Tag Archive: crown (the)


23915811_1391658700943276_7420597230954476500_nWe live in polarising times, the world seems a very divided place, walls are replacing bridges and there seems to be an increasingly entrenched view of creed and culture moving across the world. Thankfully music has always had the ability to cross borders, whether real or metaphorical, to cross-pollinate with existing forms and to evolve into new ones. Tonight you will find two acts that are the perfect example of this global village creativity.

Firstly at The Victoria tonight you will find local stalwarts Mr Love and Justice who have a wonderful way of weaving timeless folk music and regional narratives together with a more acid laced 60’s pop vibe. Songs of love and Haight in a musical landscape  that stretches from West Kennett to the West Coast of California.

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10_Spiers__BodenI don’t really like to name drop. I was saying as much to Fiona Bruce when we were over at Liam Neeson’s place only the other day waiting for Noam Chomsky to turn up. So without naming names, suffice it to say that through my musical travels and via the people I meet on the local arts and music show I’m involved in, I get to talk to a lot of the people who actually make things happen in this town, everything from music and art, dance and film, to debating societies and underground media. And the common themes that come up in conversation are how much creativity there is in this town at the moment and how your average resident probably doesn’t realise it. Swindon has long had a bad press from lazy comedians looking for a convenient cliché but also, ironically, from the people who live here, creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I tell you what, Swindon is starting to hit a real ground swell of creative energy, things seem to be falling into place, Swindon is becoming, dare I say it…cool. We just need to get behind our town and show the rest of the country what we have here.

Helping to pave that good reputation we have a week of great and varied music on offer. Tonight at The Victoria, after a couple of recent mellower shows, Songs of Praise is going all loud and shouty with 50 Shades of Punk, a band definitely keeping their genre alive with high octane music and a hyperactive live show. Support comes from another local favourite, 2 Sick Monkeys, a frantic punk drum and bass 2 piece known as much for their between song rants as their relentless musical style. Opening the show is Parva Hinton, a London based, future punk, synth sound clash.

If you prefer something less likely to upset the neighbours and spill your beer then maybe an evening of Chicago blues at The Beehive courtesy of Built For Comfort is more your thing.

Friday brings lots of opportunity for you to get behind your live music scene. At The Royal Oak, The AK-Poets mix great melodies with an uncompromising rock and roll delivery and a charismatic stage presents whilst at The Beehive The Blue Tree’s take rock and roll on a southern road trip.

A couple of acoustic options also pop up on the radar. Riffs Bar acoustic session features Leicester songster Paul McClure and Southern Folk who as their name suggests play a range of rootsy Americana flavours. The Regent plays host to Darren Hodge who you may have seen recently shortlisted in the Young Folk competition at the recent BBC Folk Awards. Also appearing is Ethemia, makers of lush dream-folk music who also featured recently on BBC radio as guests of Gaby Roslin.

Covers can be had either at The Rolleston with Humdinger playing contemporary rock standards or if you prefer a band with a sillier take on the idea, Kova Me Badd at The Victoria parody the pop classics.

Saturday continues largely in the same vein with tributes to Bon Jovi at The Victoria, Steely Dan at Riffs Bar and Rory Gallagher at The Rolleston plus party covers from Breeze at The Royal Oak. Classic rock is supplied by Rorke’s Drift at The Swiss Chalet. If however you are feeling stout of heart, reckless or just know no better then a trip to The Castle will find you in the dubious company of rhythm and booze legends, The Hamsters From Hell. Loud, in your face, no holds barred riotous pub rock flavoured with beards, beer, blasphemy and a bad attitude.  What could possibly go wrong?

If you need something less abrasive to wind the weekend down then The Beehive afternoon session features Kola Koca, a band renowned for a mix of eclectic styles, social commentary, politics and humour.

Jazz fans can catch The Wayne Elliot Trio at The Plough that evening and then on Tuesday at Baker Street The Graham Taylor Quartet. Meanwhile just along the road at The Arts Centre, Spiers and Boden (pictured) , better known as Eliza Carthy sidekicks and founders of folk super group Bellowhead, are playing what they have announced will be their last show in duo format for the foreseeable future. So, definitely one to catch.

Finally The Crown at Stratton on Wednesday features the delicate sounds and considerable song craft of Louise Latham.

421623_337560366296411_100955706_nA bit blowy out isn’t it? Still, as long as the wind is coming from the right direction you can use it to propel yourself to one of the myriad of gigs that is taking place this week. Think of it as a climate related, musical, Russian roulette. Head out of the front door and see where the wind and the Gods of Fate carry you. Who knows, you might just discover your next favourite band.

 

A whole bunch of candidates for that title can be found at the latest Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Known for her enthralling songs built from, understated piano and emotive vocals, tonight Louise Latham is being joined by her sister Suzie on guitar, so this is a real treat for fans of her work. Support for this comes from the intimate and Buckley-esque style of Luke De-Sciscio and the shimmering, gossamer delicacies of Faye Rogers. A night of compelling and magical music and no mistake.

 

Similarly acoustic driven sounds can be found at The Beehive as Keith Thompson plays a sampler of the raw and honest songs that can be found on his Steel Strings and Bruised Reed album. In a night of acoustic offerings, other options are Bookends at The Art Centre, a tribute to Simon and Garfunkel and acoustic covers from Stripped at The Wheatsheaf.

 

All sorts of things going on musically on Friday, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a gig with your name on it. A good place to start is at The Victoria for The Smokestack Shakers a genre twisting band who take ska and bluebeat and add liberal doses of Latin rhythms and the simmering blues vibes of harmonica and slide guitar.  You also get a DJ set from Erin Bardwell for your money.

 

Fans of superbly executed, fired up electric blues should do everything they can to get tickets for Larry Miller (pictured) at The Arts Centre but if you like the idea of saxophone driven, 50’s swinging rock’n’jive then the place to be is The Rolleston for the Imperial G-Men.

 

A few acoustic options are also up for grabs. At Riffs Bar in celebration of landlady Tiggy’s birthday, Mark Wilderspin will be leading a scratch band of musical waifs and strays and the usual open mic’ spots are available prior to the gig proper.  At The Beehive, Stressechoes will be serving up their usual brilliantly harmonics and well crafted acoustic creations whilst David Marx at The Roaring Donkey, minus his usual AK-Poets, will enthral you with his mix of melody, tunesmithery and eloquent interludes. As the saying goes, Dave (pardon the familiarity) is indeed the home of witty banter.

 

At The Victoria on Saturday you can catch a tribute to Genesis covering both the Gabriel and Collins eras whilst at The Phoenix Bar in Wootton Bassett you will find Hammond organ driven blues standards courtesy of Shades of Blue. Punters should remember to adopt a proper blues name for the night to add to the authenticity. Joe, Willie, Joe Willie, Willie Joe, Hank and Poor Boy are all acceptable choices. Derek, Keith and Damien are not permissible blues names; no matter how many men you have shot in Reno!

 

The Rolleston has a bit of a treat for you with the welcome return of Bristol’s Natural Tendency, a euphoric high mix of emo-rock and futuristic synth grooves that will connect with the “get up and boogie gene” in even the most reclusive barfly.

 

Putting a new twist on the standard piano trio is Rob Terry who plays Baker Street on Tuesday. Mixing contemporary jazz with modern classical he weaves his way through a musical landscape that references the likes of Chopin and Grieg, as much as it does the more expected jazz icons.

 

We wrap the week up with the chance to catch Singer-Songwriter Jenny Bracey at The Crown on Wednesday, or if you are looking for a bigger musical experience, Ten in a Bar will be unveiling a new show of humour and harmonies called Brand New Day at the Art Centre, always wonderful value for money.

4594960091_299x196I have to start this week with an apology. A couple of weeks ago I used this column to try to make a point about the amount of easily available gig information when trying to compile a guide such as this. Although the nature of the comments were intended to be tongue in cheek hyperbole, exaggeration used to make a point, it has been pointed out to me that I may have pitched the article slightly unfairly. In the case of Baker Street I agree that my comments were inaccurate and any lack of information in this column regarding gigs taking place at the venue is a failing on my part and not the venue itself or the promoter who arranges those shows. I therefore apologise for the comments made and any upset they have caused to those involved with these bookings. Right humble pie eaten, down to business.

 

At The Victoria tonight is a band whose return seems to have created a bit of a buzz around the online hangouts of the discerning music fan. The headline act at tonight’s Songs of Praise show features Case Hardin, a brilliant Americana five piece that match the emotive song writing of Springsteen with the alt-country authenticity of Whiskeytown. Support comes from the wonderfully atmospheric, delicate tones of Rumour Shed and emerging new band Timid Deer open the night with their timeless folk sound.

 

Other rootsy offerings are also available in the shape of Hiproute who bring their fired up and funked out, acoustic blues to The Beehive. However if rock is more your thing then you may wish to head out to Riffs Bar for some high octane rock and low-fi punk with Shock Hazard and Diagonal People respectively.

 

The big name for Friday is The Brompton Mix (pictured) , a melting pot of classic 60’s melodies, punk spirit, Weller-esque style, a dash of early Oasis and a whole bunch of stage presence and charisma. They are at The Victoria. For something more tripped out and leftfield, head to The Beehive where you will be treated to the psychedelic blues, progressive song structures, old school rock and roll grooves, modern sampling, spoken word and manic shoegazy guitar wig outs of The Automaniacs. What’s not to like?

 

The Rolleston has The Pre-Fab four…a tribute to the Beatles, obviously, and out at Riffs Bar, the Acoustic Sessions feature the warm folk sounds of Ethemia with support from Rob Richings.

If you are looking for original music on Saturday then it is back to Riffs Bar with Talk in Code’s blend of stadium synth and anthemic guitar sounds, dance grooves and pop sensibility. They are joined by the low sung Americana of Newquay Times, the brash alt-rock of Away With Words and the acoustic duo, The Consuelas. They all play in aid of Animal Asia charity.

 

Elsewhere it is tributes to Green Day at The Victoria, Ian Dury and The Blockheads at The Rolleston and at The Swiss Chalet Broken Image play a selection of iconic classic rock numbers.

 

With the day of rest, that’s Sunday to you and me, comes some more relaxing musical moments. The Lazy Sunday afternoon at The Arts Centre, the regular fixture curated by Mr. Love and Justice, is host to two great players. Ed Hanfrey, once of the ubiquitous Lavington Bound, is now ploughing a very traditional folk furrow of storytelling lyrics and shanty stylings, whilst Tamsin Quin plays a more contemporary folk music often with a bluesy edge. Your hosts for the session offer their usual mix of social comment and slick pop folk.

 

Culture vultures should note that on Tuesday, Baker Street open their doors to Balanca Quintet, a Latin Jazz outfit of some renown led multi lingual singer and percussionist, Cathy Jones. The band also features the talents of tenor saxophonist Kevin Figes, best know for his work with big band Resonation.

 

The week rounds off with two options on acoustic music on Wednesday with Dick Cadbury appearing at The Roaring Donkey and The Crown offering Charlie Anne and Ben Cipolla.

The Stratton Stroll

580441_10152953732135461_1828677105_nSo you’ve heard of The Camden Crawl, The Swindon Shuffle and The Oxford Punt, but if you fancy something similar this Saturday come along to the The Stratton Stroll. I think the title sums up the broad detail but the finer points are that between 6 venues (The Kingsdown Arms, The Wheatsheaf, The Rat Trap, The Crown, The New Inn and the Leisure Centre) you can catch such great acts as the upbeat celtic vibes of Grubby Jack and Missin’ Rosie, the ethereal acoustica of Faye Rogers and Charlie-Anne, the folky Americana of The Shudders, Bateleurs and The Blue Trees and much more besides.

 

As well as great music, Shaun Buswell will be bringing his London Underground Orchestra to the event with the challenge to play all six stages over seven hours. He does like to make things difficult for himself. Stratton, Swindon, this Saturday 13th July. get involved.