Tag Archive: devotion


307317_10151453105276140_1745376414_nI think that it is time for a musical revolution. Who’s with me? Looking at the ever shortening list of live music available to watch in recent weeks, I am increasingly worried by the amount of young, original bands getting their music out to audiences in the form of live shows.  Musical change is built on revolutionary acts, from rock ‘n’ roll to punk to hip-hop to grunge to rave and beyond, but it seems to me that we have settled into a complacent groove of late, both on the local scene and the wider world beyond it. Maybe there are revolutionary acts being performed and I just don’t know about it, after all why would you invite an aging hippy to the party to hang around like someone’s dad waiting to give them a lift home.  Maybe the revolution has taken new forms and accesses its audience through streaming shows, free downloads and house parties, rather than the more traditional outlets. I don’t need to be invited to the revolution; I just pray that it is taking place somewhere. I lived through a few musical watersheds, it was amazing, everyone else deserves to as well.

So, enough rose-tinted retrospection from me and on with the week ahead.  Tonight Songs of Praise at The Victoria brings back into town one of the bands that have proved to be a bit of a success story over the last few years. Black Hats blend a modish, agit-punk drive with infectious hooks and crunching great choruses, imagine The Jam embracing the scope of modern technology and you are in the ballpark. Support comes from Devotion, a great writhing mass of post punk and shoegazy riffs, dream pop visions and the sort of indie music that sounds like it was made floating through space.

Ethereality of another type can be found in the guise of Jenna Witts at The Beehive, an acoustic artist who evokes pop and folk tradition in equal measure and whose maturity in song writing and pin-drop voice will astound you.

Friday brings us the stalwarts of the scene. Firstly The Teddy White Band play The Rolleston, mixing up good time rock ‘n’ roll, blues, swing and boogie from times past all glued together with honey-dripping saxophone. At The Beehive, The Blue Trees head far more down home with a weave of sounds that evoke the quiet bayous, the desert highways and the smell of Mint Julep being served on the porch. Sort of the sound of a Southern States roadhouse meets a Harper Lee novel….Tequila Mockingbird perhaps? Perhaps not!

The Victoria will be playing hosts to “top cover band” Penfold who do a neat line in classic standards both past and present.

As we roll into Saturday the offerings become more tribute and cover driven. The first is catered for at The Victoria with Oasish and Stereotonics doing their bit to ensure Britpop-ery isn’t forgotten and Bad Obsession at The Rolleston pay tribute to some of the less obvious songs of the classic rock and metal genre. One original reprieve comes in the shape of a nice big slab of alt-rock in the shape of Armchair Committee, Base 11 and Boss Cloth at Riffs Bar playing for those awfully nice chaps at Secret Chord Records.

Talk In Code (pictured) has come a long way in recent years. Having left their original “dad Rock” sound behind them. …their words not mine, they are now an of the moment rush of screaming guitars and pulsating synths. In the past Talk In Code used to be written off as the music that your dad might listen too. Now however they are the CD that your sharp-dressed, musically savvy, effortlessly cool, big brother refuses to lend you. Catch them with A Way With Words and Daniel James at The Victoria on Sunday.

Culture Vultures will be interested to know that The Swindon Recital Series at The Art Centre brings the oboe and piano talents of Nicholas Daniel and Paul Turner together to play selected pieces from French composers such as Saint-Saens, Debussy and many others.

Finally, Wednesday brings us to The Roaring Donkey and the acoustic skills of Aidan Moore whose mellow yet genre hopping style will find that he appeals to a wide range of punters.  Whilst you are there you really should pick up a copy of his recent album, So Far, So Good, it’s a cracker.

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.