Tag Archive: count bobo and the bullion


1513283_506512192781069_1956845908_nA week may be a long time in politics but 10 years is certainly a long time in gig promotion and that’s how long Songs of Praise has been going. Blimey! Conceived as a way to support and promote the local original scene it has, under a revolving door of visionaries, music snobs, geeks and fantasists become one of the corner stones of original music in Swindon. Tonight it is time to celebrate that fact with a showcase of great bands and party at the Victoria and you are all invited.

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It makes a change to have some good news to report in this, a most difficult time for live music, so you will be pleased to hear that The Rolleston opened up again last weekend in pretty much the same shape that it left us in. With Status Promotions still the driving force behind the bookings you can expect the same mix of covers, tributes and originals, obviously with their trademark leanings towards the heavier end of the musical spectrum, but as they say, “if it ain’t broke, put the damn lump-hammer down.” Normal service, it would seem, has been resumed.

 

First though, tonight at The Victoria and a first outing for something very interesting. Spiral Key sit somewhere on a breaking wave where prog and metal collide. Channelling both classic era influences such as Rush and more recent bands such as Tinyfish the result is both big and clever, not bad at all for a two-piece! Alternately you can head down The Beehive for the wonderfully lazy, sax-led, rocksteady groove of Count Bobo and the Bullion.

 

Things get a bit busier as we move into the weekend proper.  Starting out at Riffs Bar, this might act as the perfect wind down to last weeks Riffstock Festival as The Secret Chord brings you a night of drum and bass with a difference. It’s true all the bands are made up of just, what is normally the rhythm section, but generically this night of four-legged foolery offers something a lot heavier. Spearheading the musical onslaught is 2 Sick Monkeys, fast, aggressive punk from the No Means No school of no messing about, complete with Pete’s legendary between song rants, GagReflex; simple, defiant, brave and obtuse (pictured) and as they put it “small enough to tour in a car, big enough to take your face clean off!” and up from Cornwall, Monolithian, a tsunami of doom and black metal intensity.

 

Those who don’t feel that they have the constitution for that still have plenty to choose from. Josie and The Outlaw will be giving it some old school rock’n’roll vibes at The Queens Tap, Dan (of Ocean Colour Scene fame) and Adam will be at The Rolleston and for those who want to break out the spandex and suede fringe jackets, Bon Giovi are strutting their stuff at The Victoria.

 

Probably the most interesting band of the night is to be found at The Beehive in the guise of Harry Bird and The Rubber Wellies. These travelling folkies are based in Bilbao and Dublin, create a cabaret of sing-a-long choruses, encourage audience participation and inhabit a world of pirates, lizards, cracks in the wall and Basque cycling songs. Sounds wonderfully bizarre.

 

Saturday is a good day to be a blues fan. At The Arts Centre, Head, Hands and Feet main man and sparing partner of the likes of Eric Clapton, Albert Lee and his backing band Hogan’s Heroes, bring their brand of high octane, invigorating blues-rock into town. Not to be outdone, The Rolleston is showcasing the best of the new breed in that field with the welcome return of The Laurence Jones Band.

 

Other serving suggestions are Reginald Road playing mainly originals in a rock, ska and punk vein at The  Tap and Barrel and the Destination Anywhere Dj’s will be getting their Motown, Northern Soul and Reggae groove on at The Victoria.

 

The Sunday afternoon slot at The Beehive is filled by Keith Thompson so be prepared for some of the best unplugged style, acoustic soul-blues you have heard in a long time. If you are still in the mood for mellow music after that, head up to Baker Street for some piano led, smooth trad jazz standards with The George Cooper Duo. More Jazz can be found here again on Tuesday with swinging jazz from trombonist Ian Bateman and his Quartet.

 

And so we arrive at our usual final destination, it’s Wednesday and we are at The Running Horse. The last hurrah comes in the form of folk and funk blending together courtesy of Withnail and I, plus the wonderful, tongue in cheek, “Scrumpy and Western” creations of Corky.

My ongoing quest for new music got me thinking the other day about just how original, original bands really are. I know I have a bit of a reputation for giving cover bands a difficult ride, so maybe it is time to look at the other side of the coin. Most of the previous decades have had their own iconic movements, the psychedelic sixties, the punk/post punk seventies, the hip-hop eighties and the rave nineties. Since then it’s been more difficult to identify any new defining movements. The last ten years or so seems to have been more about a nostalgic recycling of former glories. Ironically, retro seems to be the way forward, bands seem destined to be born of their parents record collections. Modern scenes worship at the temples to past movements, be it garage-punk, vintage soul, synth-pop or what ever, it still begs a few questions for the future of music. Where is the next musical frontier to be broken? Will pop eat itself? Does rock music end not with a bang but with a boxed set whose fourth disc you never get round to playing? Food for thought!

 

If you are going to mix up recognisable genres into interesting new musical shapes, then you should take note of James Warner Prophecies (pictured) who play The Victoria tonight.  Alchemising everything from hard rock to ska, music hall to grunge, punked up folk to out and out pop; familiar building blocks maybe but brilliant new interpretations nonetheless. They are supporting The Street Orphans who do similar sterling work re-treading the musical tires of the indie-rock vehicle. Also on the bill is Go Lazarus who fashion a neat line in atmospheric alternative rock.

 

Unapologetically playing that nostalgia card I mentioned earlier, Count Bobo and The Bullion tap into an authentic ska vibe reminiscent of The Skatelites or the legendary Prince Buster. They can be found at The Beehive.

 

Folk is on the cards over at Riffs Bar.  Albion host their monthly outing that aims to recreate the same vibe as the sixties revivalists who created the Greenwich Village scene in New York. If you are looking for somewhere to try out your songs, immerse yourself in the folk scene or just chill out and hear some good music then this is the place to be.

 

The stand out act for Friday is appearing at The Beehive and again create unique songs from recognisable building blocks. Bruise are a strange art house folk rock band with the shadow of The Eurythmics looming large over them and a hint of prog throwing wonderful spanners in the works. And that is only the half of it.

 

The Riffs Bar website announces a “ A new monthly metal night showcasing the best in original metal from around the country.” Sadly it fails to list any of the bands that are being showcased so I can’t really say too much more on that one.

 

After that originality is a bit thin on the ground though I must just mention that The Victoria is playing host to a Stone Roses tribute, not because I am necessarily enthralled with tribute acts but because even after all this time these particular Mancunian candidates remain high up in my estimation. If you don’t believe me just check out my “I am the Resurrection to replace the National Anthem” Facebook page.

 

I can’t seem to find one band for Saturday that pushes any envelopes, or even nips down the post office for a book of stamps for that matter. (Okay I know it’s not that sort of envelope…I’ve read Tom Wolfe thank you very much) So lets fast-forward to Sunday afternoon at The Beehive.

 

Peter Jagger mixes up finger picked folk, Americana and blues with some wonderfully poignant and political lyrics. His view on the whole originality thing can be summed up in his quote “ I can’t see the point of driving 200 miles to sing Losing My Religion to people who will only listen if you sing Losing my Religion.” I know what you mean sir.

 

The Art Centre on Monday has rock and roll survivors Wishbone Ash. Just to avoid confusion this is the Andy Powell fronted version of the band rather than the Martin Turner fronted band that are also currently touring. Blimey, it’s like Yes all over again.

 

And finally a mention for The Stripped Back Sessions at The Victoria on Tuesday, a mixture of music in its simplest and purest forms plus the artists themselves explaining the meanings behind and reasons for their songs. This time featuring War of Roses, Reg Meuross and Ali Finneran.