Tag Archive: doll rats


So, last week there may not have been too many gigs going on, but this week, you can’t move for tripping over some earnest young chap thrashing a guitar, a laid back blues dude grooving the night away or a band of frantic folkies jigging and reeling their hearts out. And what has caused this tsunami of live music that wil play havoc with my carefully scrutinised word count? It’s only the first of the season’s indoor local festivals. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Riffstock! Running from Friday to Sunday the “Biggest Little Music Festival in the West” at Riffs Bar (the clue is in the name) will be raising money for three very worthy causes.  Over the course of the weekend you can experience music as diverse as the, in your face punk, drum and bass of 2 Sick Monkeys, the long awaited return of pirate fixated alt-folkies, The Shudders, effervescent, fired up pop from Nudybronque, the warped, musical terrorism of Mr Hello and His Honesty Club, The Fixed, Emily and the Dogs ( a real must see), Guitar Stools and Cigarettes, Vynal Matt and so much more. For the full story go to their website or Facebook event page.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there is still plenty to choose from musically back in the less rural venues.  Dance music for the 21st century will be on the menu tonight as the Zetan Spore mothership descends on The Beehive for a night of psy-trance, hard dance grooves and alien beats.

More conventional music can be found at The Rolleston in the form of Sam Eden, a singer-songwriter whose style occasionally borders on the likes of Brian Kennedy and David Gray but who mainly creates unique and delicate musical structures from intricate playing and brilliant vocal deliveries.

At the Victoria, there is a showcase for Bath College’s HNC music students, featuring the insanity of Maribou Stalk, the soul power of Tallis and The Pride, the hi-octane loops and sax of Mossyband, the voodoo tunes of Dr Elephonte and much more besides.

Friday is built around a triumvirate of great gigs…. err, that means three for you non-classical scholars. The Furnace sees a rare hometown outing for the southern groove, biker metal of Eye For An Eye. Expect industrial strength riffs, thunderous beats, growling vocal attacks, hair, beards, blood, sweat and beers. If young bands need a lesson in how to put on a rock show…let this band be your guide.

At The 12 Bar, Out of Towner’s is a night showcasing, as it says, out of area bands headlining with the contradictory Doll Rats – powerful yet ethereal, raw but delicate, raucous and enigmatic. Sounds pretty good to me. Other visiting acts are Peyote who sound like the Jim Jones Revue writing the sound track for a David Lynch road movie and the one I’m looking forward to, The Peasant Kings, historically aware and with one or two old school Celtic rock ghosts looming large over their music.

Talk in Code has undergone a major change in the last year or so. They are no longer the band that your dad might listen to, now their new dance fuelled vibe means they are more the CD that your sharp-dressed, musically savvy, cool older brother refuses to lend you. However you can catch them at their CD launch show at The Victoria. Three Letter Agency and Oli Hill support.

Creatures of the night will find something to raise a rare smile at The Furnace on Saturday as Sarah Jezebel Deva rocks into town. Best known as long-serving backing singer in Cradle of Filth, she has also graced such bands as Mortiis, Therion and The Kovenant. Expect well-executed,  dynamic, dark, sweeping, symphonic metal.

At the opposite end of the musical spectrum, The Warsaw Village Band will treat the Old Town Bowl to music that is both ancient and hauntingly pagan in its folksy form yet as driven and trancey as any modern “dance” music. More roots music, though this time of a delta-blues nature with helpings of country, swamp-blues, jazz, soul and folk, can be found at The Rolleston in the form of Gwyn Ashton.

My tip for Sunday is catch the afternoon session at The Beehive courtesy of the blues grooves, jazz vibes, soulfulness and sheer energy of The Fraser Tilley Trio…(yes they are a four piece but lets not get into all that again) and end up at The Rolleston that evening for the acoustic delights of Ben Fletcher. Well, you don’t have to but it’s just a thought.

There is a bit of a coup up at The Victoria tonight when none other than Jazz Morley (right)  is the headline act. For the uninitiated, Ms. Morley is an amazing vocalist who manages to mix strength and control with sensuality and fragility whilst getting comparisons ranging from Dusty Springfield and Regina Spector to more recent artists such as Eva Cassidy and Duffy. Definitely one of those acts that the lucky few will be able to proudly say “I saw her when….” Support comes from Moths, Drew Bryant and The Little Dylans.

 

With a name like Tattie Jam, you may have an inkling of what The Beehive have to offer tonight But if the thought of Scottish traditional folk music might sound uninspiring, then you haven’t seen this brilliant duo. Plundering their Celtic roots they use cello, guitars and voice to playfully reinterpreted that heritage from dark ballads and protest songs to jigs and reels and even the odd a Capella number.

 

Not to be out done, The Rolleston offers some serious competition in the shape of Doll Rats. Mixing raucous but intelligent stadium rock with otherworldly washes this is a band whose music is both big and clever!

 

Staying at The Rolleston, Friday sees them do it again as another hot property, Natural Tendency, will be paying a visit. Dynamic alt-rock is a good starting point but that has to be qualified with terms such as “ euphoric”  “classically informed” “powerful” and well, just brilliant. Definitely a band to catch lives.

 

Bloodstock Battle of The Bands over at Riffs Bar goes into its last heat, this time with Tempestora, Blood of Ash and Black Sanctuary going head to head for the last places in the Semi-finals. At the other end of the musical, not to mention geographical, extreme Minky G (She’s “sunny, fun and looks like an excitable sock puppet on stage” apparently!) and Roscoe (no quotes available) are over from their native Western Australia to delight you with their brilliant brand of jazz-pop.  Up at The Royal Oak, Blackwaters will be treating the crowd to a mixture of covers and original songs in their own inimitable style.

 

On Saturday you can catch great music and do your bit for charity. Raising money for Diabetes UK there is a rather special line up at the Victoria. Two of the bands that I have been championing recently are featured here, both brilliant exponents of musical non-compromise and both artisans of strange, warped yet addictive music that oozes between dream like pop and sonic surrealness.  Those avant gardeners at the oasis of originality are Crash and the Bandicoots and Super Squarecloud. Also on the bill is a rare outing for Black Sheep Apprentice and a full band line up version of the ethereal and wonderfully chilled Rumour Shed.

 

At the 12 Bar the charities in question are The Naomi House Hospice and Jack’s Place and Mathias Hair Design have arranged a fashion show, raffle and live music by bands that are so good they cannot be announced to the general public on health and safety grounds. Over at the Swiss Chalet, Oxfords finest punk-popsters, Disclosure will be delivering their trademark punchy yet accessible tunes.

 

If Blues is your thing keep Sunday evening free. If by the age of 17 you have already shared the stage with Bernie Marsden, John Mayall and Jeff Healey, it’s safe to say that you are an act with a bright future. Krissy Matthews is the act in question and the fact that he is playing a free show at The Rolleston is a reason to drop everything and head along.

 

Tuesday’s Jazz slot at Baker Street is filled by The Dave Newton Trio, piano led chamber jazz known for it’s classical feel and dreamy introspection.  And finally last mention of the week is Bateleurs at The Running Horse on Wednesdays. Always a great set of jaunty european folk meets eastern Americana and with romantic troubadour Billyjon in support certainly a good way to shake the mid week doldrums.