Had a bit of a revelation last week, apparently the local music scene is dead. Not only did a bloke in a pub tell me, two days later a totally different other bloke in a totally different other pub told be exactly the same thing, so it must be true. In fact I think they are right as I had only managed to get to watch four bands that week, I really should put a bit more effort in.

It may come as no surprise that there are many things that annoy me; reality shows, celebrities, celebrity reality shows, cooking shows, cordon bleu, James Cordon, Twilight, people over the age of eleven who have read Twilight, people who pronounce coupon with a Q, people who make lists of things that annoy them, Steven Seagal and obviously Nicholas Cages hair. But the one thing that trumps any of those is people who tell me the music scene is dead yet whom I have never bumped into at a gig or even heard discuss a band they have seen.

Okay I admit things have been quiet of late and it doesn’t help that two of our bigger venues seem to have given up altogether on the idea putting gigs on. I will mention no names, as I don’t want to wake up with an overused Godfather movie reference in the bed next to me. But come on, dead? I don’t think so. Even on a quieter week like this,  I can still list a dozen bands to check out, many of them free, but if you would rather sit on Facebook posting “support live music” banners or watch Simon Cowell’s latest round of money spinning exploitations then maybe the local live circuit is not the place for you anyway, there is no “like” button for a start!

So what will the more supportive and broadminded be feasting on this week? Damn it! As if to trip my argument up at the first hurdle, tonight The Victoria plays host to BGT auditionee Sam Kelly who many of you will remember from such classics as Porridge and ‘Allo ‘Allo. He may have ambitions involving Cowell’s evil empire but at least he is putting his money where his mouth is and is out hitting the live circuit. Support comes from the slick dance-pop ear candy of Goldman.

Better illustrating my point is Acoustic Buzz at The Beehive. Blind River Scare main man Tim Manning hosts his regular night and delivers some wonderful acoustic Americana folk, this time joined by the delicate guitar and Kate Bush-esque vocal of Jess Vincent. Also on the bill is Jack Bird whose sound is neatly summed up as invoking bar-room brawls, smoky pool rooms, dusty highways and full of whiskey aching songs.

Friday has a couple of great options for the rock fraternity though both in the shape of tributes. Snaggletooth will be at The Rolleston doing their very best Motorhead impression and up at The Victoria, fans of Green Day will be catered for. After this weeks antics in Las Vegas I just hope no one tries to cut their set short. Oh, the language!

More Americana at The Beehive, this time the real deal. Armed with every instrument in the hill-billy musical arsenal and coming off like Captain Beefheart playing punk-pop bluegrass, Hymn for Her are just the sort of musical experience to blow your mind. Something that The Beehive seems to excel at.

Staying briefly at The Beehive as we move into Saturday and more roots music on the bill, this time with Dirty Old Folkers and their brand of “inappropriate folk” – a wonderful blend of gypsy jive, klezmer, bluegrass, folk and brummie humour.

The big name of the weekend is at The Furnace, not only are we talking about Sham 69 but three quarters of the classic line up in the form of Jimmy Pursey, Dave Parsons and a personal hero (due to his co-founding of Lords of The New Church) Dave Tregunna. Support comes from local punk legends Charred Hearts and bravely opening the show is The Racket. Lets think about this – 300 or so 40-something punks here to see their heroes, armed with unlimited beer money and a BA in drinking greeted by a bunch of whippersnappers playing trashed out indie. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Next door in the Rolleston are the rhythm and booze outlaws, The Hamsters from Hell and if cover bands are more your sort of thing, Penfold will be playing popular party tunes over at Riffs Bar, 1000 Planets will be performing their Killing Joke set at The Victoria and it’s all about Ozzy’s post Sabbath career at The Queens Tap with Wizards of Oz.

Something a bit special washes up on our shores on Monday as Gabby Young and Other Animals (pictured) play The Arts Centre. A riot of colour and sound this boho-circus troupe meets jazz cabaret blend cool guitar, explosive brass, archaic music hall, unexpectedly delicate folk, abject eccentricity and burlesque. An experience to behold and Alice Offley opening the night is another very good reason to go.

Finishing at our usual Wednesday night recommendation, The Running Horse will be playing host to Louise Latham, a gorgeous voice, elegant and emotive songs and wonderful delivery, what more could you ask for? Ok, who said free beer?