Tag Archive: down and dirty


thumbnailI know that everything works on supply and demand, even things in the cultural and artistic realms but looking at the sheer volume of rock bands playing in town this week, it might be nice if the powers that be tried something a little more diverse from time to time. I know it sells, I know it’s a form that is still popular but maybe instead of continuously underlining the past and looking back to nostalgic heydays it might be quite exciting to look to the future and help write the next chapter. Okay, change the record I hear you cry, ironically that is a good analogy for what I am proposing. Anyway, I’ve said enough.

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davesharpIt’s always nice to start the column with a bit of a bang, especially when the bang in question relates to a local lad made good. Tonight Gaz Brookfield returns to The Victoria, this time without the full band but with trusty sidekick Jake Martin in tow. A sort of folk-punk Robin to his acoustic guitar wielding Batman. Expect all usual mix of wit and wisdom, riotousness and reflection from both chaps and probably a bit of mixing and matching along the way. Opening the show is an acoustic set from Raze*Rebuild who prove that even their skyscaping and glorious songs can be stripped back into sleeker and more considered forms if the need arises.

The Beehive also has old friends returning to them, in their case Built For Comfort, a band who will transport you to a back street blues bar in an alternate America where Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans exist in close proximity and whose signature sounds they play perfect tribute to.

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31760151_1227166777386457_3318506893571260416_nLots to get through this week so with an introductory paragraph as brief as one of Cheryl Cole’s relationships, let’s get on with the show.

Scott Lavene makes a sort of quintessentially English rock and roll, infectious tunes mixed with jittery new wave tension and uniquely humorous narratives that Messrs. Difford and Tilbrook would be proud of and you can catch him at The Beehive this very evening.

Two helpings of rock are to be found on Friday with The Lizzy Legacy and Stat-X at The Victoria and The Rolleston respectively. The former, as the name implies, pay tribute to the music of Thin Lizzy and associated acts, no wigs, costumes or gimmicks they just let all of those classic tunes speak for themselves and the latter offer rock music in all its forms from the obvious iconic choices to some more pop-rock selections.

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tragedy-homeIt seems like the surge of local summer festivals is trailing off now and the amount of gigs in the usual musical haunts is starting to get back up to speed. And just as a reminder of how the local circuit really does punch above its weight, tonight The Beehive have rather a fabulous act to offer you. Over the last twenty years Pony Pony have worked both as a duo and with such names as Bare Naked Ladies and the sublime Cowboy Junkies and their brand of fiddle driven country-folk is a spellbinding experience that discerning music fans are not going to want to miss.

Although if your excuse for non-attendance is that you are going to The Victoria instead, then that is fair enough as they also have some choice original music on offer. Having caught two of these bands for the first time at The Shuffle I can assure you that The Oxymora’s brooding and emotive alt-rock and Palm Rose’s soaring post-rock meets dream-pop both have the potential to make them your new favourite local bands. POOL’s bruised and gloom-infused music gets the night underway.

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18195037_10155309848293308_5220412152281987086_nIn some respects this week is the calm before the storm, the deep breath before the plunge, the prawn cocktail before the chicken in a basket…okay, that one is a bit dated, a quieter week before next weekend’s annual Swindon Shuffle hoves into view. But there is still enough to whet your musical appetites and it isn’t every week that a music venues gets given a new lease of life and a major league act rolls into town.

The current wave of younger, local indie bands shows no sign of losing momentum with three of the finest bands of the moment taking the stage at The Victoria tonight. Basement Club make accessible, textured and fluid music based around funky grooves and nuanced guitar work, Xadium take a harder-edged route into the indie-rock sound and Kaleido Bay juggle some sumptuous and psychedelic sonics to make their sound.

A real slice of old school Americana and outlaw country comes to The Beehive in the form of Christopher Rees who delivers tales of optimism and consolation with a dash of whiskey wisdom via a passionate and memorable voice and deft rootsy songs.

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9280Apparently there is some sort of soccer tournament on (right, that’s another local demographic alienated) but whilst a few of the regular musical haunts have given themselves over to big screen TV coverage and people shouting “go on my son” …I assume, I’m not an expert, there is still plenty of live music to catch around and about.

One of the more interesting musical visitors to these parts can be found at The Tuppenny tonight. Grant Sharkey is on a one man mission to record and release forty albums in twenty years and he is out and about playing songs from album number eleven, Thoughts and Prayers. He not only does strange things to an upright bass but threads social commentary, environmentalism, avant-garde view points, wit, wisdom, warmth and humour through his songs. Support is from Kitchen Sink Dramas who come from a very similar place and I don’t mean Southampton.

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sweetchunks-band-800x450Thursday, as always, is the night for original music and one of the most interesting line-ups to have graced the parish in a while can be found at The Tuppenny. The Blunderbuss Press is a strange and quixotic duo who blend Old World alt-folk with New World quirky Americana and sing songs whose lyrics wouldn’t seem out of place on a Bonzo Dog Band album. Support comes from Cursor Major, a band whose accessible indie-pop meets post-punkery has graced Swindon as a full band in the past but who will be rendering their songs into more a manageable, stripped back form on this occasion. If you want wonky pop and the sort of indie music which isn’t checking its hair in the mirror every ten minutes, then this is the show for you.

Indie of a more fashionable form can be found at The Victoria as a whole host of local movers and shakers line up behind This Feeling’s club night. These nights are aimed at bringing the newest and most happening bands to a wider audience and before This Feeling resident DJ’s remind us of great music past, it is the turn of those bands seeking to join that list. The Sulks paint with a wide, almost neo-psychedelic, sonic palette whilst Shore and GETRZ both thread some deft post-punk references through forward thinking takes on widescreen indie.

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24130205_1950731681846354_9002837223731552477_oTo those who think that Swindon is one of those places always a bit behind the curve when it comes to embracing new, breaking music, what if it were to host an act which sounds like Jake Bugg’s angrier little brother fronting a super group made up of members of Catfish & The Bottlemen, Arctic Monkeys and Queens Of The Stone Age? Well, that is pretty much what you will get if you head to The Victoria tonight to catch Chay Snowdon. It’s only his second UK tour but much like the 14856 people who bang on about being at the Ed Sheeran gig at the same venue back in the day, you can also be one of those people with a smug “I remember when…” anecdote. Support comes from a couple of choice selections from the new wave of local indie, The Basement Club and The Substitutes.

If something of a more acoustic nature is required, two options raise their heads. At The Beehive you will find Barney Newman and his raw edged and rootsy, backwoods blends of folk and blues, whilst at The Tuppenny Lewis Clark returns for a solo show also pushing a folk and blues ticket but heading down a more Dylan, Van Morrison route. Lewis is joined by Nick Felix, one of the most popular solo players on the local circuit and purveyor of all things musically heartfelt, thoughtful and emotive.

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13407096_10153662274891463_6649436038957675124_n.jpgIn a world which seems ever more divided along political lines, knowingly supporting cash over climate issues, payola over peace and where a small very small sector of society pull the strings and calls the shots, wouldn’t it be good to have someone come along and make sense of it all. Not some dry political hack or firebrand orator but maybe a guy with a bass guitar, a hat and a bag of songs which point fingers, neatly satirises and gently ridicules the state of the world. It might not fix the problems but it sounds like a fun night out to me. Oh look, Grant Sharkey is at The Tuppenny tonight, what a co-incidence!

Meanwhile down at The Beehive, that excellent fellow Tim Manning is hosting his Acoustic Buzz night, a session dedicated to all things rootsy and this time around Boss Caine headlines the night, imagine Tom Waits singing Ryan Adams …if they had both had the good fortune to grow up in Yorkshire that is. Chris Webb is also on the bill, a finger-style folkie par excellence and your host will kick the night off with his song-blends of country and folk.

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23737694_1197292103706164_1036619967639662373_o-1If the term Folk-Punk implies a blend of deftly wrought tunes and vibrant energy, old school charm and a rabble-rousing soul, then Davey Malone could indeed be the poster boy for such a movement. Temporarily ditching his band,The Longtails, and heading out on his first solo tour he comes to The Victoria tonight armed with comedic and cautionary takes, poignant political and thought provoking prose, charisma and rough hewn elegance.

At The Beehive you will find the beat and boogie, rhythm and musical rhyme of The Teddy White Band who plunder the back catalogue of underground classics, revive and rejuvenate a host of songs you had almost forgotten about from a time when music mattered more than record sales and people were, quite frankly, much better dressed.

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