl where The Reggae Garden brings you the best of the genre from midday. Macca B, Solo Banton and Murray Man all front their respective bands plus you can catch local rocksteady outfit, The Erin Bardwell Collective and a host of other acts.

 

The Arts Centre has a bit of a treat for you as no less than ex-Yes guitar shaman Steve Howe pays a visit. But prog fans be warned, this isn’t going to be a  note perfect rendition of Tales From Topographic Oceans, although some of the back catalogue is revisited, as the band explore jazz and country swing alongside the more expected numbers.

 

Pretty much at the opposite edge of the spectrum, dirty rhythm and blues is on offer at The Queens Tap. Looking like a cast of villains from The Sweeney and sounding like Dr Feelgood and The Blockheads fighting in a back alley, The Hamsters From Hell have become local legends for their ability to entertain and offend in equal measure. Crimes against songwriting are also being considered.

 

The rest of Saturday comes in the shape of Hypermused, a tribute to Teignmouth’s most famous alt-rock trio and at The Rolleston, Kok Rok will be setting their tongues firmly in their cheeks and performing the best of classic rock.

 

If harp driven Chicago R’n’b is your sort of thing then get down to The Beehive on Sunday for the afternoon session with Built For Comfort. (Note to younger readers – a harp is what bluesman call the harmonica and r’n’b was a sub-genre of rock and roll before it was applied to lip synching girl bands wiggling to landfill pop tunes, so don’t turn up expecting Little Mix with a classical string section.)

 

And finally on to Wednesday and the usual great offerings from the two midweek acoustic shows. The Running Horse goes blues with established local blues guitar aficionado Ian O’Regan and uber-talented new kid on the block Adam Sweet.

 

 

Meanwhile The Roaring Donkey has the wonderful Chalice, a folk band that brings the sound of the 60’s folk revival bang up to date. Imagine the Albion Band with Court and Spark era Joni Mitchell guesting and you get an idea of why you need to check this band out.

Library - 25Isn’t science great? I was reading a report in New Made-up Scientist recently that Zoologists have discovered that the mental powers of Slipknot fans are far greater than previously imagined. In a series of experiments conducted in a research facility in Hogwash, Colorado involving dozens of Slipknot fans, bearded scientists found that many were able to count to 20, had the potential to perform simple sums and even had a basic vocabulary consisting of a handful of words such as “Slipknot” and “Rule.” Professor Dan Geek who led the team said “ This evidence of intelligence has taken us by surprise and is causing us to rethink what we know about these particular primates.” In a prepared statement Slipknot said, “This proves what we always said, our fans ain’t stupid. They know a whole bunch of stuff, y’know, like stuff and stuff like that”

Thankfully your faith in intelligent music can be restored by a visit to Riffs Bar tonight. If you thought Red Jasper had been consigned to local music mythology, you will be pleased to know that they are back out as a gigging band delivering their trade mark symphonic rock meets folk blend that puts them somewhere between classic era Jethro Tull and early Marillion and with Bristol prog stalwarts Crimson Sky supporting, this is a brilliant line up.

More rootsy sounds can be found at The Victoria with the funky lap-blues of Jim “Hiproute” Blair and the shamanistic folk and emotive bluesy vibes that make up Stone Donkey Pilots. The Beehive, meanwhile, will be grooving to the gypsy-jazz swing of Ruba Tempo.

Friday is a big night out at Riffs Bar as Beauty with a Purpose (and not a Porpoise as it said in one listing!), a longstanding and immensely important global children’s charity, have lined up a host of fund raising great acts including Ethemia, Echo, Benji Clements and Aiden Moore. Great cause. Great music.

The Beehive opts for laid back music from  Stressechoes a band described as “a triumph of heart-on-sleeve storytelling supported by beautiful, understated music” and with the simple musical lines of Juey also on the bill it will be a cracking gig. The delectable R’n’B sounds of The Teddy White Band can be found at The Royal Oak.

If you want a fuller band experience, then there are a number of options. Nudybronque play Riffs Bar as headliners for the Secret Chord’s latest show, underground, post punk, inspired pop, melody and memorable tunes, they may have evolved but they haven’t lost the glint in the eye and tongue in cheek drive that keeps them self-deprecating, grounded and a joy to watch. Also on the bill is Jim Johnston, currently operating as a two-piece but still running a great line in brittle, fractious guitar lines and dark yet bluesy undercurrents. New chaps on the block Devotion get the night underway.

Missin’ Rosie are at The Manor and The Corsairs grace the New Inn but if punk is more your thing then the Victoria tonight provides the first of two shows that should tick your musical boxes. The UK Subs now enter their eighth decade (probably not true) as leading lights of the punk scene and they bring with them the Dropkick Murphy’s inspired Criminal Mind and Proud City Fathers. The other gig in this pairing comes with Charred Hearts playing The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon show may have now relocated to The Central Library but they haven’t lost their ear for good music. This time it is the turn of the luscious Latin Jazz of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz, the romantic nature of Jess Vincent and as always hosted by Mr Love and Justice.

Other options for the day of rest come with the effortless, vibrant blues of Retramantic who play 20 at the Kings in Wood Street and the Sax fronted trad jazz of The Don Franks Duo at Baker Street.

Playing the week out, on Tuesday at Baker Street, it’s jazz from virtuoso guitarist Esmond Selwyn and the organ lead brilliance from The John-Paul Gard Trio and Wednesday at The Running Horse acoustic treats come in the shape of Pete Taylor and The Right Hooks.

Library - 53So here we are, last column of the year and for obvious reasons not a lot of original music about as venues err on the side of the festive favourites, the cheesy music and the fun time bands to accompany their Christmas parties, and that’s as it should be. But I would like to use the extra space to say a few thanks and have a look back over the year.

 

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my efforts to try and bring worthy, interesting and breaking bands to your attention, I know it really comes down to my, often strange, personal taste but hopefully you have checked out some of them and hopefully discovered some great new music along the way.

 

Although it has been a difficult year, especially with the news that The Big Arts Day will be no more plus the loss of the brilliant BBC Wiltshire Introducing show, not to mention the 12 Bar closing, I still think there is a lot to be proud of regarding local music. This year musicians from this area could be found supporting The Levellers and Newton Faulkner and following in the footsteps of Josh Kumra, Gabrielle Aplin (pictured), made it to the top of the charts. The Shuffle came back bigger and better this year with more venues and bands being involved, Summer Breeze managed to attract artists of the calibre of K T Tunstall and in general there are more original bands of a higher quality than ever before just waiting to burst out of the area and start making a name for themselves.

 

All sounds pretty good to me but of course these successes can only happen if there is the support from the public, so remember to get out there, keep the venues in business and thereby keep the bands in work so they can entertain, develop their live skills, evolve and reach fruition. If between all the partying, boozing, food and general shennanighins there is time to catch a band, then maybe one of these will suffice.

 

Tonight at The Victoria is The Songs of Praise/Green Man Music Christmas show. For their 25th and final show of the year they bring together two bands synonymous with their brand name, Nudybronque and SkyBurnsRed, bands that have had a brilliant year, are hallmarked by super charged live shows and neither have any understanding of grammatical spacing in their names.

 

Friday’s options have a bit of a retro feel to them. If ska is your thing then head along to the Beehive for the Nomarks in all their two-tone glory, probably just the tonic(s) you are after (geddit?) to dance away all the food and drink you have consummed this week. Also with influences rooted back in an earlier time, The Corsairs play The Rolleston. Now in their twentieth year they mix up rockabilly, punk and ska to create a unique psychobilly sound.

 

Saturday is all about the contemporary sound of rock and roll. Having caught Natural Tendency last time they played The Rolleston, I can tell you that they are well worth turning off the TV and missing out on The Only Way is Runcorn or Jeremy Spake: The Missing Years or what ever z-list celebrity dross is being offered up in the name of mainstream entertainment. This is a band that runs emotionally charged rock headlong into ambient keyboard washes and waves of frenzied synth grooves. It’s the future sound of rock music.

 

Meanwhile downstairs in The Furnace, South West Hardcore present their Dolls and Gangsters party with hardcore/metal onslaughts from The Hotel Ambush and Beyond Hurt, but make sure you catch openers Firefalldown who mix compelling punk aggression with accessible skater melodies and grooves that funk up and rock out in equal measure. Whichever of those two gigs you go to stick around afterwards for the Nightshift club night – industrial, darkwave, electronica, goth and more from the usual suspects.

 

On Sunday, again at The Rolleston you can catch a stripped back session from retro-rockers Josie and The Outlaw and after that it is all about the mayhem and madness of New Years Eve. As my distant relative, Benjamin Franklin so wisely put it “ Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – can’t say fairer than that.

 

So that’s another year done, have a great time over the festivities and I’ll see you at a gig somewhere soon, I’ll be the one leaning on the bar clutching a handful of Antwerp scene experimental rock demos and trying to argue that The Icicle Works were the greatest pop band ever to anyone who will listen. Have a blast out there.

This week might seem like a lull in the tsunami of musical delights that has engulfed the town of late, but believe me it is just a chance to get your breath back (and save up some more drinking money) before the summer really kicks in with a vengeance. But that’s not to say that amongst this week’s small but perfectly formed list of recommendations there aren’t a few real gems.

Such as at The Beehive tonight were the combined efforts of John Lewis and Jah-man Aggrey, better known as Two Man Ting, weave a magic tapestry of acoustic afro-pop and reggae rhythms which often includes a cover of Willi Williams classic Armagideon Time (punk fans with long memories or their parents record collections will recall this being the B-side to The Clash’s London Calling.)

More roots music farther up the hill with Roots Night at The Victoria with Jim from Hip Route heading the bill, which also contains the acoustic, harmony-fuelled, surf vibe and folk twist of Bournemouth trio Willowen.

The rock option to ease you into the weekend comes at STFC’s The Legends Lounge with an appearance from Limehouse Lizzy. I normally don’t big up the tribute acts but as this is one of the finest re-visits to the classic days of one of my all-time favourite bands – Thin Lizzy, it had to be done.

On Friday in support of their recent album release, The Blood Choir will be playing in Rise Records. Part Portishead atmospherics, part The National’s slow burn grooves and many parts literary references and poetic explorations, this is a great band. And if you like that then you might want to head up to The Victoria that evening for some more truly original bands. I managed to see the headline, Will and The People (pictured), when they were just getting going and they were great then, all reggae vibes youthful exuberance and brilliant moments of vocal harmonics that are shot through with the spirit of Teenage Fanclub or even The Beach Boys. Imagine how good they will be three years on from that.

Support is from Old Colours, cinematic, fragile, windswept and brilliant. In fact, find them online now, play the song Centre Line and try telling me it’s not only the most wonderfully fractured and beautifully layered soundscape you have heard in a long time…unless you actually have no soul.

Having dabbled with everything from space–rock to old-fashioned bogie blues, not to mentioned being touched by the hand of Hawkwind; it’s difficult to know what The Michael Burro Band will have on the menu. The only way to find out is to head along to The Beehive.

Saturday sees something for the young and the …err, not so young down on the corner of commercial road. Downstairs at The Furnace, Teenage Kicks will be offering up the best of the younger element. Rock and metal played out in the form of Wreckoning, Without Consequence, Brink of Reason and making their Swindon debut, The Faint and The Fallen. Meanwhile upstairs in The Rolleston it’s quiffs set to stun and time to dust off the brothel-creepers as psychobilly legends, The Corsairs hit town.

Something a bit more cultured takes place at the M.E.C.A. in the form of a two-course meal and entertainment by The Three Degrees, a group as big as they ever were despite having not boasted an original member since 1976.

One man who has really explored the roots of blues music is Ramon Goose. Having grown up on pre-war Delta Blues in 2010 he turned his attention to it’s West African origins spending time playing with musicians in Dakar and Senegal. The results of that trip and the album that captured its essence can be heard in The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

That evening back at The Rolleston, punk-popsters Disclosure will be mixing up the covers and original tunes in their own brilliant fashion and you never know if you talk to them nicely you might even bag a job as their new bassist.

Finally, Tuesday night Jazz at Baker Street will feature The Kevin Figes Quartet and guitar improviser extraordinaire, Mike Outram.