Tag Archive: days on juno


I think I have worked out my problem with cover bands. Whilst watching the incredible Super Squarecloud last week, a Damascene moment occurred. We live in an age where music seems hell-bent on a nostalgia trip. In a previous column I pointed out that the 60’s had psychedelia, the 70’s had disco and punk, the 80’s hip-hop and the 90’s rave, but since then what? If contemporary music is content to plunder the past to a lesser or greater degree, then cover bands are a pure slice of well worn déjà vu. Fine if you want to live in the past, and we all need to visit our youthful memories from time to time but it doesn’t really further the cause of music. What we need is the opposite …err, avant verrais? Jamais vu? I don’t know, I’m still struggling with English! That is why bands such as Super Squarecloud and Crash and The Coots are so important to the local scene, wonderful slices of forward thinking weirdness that push boundaries and create unique yet accessible music along the way. So it’s vive la difference as they say across the channel and here’s to creativity.

And if you ever thought that everything that could be done with rock music has been, then you need to be at The Victoria tonight. Up from that London, The Manic Shine infuse their music with the influences of their diverse cultural heritage and the result is a glorious blend of punch and panache; classic rock riffs, atmospheric dynamics, driving back beats and a bunch of great songs. Support comes from Ataraxis Vibration, the natural successor to the likes of Hendrix, Cream and Free plus Streetfight Silence’s more pop-punk vibe.

In The Beehive’s continuing quest to become a Canadian colony, yet another of its musical emissaries takes up residence there tonight. David Celia is a frequent visitor to the place and his elegant and humorous brand of songmanship is always well received. The Divine Comedy with maple syrup!

Two options for the loud jumpered, knit your own yoghurt brigade…or folk fans, as they prefer to be called. Folk in the Bar at Riffs is a open mic session, for a more formal experience the Urban Folk Quartet will be mixing British traditional themes with global influences at The Arts Centre.

The big noise for Friday is at The Furnace with their Halloween special, which will be powered by the sound of Swindon’s finest indie rock. Infectious, groove driven pop comes courtesy of Nudybronque, with Secret Lives and The Fixed playing the part of perfect support bands.

The 12 Bar also goes for the younger and brasher end of the musical market, but as usual are not big on information. Whilst I can tell you that headliners Days on Juno are a must for anyone who likes hook laden pop-punk in general and Fall Out Boy in particular, all I can tell you about support band The 39 Steps is that I read John Buchan’s classic novel of the same name many times as a kid. Riffs Bar also opts for the pop-punk with Running From Zombies and All Action Hero but again there is no information on the website. (Come on guys, meet me half way!)

Saturday sees a bonfire party at Riffs Bar with yet another Burlesque show to go alongside rock covers from Chiller. Some of you are too young to remember the days before the by-laws were changed to ensure that at least three burlesque shows were held in the parish each week, I some times miss those days, or as we used to call it…last year.

The Arts Centre offers up another inspired booking with the bluesy, folk-pop of Lotte Mullan, imagine the delicacy of Janis Ian mixed with the nouse of Joni Mitchell, gorgeous stuff. At the Rolleston “theatrical” cover band The Atomic Rays will be covering the classics and they come with an endorsement from Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman, make of that what you will.

Global journeyman, Renny Field, will be impressing The Beehive on Sunday with his trademark uplifting and lyrically engaging songs for the afternoon session and that evening The Rolleston has the Mason-Dixon line colliding with the M4 corridor to shape the inimitable mix of southern blues, R’n’B and gospel that is Pignose.

Pignose’s Pete Cousins can also be found at The Victoria on Tuesday supporting Grandpa Banana. As guitarist with seminal San Francisco Bay Area folk rockers, The Youngbloods, Banana is rightly considered an icon of California bluegrass and old time rock and roll, to catch him playing a free gig is something not to be missed.

The week rounds off on Wednesday with even more Bluegrass this time in the form of Riffs Bar’s weekly jam and at The Running Horse more acoustic goodness courtesy of Sam Eden and the vocally harmonious Ethemia.

It’s that time of year again, the time to eat, drink and be scary, yes, Halloween is upon us. It’s a confusing time really; we spend all year telling kids not to take sweets from strangers and then for one night a year actively encourage them to go out begging for treats. How odd. Sadly the age-old traditions of guising and party games have been replaced by the veiled threats of trick or treating. But if you want to avoid yet another corporate Americanisation of our heritage the solution is easy. Instead of being besieged in your own home as hordes of pre-teen terrors demand sweets with menaces, just head off out to the sanctuary of a gig, this week there is no shortage of them.

Tonight for instance we have a cornucopia of acoustic acts for you delectation, or otherwise put…. there are shed loads of acts to watch. The usual Songs of Praise night at The Victoria sees the welcome return of Charlie Bath, think Dallas Green meets Carole King, aided an abetted by her regular City Marshall collaborator, Simon Law. Up from Cardiff is minimalist troubadour Joshua Caole, who ploughs a furrow that runs from contemporaries like Ryan Adams past Gram Parsons and Hank Williams right back to the sounds of the Jim Crow South of post Civil War emancipation. Opening up the night is romantic balladeer Billyjon.

The Rolleston plays host to three acts that graced the stages of this years Swindon Shuffle Festival. Anyone who missed Antonio Lulic then should catch him tonight. Sounding like a solo Brian Fallon or even Bruce Springsteen, only from England’s fashionably impoverished North-East, this is an artist who has the songs, the stage presence, the banter and the charisma, it is only a matter of time before he is being hunted down by the industry bigwigs, trust me. Support comes from Racket front man Plummie and the musical ethereality of Faye Rogers.

For something completely different, Three Minute Tease rock back up at The Beehive. Backed by the rhythm section that made The Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock’s Egyptians the icons of underground music, psychedelic pop warrior Anton Barbeau’s brings the soundtrack to his crazy world back into town. Think Cope, Partridge and Barrett and you get the idea.

Apart from the macabre, carnivalesque, gypsy folk of Buffo’s Wake at The Beehive on Friday, everything else gets a bit loud and shouty, that’s a good thing right? At the Rolleston, Control The Storm (pictured) will be delivering atmospheric, dynamic, melodic metal where their concentration on song crafting doesn’t come at the expense of power and aggression. Support band, Endeavour go for the more frantic technicalities of progressive metal.

Over at Riffs Bar and there are more big and Byzantine sounds courtesy of Acts of Brutality, the oddly named A Fist Full of Foozy, Back Pocket Prophet and Harmony Disorder. What normally happens is the line up changes drastically by the time this goes to print and all the new bands on the bill moan at me for getting the facts wrong, so check the website every fifteen minutes for updates.

You can round your evening off with The Nightshift at The Furnace, where DJ Dust and Tom Himself will be spinning Industrial, Goth, Electronica, Darkwave and other strangeness, so it will probably look like the nightclub scene in Blade II!

On Saturday The Victoria has quite a line up. Headlining, Josie and The Outlaw are all about the 50’s rock and role vibes, whilst The Racket bring their usual blend of wonderfully punked out indie chaos to the stage. With the big sound of SkyBurnsRed and the strange quantum-glock and even stranger time changes of Super Squarecloud, it’s a brilliantly eclectic mix.

Elsewhere it is all about the Halloween party proper. The 12 Bar is being taken over by South West Hardcore with a Pirate vs. Ninja theme and music from Under Godless Skies, Kill The Conversation, Deliverance and Without Consequence. The Furnace, meanwhile, has gone for a Burlesque Metal night with music from In The Absence of Light and The Hotel Ambush.

I urge you all to be at The Beehive on Sunday afternoon for a band that I can’t recommend enough, Port Erin – imagine if Radiohead toyed with jazz and folk as well the usual rock dynamics – these guys are just great. Also falling into the highly recommended category is the show at The Victoria later that same day. Alice Offley launches her latest album spearheading a night of wonderful harmonies and delicate sounds from Jazz Morley and The Black Feathers.

As the week peters out there is still some great music to be had. On Tuesday it comes in the form of Canada’s blues icon Frank Cosentino with support from The Graveltones and The Peace Pirates at The 12 Bar and on Wednesday it’s Teenage Kicks Halloween Party at The Furnace with Roads to Nowhere and Days of Juno.

Music is full of potential; the potential to push boundaries, to boldly go and all that (pardon the split infinitive,) to move forward with and even ahead of current imagination, to challenge and make you think. It is indeed a wondrous thing. Sometimes however all you want is something familiar and a bit lowbrow, something that connects with the heart and the foot rather than the head and that is just what Songs of Praise has on offer for you tonight.

Forget following the fickle fashions of music that come and go faster than Kerry Katona’s boyfriends, tonight at The Victoria, it is all about old school rock, albeit dressed in some nice, cliché free contemporary attitude. You may remember White Knuckle Bride from their support slot to Thin Lizzy when they graced The M.E.C.A stage last year: a wholesome blend of rock aggression and glam sleaze. Up from Portsmouth  are Kodiak Jack who sound just like Nickleback think they do and Frome’s Indie-Punkers, Haters.

New kids on the block, Imperial Promotions have their first outing at The 12 Bar, featuring the funked out vibes of Sasquatch Walk (pictured), another outing for those dark and poetic garage rockers, The Dacoits, plus the alt-pop sounds of Lionstate. Add to that acoustic sets from Callum Martin (who was awesome a few weeks ago opening up for Tripwires) Bianca Politzi and Days On Juno and you have the potential for a brilliant night).

The Rolleston is playing host to a band that I really haven’t seen enough of in the last few years. Coach, for it is they, mix up world music grooves, classical sass, laidback vibes and soulful folky pop melodies. Just add a warm evening and a chilled drink and you have everything you could want. And blues aficionados must not miss the chance to catch Kent DuChaine at The Beehive, the real deal in Delta Blues all the way from the Deep South.

Something a bit different at The Victoria on Friday. Dead at 27 is a tribute to all those iconic musicians who were determined not to see 28, but then you know rock musicians and how they feel about the septemvigesimal positional numeral system? Anyway, the great and good of Swindon will be paying tribute to the likes of Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and more besides.

If you prefer something a bit more heart warming then Prita at The Beehive might be your preferred option who neatly blends layers of looped harmonies, percussion and acoustic guitar into wonderful washes not a million miles away from Norah Jones or a laid back K T Tunstall.

Saturday is all about The Furnace. System of a Clown recreate everyone’s favourite Armenian technical metal-heads and believe me if you think that it would be difficult to do justice to such complex music then you obviously weren’t at their debut outing last year when they nearly destroyed the 12 Bar. A must see.

Loads to do on Sunday, which obviously might interfere with your church commitments, but then God is a big music fan. Joshua had his own jazz band and people are still talking about his gig in Jericho, brought the roof down, apparently.

The Beehive afternoon session is a mix of folk and jazz tinged blues with Sara Coffield and ex-Dr Feelgood front man, Pete Gage. The 12 Bar plays host to an all-dayer with a host of great acoustic acts before it relocates to the main stage for the full on show. There will be punk from The Useless Eaters, Indie from The Fixed. Alice Offley’s piano driven dream pop will be adding a touch of elegance to the proceedings and SkyBurnsRed will be dishing out wonderful swathes of Gypsy Metal. The whole night is rounded off with the beautiful cacophony that is The Racket. And that’s not even the half of it.

The Furnace has a night of rock and hardcore headed up by The Amsterdam Red Light District and The Rolleston has those local rhythm and booze icons, The Hamsters From Hell.

Culture Vultures will have are spoilt for choice mid week between jazz with The Theo Jackson Trio at Baker Street on Tuesday and folk darling Maddy Prior at The Arts centre on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday acoustic entertainment comes courtesy of Drew Bryant and Rich Maya at The Running Horse.

You know things are going well when over the course of one long weekend  you have the options of watching feisty female rock from Minneapolis, a Celtic rock guitar legend, sublime shoe gazers from along the M4 corridor, chilled out, cinematic folk or harmonious indie soundscapers. Well, I only managed to catch two of those shows but which ever you look at it, if the music scene were going for a medical, you would have to declare it in the rudest of health. And this week is set to continue along the same lines.

There is trouble brewing at The Rolleston tonight as Rumour Shed goes musically head to head with Dave Corrigan in the acoustic grudge match of the year. Weapons will include deep and meaningful lyrics, luscious vocals, joyous and lilting songs, tweed and possibly sandals. Beards are preferred but not essential.

Stiff competition for the folk/roots audience comes from itinerant troubadour Jez Hellard who brings his Djukella Orchestra to the Beehive for a night of folk and funk, rumba, reels and reggae, jigs and gypsy jazz. Rock fans will find their spiritual home for the night at The Victoria with Simon Townsend (baby brother of the legendary Pete) but make sure you get there early enough to catch sublime support act Kola, a wonderful blend of Heartbreaker era Ryan Adams and The Waterboys chilling out.

Staying at The Victoria, Friday sees genres and creative boundaries thrown aside as the madness that is Flipron grace the stage. This bohemian pop collective manage to fall somewhere between The Bad Seeds playing Disney tunes and Charles Dickens CD collection (the fact that this is obviously an impossible scenario says a lot about the band.) Swindon’s own folk-pop-ska mavericks, the Costello’s, will be kicking the night off.

Thanks to a flying visit by their errant and trans-continental drummer, The Dacoits, have a few gigs lined up and you can catch their dark, poetic garage rock at The Beehive. Support comes in the shape of an equally rare outing for alt-country punks, Black Sheep Apprentice.

The Furnace also fires up for the first of three gigs this weekend. Red Seas Fire is a brilliantly executed weave of melodic metal, progressive structures, power and passion. They are joined by Burials, Chronographs and the symphonic-laced hardcore sounds of The Cold Harbour.

Saturday sees The 12 Bar get in on the act with a host of young indie bands spearheaded by the aptly named Young Blood. Having formed from the remains of Napoleon In Rags, they seem to have adopted a less modish, more fired up and contemporary fuel for their indie vehicle; you will not be disappointed. Add to that support slots from The Fixed, Retrospecs, Last Nights Victory and Luna Machine and you have the makings of a fine night.

If ska-punk floats your boat, one of the finest exponents of it, Slagerij, will be creating musical havoc at The Victoria. They are joined by West Coast (Clevedon, North Somerset to be exact) skate punks Mr Zippy and Bristol’s The Richardson Maneuver. In terms of energy, stage presence and song crafting, this gig, to quote the infamous Nigel Tufnell, goes up to eleven.

It’s all a bit full on down at The Furnace as post-hardcore crew When Words Fail headline their last UK gig for a while in aid of Louise Hunt and her Paralympic bid. They are joined (after more chopping and changing than a choppy changey thing!) by the euphoric sounds of This Fall; Eastbourne’s post-punks, Hold the Fight and the pop punk of Days on Juno.

All the way from Italy to The Rolleston, The Beatholes cleverly re-invent The Beatles for a punk and rock audience. If you have ever imagined what Eleanor Rigby would sound like given the Iron Maiden treatment or mused over Motorhead’s take on Get Back, then this is the place to be.

Sunday’s big noise comes in the shape of Carridale leading a slew of great pop-punk bands at The Furnace. Hot Damn, Sell Your Sky and Tides of Change also feature.

Final mention of the week goes to my favourite new band of the moment, SkyBurnsRed (pictured top)who play The Victoria on Wednesday. Kicking alt-rock underpinned by intricate grooves and sweeping eastern violin vibes…what’s not to like? They are joined by the funked and punked creations of The Me!Me!Me’s? and in a last minute change to the line up, the effervescent and ubiquitous Nudy Bronque.